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July was a month of big questions here at LeadDev. Where are all these laid-off software engineers landing? How do I prioritize my work effectively? How do I become more productive when I have less time than ever? 

We know you are under more pressure than ever, and hopefully, these articles will help you start to feel a bit more in control, answering a few burning questions along the way. In no particular order, here are five recent articles you need to read on LeadDev.

1. Jennifer Wong, Introducing processes where none exist

Stop us if you have heard this one before: a new manager joins the business and quickly brings a bunch of new tools and processes with them. Although this can often bring pain, it doesn’t have to be that way. As Jennifer Wong at CrowdStrike explains here, by introducing new processes in a constructive way, you can help move your team forwards without meeting too much resistance. 

“The first step to introducing new processes is understanding your team. Meeting with your engineers one on one may provide a safe space for them to give feedback on what is or isn’t working, or what, prior to your arrival, has or hasn’t worked. Ask lots of questions and give them space to discuss,” she writes.

2. Nickolas Means, Embracing cycles of productivity for healthier teams

Although it’s tempting to think that you might be the exception to the rule, it’s impossible to run at 100% productivity all the time. In typical fashion, Nick Means clearly explains why this is the case, and how engineering managers can embrace this reality to drive better outcomes.

“Our ancient ancestors knew a thing or two about the cyclicality of life. They planted when the last frost had passed, harvested when their crops were ready, feasted when food was plentiful, and stored up for when it was not. Paying close attention to these cycles was a matter of survival for them,” he writes.

3. Saimon Sharif, Building a prioritization framework

All year we have been hearing about the need for ruthless prioritization of projects and initiatives as engineering managers and their teams are asked to do more and more with less than before. Here, Saimon Sharif identifies some useful prioritization frameworks you can use to get on top of things. 

“Although it may feel uncomfortable in the moment, prioritization is a skill we can all improve. At the same time, there are benefits to bringing our teams and organizations along on this journey. Prioritization and planning are unlikely to ever be pleasant, but with alignment, we can certainly make it less painful,” he writes.

4. Scott Carey, Where are all the laid-off software developers going?

This has been a burning question all year: where are the 200,000+ software developers that have recently been laid off landing? Is it enterprise companies? Startups? Early retirement? The answer – as it always is with engineering – is: it depends.

“As with any attempt to put a group as diverse as software engineers into a single bucket, it’s difficult to draw any firm conclusions from this data. What is clear is that the job market is being squeezed at both ends: with big tech cutting headcount and startup funding drying up, there are fewer attractive landing spots for developers than there were this time last year,” I wrote.

5. Josh Fruhlinger, Tech debt for engineering leaders

Tech debt may feel like the last thing on your priority list right now, but that’s the thing with debt: left alone, it only accumulates. In this handy primer, Josh Fruhlinger breaks down the history of the term technical debt, and how engineering managers should contend with it in the current climate.

“This idea of technical debt has become a crucial one for engineering leaders. Sometimes the phrase is just used as a way to complain about old code that was rushed into production and that nobody has had time to fix. But a smart leader can use the idea to quantify the tradeoffs between development speed and code quality,” he writes.