Shiny New Things

March 11, 2021
2 minute read
Shiny New Things
In 1976, the LAser GEOdynamic Satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Hi friend! Greetings and happy Friday.

As a developer myself, I am continually drawn to new technologies and frameworks. It’s exciting to learn and apply new things. And it’s hard to buckle down and grind away on older code when I just saw a promising alternative. Different, better, shinier, new.

But in truth, the most efficient, lucrative, and stable tech stacks for software products are pretty boring. If the goal is to deliver value to the customer, it almost always makes sense to reach for proven and often older tech. Most of the time, customers interact with the end product. They could care less about what’s under the hood.

Then again, curiosity and eagerness to learn new things are valuable traits among your team members. Interest in new things and acquiring new knowledge often leads to solutions for existing problems. Different parts of the brain are activated, provoking new approaches. And all the proven tech were new ideas at some point. So it’s important to foster these traits, even when the day-to-day work is about building features on the same old stuff. But how?

By explicitly allocating some percentage of your team’s time to exploring new tech, even if it’s never applied.

One way to do this is to schedule a weekly or monthly “lunch and learn” presentation.  The idea is that everyone eats together (perhaps over Zoom for now) while one team member gives a talk or demonstration on a topic of their choosing, preferably one they’ve just learned and tangential to the team’s work.  Rotate to a new team member each week, so everyone presents at some point, no matter what their title.

The lunch and learn approach has several benefits, including:

1. Learning how to learn effectively, as enshrined in the Feynman technique . Preparing to explain to a broad audience how something works is the best way to figure out how it works in the first place.

2. Establishing additional lines of communication within the team by exposing potential shared interests, thus building up trust.

3. Encouraging the growth of individual team members by giving them a platform outside of their titled work.

In essence, my advice is to lean into “shiny new thing” thinking and harness it. Have other tactics besides lunch and learn worked for you or your team? I’d love to hear them or any other thoughts you have on the matter. Just reply!

Have a good weekend,
Henry

Henry Poydar

Henry Poydar

Henry is the founder of Status Hero. He's been writing software and leading both co-located and remote software teams for over two decades. He still wants to be an astronaut.

Henry Poydar

Hello there! 👋

I'm Henry Poydar, founder of Status Hero. I've been writing software and leading both co-located and remote software teams for 20+ years.

In that time I've learned a lot about team communication, software estimation, and managing people — mostly the hard way.

If you want to learn from my missteps (instead of your own) our newsletter is just right for you.

Subscribe to get curated articles, tips, and links to support your efforts leading a modern, productive digital team every week or two.

This is a private mailing list. Your name and email address will never be shared with any other entity. And every email to you will have an instant unsubscribe link.

Try it out!

Join thousands of other successful teams today.

Use Status Hero for 21 days with no obligation, payment, or credit card required. Take it for a spin by yourself, or add a few other people to see if it works for your team.