One of the hottest terms among tech leaders nowadays seems to be the “scale-up.” You’re no longer a mere startup. They’re relatively easy to identify, as these are companies where all managers are occupied with maintaining the breakneck hiring pace. There’s nothing necessarily bad about achieving this phase. In fact, many times, that’s the right course of action.

Nevertheless, I have had to help several companies that entered this stage prematurely. When kicking up a massive growth spurt at the wrong time, e.g., …


Every person has a different propensity regarding taking risks and the associated anxiety or excitement. You might be wholly risk-averse or get a thrill out of trying something out. Further, it is common to have a certain risk-aversion in some areas in your life and a completely different take in others. For example, I know founders who are extremely bullish with their company’s strategy but more bearish than Mother Russia when it comes to their household. …


We all know that creating a team filled with code monkeys is a bad thing. Paying a small fortune for engineers to merely follow precise orders doesn’t make sense, and most of them object to being micromanaged and being deprived of any autonomy. Your intent is to form an engineering team that has ownership and agency. Nevertheless, I’m witnessing an evolution where teams get stuck in a weird spot and often fail to recognize that. It is the formation of code apes.

Code apes are not your regular everyday primates. Explicitly robbing them of freedom wouldn’t fly. Rather, they are…


The best tech leaders I’ve seen and who remain remarkable over the years are those who are never “done.” They evolve, learn, experiment, and change their minds routinely. The constant need to undergo personal growth is both the most fascinating thing about leadership and a source of anxiety and fatigue. It can feel like a never-ending struggle where you can’t stop. Issues and problems keep piling on your plate, and what used to work for you last year no longer seems to be cutting it.

I’ve seen this struggle repeatedly when working with my clients. In coaching them, I’ve learned…


“Titles don’t cost money.” I’ve heard that more than once from executives who were trying to justify different promotions and structures they’ve arrived at. Titles might not require a budget and indeed do not require cold hard cash to pay for. Nevertheless, I’ve seen them wreak havoc in teams in the long term. That is because they are not free. You finance them with organizational debt.

There are many incentives to bestow titles on people. Sometimes we do that to attract top talent, like making your first hires at a startup not just “plain” engineers. Other times it is done…


Coding is magic. Leading an engineering organization is like being in charge of a cadre of brilliant wizards. At least, it should be.

The experienced and calloused tech executive has learned-often the hard way-that things are not as easy as they seem. As the team grows, complexity prospers. The intrinsic perfectionism engenders a vicious negative feedback loop forming an organization on an incessant drive to… meet expectations.

Getting Boxed In

As a leader, you might find yourself facing a simple aspiration-delivering the freaking roadmap you committed to. I know, that’s frequently not a trivial achievement in and of itself. Nevertheless, the problem is…


People in R&D are sometimes unaware of the great power they hold over the company. Can you imagine the VP of Sales saying, “We have so much sales debt that we have to redo our playbook for three months and only then get back to selling”? Want to wager how long it would be between uttering something along those lines and getting jettisoned by the CEO?

Contrast that with the regular tech-centric thinking in engineering teams. We rewrite things; we claim a lot of time in the name of tech debt. When you don’t realize that the other parties in…


One of my pet peeves as a consultant is being approached by prospects asking for help with establishing their tech strategy. At first glance, it might seem an obvious fit: I work with tech executives, and I offer Sentient Strategy® workshops. The crux of the problem is that by the time you’ve decided to compile a tech strategy, you’ve already lost half the battle.

Focusing on a tech strategy makes sense only you’ve settled for having R&D act purely as a delivery vehicle for the company’s decisions. You get a roadmap handed to you; you provide what you committed to…


“Sorry, can’t talk on Friday, it’s really tight. We have our sprint planning.” How often have you said that to someone? The sprint planning and wrapping up ceremonies at many companies end up taking almost a full day every couple of weeks. That’s 10% of your time! Despite that huge investment, after all of that pomp and circumstance, what do you have to show for it?

I don’t mind the incessant focus on fast iterations-as long as it achieves meaningful, tangible impact. No one cares that your R&D organization flawlessly puts 100% of the tasks it committed to in the…


We’re obsessed with amassing more and more senior engineers. I don’t think I’ve talked to a single tech executive in the past year (and I’ve spoken with hundreds) that wasn’t bemoaning the lack of senior talent. I get it: when you onboard someone that already masters the tools and stack that you’re using, it can feel like a breath of fresh air. Some decisions become obvious; there’s less time spent researching the “correct” technical approaches to doing stuff. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

I won’t go into the fact that I believe companies should accept their role of educating their…

Aviv Ben-Yosef

Tech Executive Consultant, I help create autonomous teams that deliver @ https://avivbenyosef.com

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