Before starting in my current role, I worked on design systems for years. One of the perks of that job was that we didn’t have to staff a 24/7 on-call rotation. If we released a version that had issues, the product team would simply roll back these changes so we could patch it the next day.

Today, I am still leading platform teams, except with one significant change in scope: we have Tier 0 production systems that need a 24/7 on-call rotation. …


Let’s face it: most engineering organizations struggle with quarterly and annual planning. As engineers and engineering leaders, we dread the weeks when it’s time to go through it again. Some companies struggle because of how long the planning process takes, or how counterproductive may seem compared to larger goals; others find it challenging to wade through the internal politics.

We can do better than this. This article provides a framework for engineering and product teams to reduce the inherent friction involved with planning, as well as the time required to complete planning cycles.

Common Pain Points

First, let’s examine some of the pain…


As software engineers, the goal is always to improve the quality of the software we help develop, especially if other engineers are depending on this quality to complete their own projects. We want to be proud of the engineering solutions we devise. These improvements come with a price, however; especially if we change the API, the contract between ourselves and developers that use our libraries or frameworks.

To illustrate this point, I present the story of how the versioning policy for Base Web evolved.

The Inception of a Library

When we started working on the library, we wanted to get it into other developers’ hands…


Transitioning from a software engineering position to a managerial one can be quite a leap. The roles are drastically different from one another, and without mentors, it can be a daunting task. It’s our job as engineering leaders help new managers navigate the change. This article offers a few practical tips you can follow to help new engineering managers succeed.

Whenever I start coaching new managers, the first thing I do is set up a recurring time to meet, talk about progress, and provide feedback. Similar to the 1:1s I do with team members, I keep track of these conversations…


Every once in a while, you might receive an email in your company inbox asking for feedback on a survey called the Employee Pulse, the Employee Satisfaction survey, or something similar. If you’re a manager, you’ll likely receive the results of these surveys, comparing your department to the rest of the organization.

The common thread in these surveys is that they gauge employee satisfaction in a few different areas. They cover things like how people’s direct supervisor is performing, whether or not they agree with the company’s vision, or if they plan to remain with the company in the future.


There seems to be a growing trend in technology — and in all aspects of our lives, really — to measure everything: business outcomes, organizational success, and individual performance. I wrote about engineering productivity and how I disagree with measuring individual performance based on metrics before, so I was excited to start reading The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller.

In 1975, two social scientists named Donald T. Campbell and Charles Goodhart independently identified patterns as they researched the idea of pay for measured performance. Campbell claimed “the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the…


When we began watching a new TV series called Ted Lasso, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The show is about an American football coach named Ted Lasso, who takes over a premier Premier League soccer team despite having dubious qualifications at best. I don’t regret a single minute I’ve spent watching this show. Quite the opposite, in fact: I’d say that Ted Lasso is one series we all need in 2020. Underneath the comedy and sports metaphors is a reminder that being kind to one another can make a difference.

Ted Lasso is also a reminder of what good…


If you are reading this piece in 2020 as a member of an engineering/cross-functional team, chances are that the team you are on uses some mix of waterfall, scrum and kanban principles for planning. But what does that mix look like? Is it working well for the team, or is it getting in the way of product development?

This article attempts to describe the “Ideal Sprint” or well, to put my thoughts down on what I’ve seen working well during my years as a software engineer and engineering manager.

Characteristics of Efficient Sprints

When I think about what makes sprints efficient, my thoughts are…


Measuring the productivity of most professions is exceptionally challenging. Would you measure a lawyer’s productivity by the number of cases they close? Or a doctor’s productivity by the number of operations they perform?

Moving to the software engineering realm, should your company start measuring lines of code produced by engineers? Please no. How about pull requests per engineer? Nah. Sprint velocity on the company level? 😬

While it may be tempting to get started with these metrics, resist the temptation. These metrics reward output, people who put in immense amounts of busywork. Another issue with these metrics is that they…


I get it. Now, as you manage multiple individuals or teams, it feels like you spend most of your time in meetings or preparing for meetings. You miss the times when you sometimes had entire days to yourself to work on a project heads down. While those days will never return, you can make changes to the way you operate to maximize the time you spend freely.

But how? Glad you asked. This article contains small tips and practices that I’ve been following for years and helped me regain some of my time. …

Gergely Nemeth

Engineering Manager | Built @RisingStack, @GodaddyOSS @BaseWebReact | Find me at https://nemethgergely.com

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