Tech Leadership Mentoring, Coaching & Advising


This page contains an overview of the services and resources I provide on the topic of Tech Leadership Mentoring, Coaching & Advising. For an overview of all other consulting services I provide check the main consulting page

What is it?

I have been working as Tech Lead & Software Engineer/Architect for over a decade, from leading teams to leading groups of Tech Leads and also scaling & evolving tech-enabled organizations. I see tech leadership as one of the most important skills to help modernize tech-enabled organizations and evolve them into high-performing, where tech is an enabler of product development and evolution and not just a "cost center". This also means we need to transform Tech Leadership into an "enabling function", which primary goal is to enable teams and their positioning in the overall organization system (help shaping "enabling constraints", which help teams to accelerate and maximize their potential and impact to the overall organization goals and its products). Check my writings and research on this topic.


Service I provide

I can help with different topics:

  • Coach and/or Mentoring first time Tech Leads / Software Architects but also experienced Architects and Technical Leaders (e.g.: Tech Leads and Engineering Managers) on shifting from "controlling to enabling" functions (a.k.a.: SocioTechnical Maestros) - one-on-ones, or workshops for groups of tech leads / architects / engineering managers, to help them on becoming "enabling sociotechnical leaders", or "SocioTechnical Maestros" (ones that can facilitate and multiply the impact of the people and teams they work with and understand that the organization is a complex sociotechnical systems).

  • Advising Tech Leaders / VPs Engineering / CTOs - especially on defining and operating tech vision & strategies, developing great engineering culture and tech orgs operations models (for product-led organizations).

  • Architecture as Enabler of Organization Flow - help organizations to reposition their approach to architecture (and possibly architect function) as an enabler of the organization's flow of change. So, positioning architecture to empower teams to better own their scope of work (as opposed to one that "controls and micromanages" what teams should do).
    More details (specific topics, resources & experiences)...
    Specific Topics I can help on:
    • Position Architecture as Enabling Function - help organizations to position and approach architecture as an enabling activity that helps improving and evolving the organization system, as opposed of one that "controls it".
    • Coaching Architects and Teams on Architecture as Enabler of Organization flow - coach architects and teams in the mindset and approach to architecture that fosters architecture as an enabler of organization flow.
    • ...other related topics
    Some Resources and Experience
    • Architecture Topologies and Architecture as Enabling Team
    • Experience kickstarting and leading bol.com (biggest online retailer platform of The Netherlands and Belgium) "Tech Leads Network", a structural enabling team focusing on sensing and evolving/scaling technical developments and knowledge in the organization.

I can help you with (among other things):

  • Inspiring talks and discussions with you and your teams to help kickstart things;
  • Deep-dive workshops to understand and assess the current situation, and define strategies to move forward;
  • Longer-term consulting and coaching to help you and your teams to adopt and engrain these thinking models and a more sustainable evolution in your tech-enabled organization.

The best way forward will depend on your organization and what makes sense given its situation. Feel free to contact me so we can explore that.


Reference Resources

In the following, you can find some reference materials I have created on this topic.


Experience

Some relevant experiences in this area:

  • bol.com introduction of Tech Leads Network: Led the introduction of the Product Tech Lead function in the organization (a function that leads technical vision and health across the different teams in a product). This is a key role to enable scaling a sustainable evolution of products, namely: catering to the "technical" perspective of the product, and being able to discuss and align it with the "product" and "team" perspectives, as they continuous influence each other, and as such it is key to have a clear continuous understanding and alignment.
  • bol.com product-led organization evolution: Played a key role in shaping the sociotechnical evolution (teams and product boundaries) of bol.com from "empowered" teams owning microservices, into a model where there are clearer "product" scopes, formed by multiple microservices and teams. Goal: enable scaling of the organization and ability to support its customers, by having clearer and more aligned scopes ("products"), which tend to be owned by multiple teams working on related value streams to customers. This also led to the creation of several organizational transformations, such as stronger Platform Teams and different Enabling Teams (focused on enabling product teams).
  • bol.com scaling data science (from department to discipline): Tech Lead working with a group of people that lead the introduction of Data Science as a "discipline" that different products can use (on their cross-functional teams). This was a sociotechnical evolution, from a classic "central Data Science" department, which would not scale and align with the organization's operating model and ambitions (of empowered teams, owning clear streams of value to customers). You can find more about this evolution in this talk.

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