The power of lost minutes
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
3M ago
My life is busy. I’m a dad to twin boys who are almost two. I’m training for a half marathon, like to write, and am an Engineering Manager. A combination that eats up any free time if I’m not intentional. How do I make time for what I care about, and keep my sanity? The surprising answer is I make use of lost minutes. But what is a lost minute? Someday is today It all started when I read Someday is today by Matthew Dicks. The tagline is “22 Simple, Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life”. Matthew shares his experiences with making time for his creative life. While being a rather busy guy ..read more
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Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
4M ago
I had no idea what kind of problems people expect you to solve as a Manager. Even before my official start date, I got pulled into a meeting with the board of directors. Folks so far up the chain I’d never seen them before. I had the pleasure of explaining an outage while my manager was on holiday. I did not expect my comfort zone to play such an important role in my day to day. Before I became a manager, I was a Scrum Master for 5+ years and a developer for over a decade. With that experience, only a few things surprised me. Is one project that different from the others? And how many retro’s ..read more
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Pivotal moments
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
4M ago
Today I want to share a pivotal moment in the career of a freshly graduated junior developer. Rand’s writing prompts inspired this post. Every week he sends out a few writing prompts. The following prompt brought back memories of a situation I haven’t thought about in a long time: The name of the person who helped you the most and why. Michael Lopp (Rands) About 10 years ago I’ll take you back about 10 years, I was a junior engineer. I graduated a few months earlier and was still getting up to speed. I was working in a team with an approaching deadline. Our senior engineer/scrum master got ..read more
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2024 Goals
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
5M ago
Table of Contents Toggle Health Writing Work Personal Giveaway Welcome to 2024! I dislike New Year’s resolutions. I do like setting goals. Goals give me clarity on where I need to spend my efforts. In 2024 I want to keep developing myself. Health, family, and pushing my comfort zone are the most important areas. I did not reach 100% of my 2023 goals. But I came a long way. Here are my goals for 2024: Health To live forever and the life I want, I need to be healthy. Last year I set the goal to work out at least once per week. Somewhere in the middle of the year, I started running more consi ..read more
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2023 in review
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
6M ago
Table of Contents Toggle The blog Popular pages Traffic sources Social Media Medium Newsletter When reflecting on 2023 it caught me by surprise how many things happened. The recency bias makes me forget everything that happened early in the year. From a work perspective, it was an interesting year. Several management courses, attending lead-dev conference, and organizing a department-wide reorganization. Even though I still have no idea what I am doing sometimes, I notice the benefits of putting the reps in. On a personal level, I enjoyed watching my twins grow up and celebrate their ..read more
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The 35 books I read in 2023
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
6M ago
Table of Contents Toggle Always good Harry potter series 5 Stars Almanack of Naval Ravikant Where the crawdads sing Becoming Michelle Obama The Art & Business of Online Writing Sapiens Murtagh 4 Stars The Millionaire Fastlane The Witcher 1: The Last Wish Can’t hurt me Zero to One De Camino The Maid How to win friends and influence people Scaling People Zero to Sold The fall Managing Humans 7 Tools for Life; be useful On Writing 3 Stars Psychology of Money The richest man in Babylon War of art How to do the work Alonement Ga gewoon iets leuks doen / Just go do something fun A Ma ..read more
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How to start with 1 on 1 meetings if you have never had any
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
6M ago
Table of Contents Toggle Goals How often? Setting Expectations My meeting invite Notes & Actions Dealing with reluctant engineers Almost all books on (engineering) management agree on one thing. The 1 on 1 meeting is the most important tool for a manager. But how do you start with 1 on 1 meetings if you never had any good ones yourself? For most of my career, I only spoke to my manager 1 on 1 at my yearly performance review. So I had no idea what a proper regular 1 on 1 meeting should look like. When I started as an Engineering Manager I struggled to find my rhythm and get the most ..read more
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A leadership lesson on rules
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
7M ago
Today I want to share with you a lesson in leadership that caught me by surprise. When I started as an engineering manager, I had to learn a ton of new things. Most of them were hands-on. How to run 1:1’s, performance reviews, and many more. But what are the things that make you evolve as a leader? They come from ideas that change your perspective. I thought my first performance review would be about my hands-on skills. Little did I know my manager would share a lesson that would blow my mind. Playing by the rules Before I became a manager I played by the rules. One of the teams I was a Scrum ..read more
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Top 5 newsletters for new engineering managers
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
7M ago
Table of Contents Toggle My top 5 favorite newsletters for new engineering managers Software lead weekly The Engineering Manager The Pragmatic Engineer CTO Insights Scarlet Ink Afterthought Newsletters are one of my favorite ways to learn new things. But the struggle with newsletters is finding the informational ones, and ignoring the terrible ones. Over the last few years, I subscribed and unsubscribed to several newsletters for new engineering managers. In this article, I’m sharing my recommended top 5 newsletters for new engineering managers. My top 5 favorite newsletters for new engine ..read more
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The highs & lows of 5 years of blogging
Jelle Smeets Blog
by Jelle
8M ago
Table of Contents Toggle My favorites The hardest parts The future Thank you! Somewhere in the dark months of 2018 after a long day of work. On the international train from Berlin, between Deventer and Apeldoorn I came up with an idea for a blog post. I’ve tried to start my own blog before, but I fell into the “build your blogging platform from scratch” trap every single time. This time I decided to change it. I’ll just launch a default WordPress site, and publish my writing. I can always change my platform once I gain momentum. And after some days of writing, editing, and running it past ..read more
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