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Career Journey 5: Bringing Diversity to Tech Leadership w/ Bhavini Soneji
Plus, how to turn praise into encouragement, what going from dev to CEO really looks like, revamping interviews, and more.
We know diversity fuels innovation, so how do we bring diversity into engineering leadership?
On this week’s episode of Dev Interrupted, Bhavini Soneji joins host Dan Lines for another installment in our series on the career journey of an engineering leader. Bhavini speaks to the synergy between diverse teams and enhanced performance, painting a vivid picture of creativity, insights, and knowledge sharing enriched by varied perspectives.
Bhavini connects these dynamics to a culture of converting intention into action, emphasizing that intentions are just the starting point. If companies are to follow through on their promises, they should apply lean product development principles to the way they think about diversity.
In this must-listen episode, learn how to transform your company’s culture, goal-setting, and hiring practices.
“Having strategy without execution is hallucination. So if you don't have the plan to convert the intention into action, it's futile.”
(4:00) Why diversity is important
(10:30) Normalizing diversity in leadership
(17:30) Flywheel effect
(21:30) Hiring & retention
(29:00) Bias awareness workshops
(32:30) Shadow Diversity (Gemba Walk)
(36:30) Getting started at your company
The Download is engineering leadership content we’re reading, watching, and attending that we think you might find valuable.
1. Turn your praise into real encouragement
High-performing team members thrive on praise, but encouragement has an even deeper, forward-looking impact. While praise acknowledges past achievements, encouragement builds future confidence and momentum. In this insightful piece from, the team points out that transitioning from praise to encouragement can be as simple as changing "That was great work" to "Keep up the great work," combining both approaches for maximum effect.
2. What going from dev to CEO actually looks like
Nobody gets important engineers to open up quite like. In his latest, he dives into Martin Mao's journey from a developer to CEO of Chronosphere. Starting as a developer in Australia, he progressed through roles at tech giants like Microsoft, where he contributed to Office 365, and Amazon, where he was instrumental in developing AWS Systems Manager for EC2. Ambitious engineers can draw inspiration from his experiences, highlighting the importance of adaptability, seizing opportunities, and constantly seeking new challenges in the ever-evolving tech landscape.
This week’s sponsor is The 2023 Engineering Benchmarks Report
LinearB’s new and expanded Software Engineering Benchmarks report is out! This report benchmarks critical engineering metrics from 2,000+ development teams spanning 3.6 million pull requests.
Here’s some of what the data reveals:
Enterprises have an average deploy time 2x higher than startups and scaleups.
Startups and scale-ups deploy code 18% faster than enterprises
Teams with higher merge frequencies have shorter cycle times.
Startups typically work longer hours.
Plus, much more!
3. Think about cutting algorithms from your interview process
The quest to create the perfect job interview for engineering positions is one that will never end. The latest idea for improvement comes from, who says technical interviews overly focus on LeetCode-style algorithmic problems, dedicating a significant chunk of the interview time to challenges that developers rarely face in their day-to-day roles.
4. Stack Overflow cuts 28% of team amidst AI pressure
The profound impact of AI in reshaping the developer ecosystem and the importance of adapting to technology-driven shifts is happening on display in real time. Stack Overflow is downsizing again. This time, the once-staple of engineering is cutting staff by 28%. This comes after the company had expanded its workforce rapidly amidst a surge in AI-driven coding tools, which present a direct challenge to personal coding forums.
5. Why former Stack Overflow-ers might go on to bigger things
In the past 12 months, most of the tech headlines focused on developers losing jobs, but very few actually followed up to see what they’ve been doing since. LeadDev’s Scott Carey is one of the few journalists who crunched the numbers to find out where laid-off devs are now – there was a silver lining in their research.
The No-BS conference for engineering leaders | November 7-8 | San Francisco, CA
Highlights: Dev Interrupted readers get discounted tickets for Plato through this link and using promo code: ELEVATE2023-DEV-INTERRUPTED.
November 8, 10:00 a.m. PST
Highlights: A free webinar where Google’s DORA team and LinearB join forces to review Google’s forthcoming 2023 Accelerate report.
December 4-5 | Berlin, Germany
Highlights: Conference themes include: 1) Skills for leading in a downturn; 2) Doing more with less; 3) Preparation techniques for change; and 4) Crafting agile, ambitious, and achievable workflows.