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August had us asking how the rise of AI-powered coding assistants could fundamentally change the role of the engineering manager, while also grappling with age-old challenges around managing challenging people and having productive 1:1 meetings. In no particular order, here are five articles you should read on LeadDev.

1. Harry Guinness, How AI changes engineering management

It’s a question all of us are being forced to grapple with, whether we like it or not: just how much is the rise of generative AI going to change the craft of software engineering? Harry Guinness went out and spoke to a bunch of engineers to see how they were feeling about this shift.

“Engineering managers will need to prepare for a time where they need to review and ensure the quality of a significantly larger quantity of code, not all of it directly written by humans. With that, they will need to pay special attention to any potential regulatory, compliance, and data handling issues. Sloppy AI practices could quickly become major legal headaches in the future,” he writes.

2. Pat Kua, Managing challenging people

Everyone is going to have to manage someone “challenging” at some point in their career. But in this article, Pat Kua asks what we mean when we say challenging, and how can we start to manage that person so that the rest of the team isn’t negatively impacted.

“Remember that your role is to help them be successful, and to do that, you need to prepare to discuss how they come across as challenging to you or other team members,” he writes.

3. Maria Ntalla, How to hold more effective 1:1 meetings

They are the absolute lifeblood for most managers, but a good 1:1 meeting can float or sink a relationship with a direct report. Fortunately, Maria Ntalla has a complete guide to running effective 1:1s from beginning to end – and she has templates.

“When they work well, 1:1s are a place of trust, reflection, and growth. When they don’t, they undermine the rapport between you and your report, fail to accomplish anything, or are reduced to status updates,” she writes.

4. Kevin Ball, Maximizing your impact when moving into a leadership role

As you make your way up the career ladder, it can be harder to demonstrate your impact. Drawing from his own experiences, Kevin Ball makes the case for thinking about your work as a series of campaigns, not projects, and how to build momentum behind a cause.

“Defined expectations at either end of the spectrum make it easier for people to navigate their remit at these levels. But during the “in-between” stages – either a little later into being a senior engineer, or earlier on as a staff engineer – there is a messy middle ground. While you are still deeply involved in execution, influence is becoming more and more important. How do you navigate that transition?” he asks.

5. Jennifer Riggins, If agile isn’t dead, why is it still not working?

Yes, it’s 2023, and yes, we are still talking about agile. In this thoughtful piece, Jen Riggins explores where agile methodologies have gone wrong, and how the industry that has mushroomed around the original manifesto is largely to blame for the over-complication of some pretty solid principles.

“It’s been 22 years since the signing of the venerated Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Yet many organizations still struggle to embrace agility. Despite billions spent on consultancies, certifications, frameworks, and whole departments, there are a lot more caterpillars and chrysalides than butterflies to show for the agile revolution,” she writes.