One Year of Driving a Dev Team While Still Getting My Hands Dirty: My 10 Lessons from 2023

Herve Khg
3 min readJan 4, 2024

Lesson 1 — Choosing your team is crucial.

Don’t just accept others’ choices. As a football manager, you must have to last word in the choice of your players. On a bad day, it will be easier to deal with the people you have chosen. For me, a resume’s skills are not the priority. What I look for in Developers is motivation, soft skills, and the feeling that one day they will surpass me. 100% of my devs had never worked on the imposed technical stacks before.

Lesson 2 — Tech Background can be an advantage

Having a tech background and continuing to code is an advantage, but it’s important to know your place. When it comes to technical issues and incidents, I’m in the trenches with the team to find solutions, but I avoid telling them how to code.

Lesson 3— Forget micromanagement

Developers in 2023 need ownership of projects rather than just being executors under constant surveillance in every daily meeting. At least, those who choose to work in a startup.

Lesson 4— Having bugs is part of the Job

A Dev who never has bugs and incidents is not a coder. Errors and bugs are part of the game; what’s important is learning from them. I encourage risk-taking and never penalize mistakes.

Lesson 5— Ban Hyper-specialization

A Dev’s hyper-specialization is a scourge to fight against as it kills creativity. I make it a point of honor that my devs can switch from one language to another, from one project to another, and have knowledge of the ops world. We regularly have ops workshops so they understand the mechanics before the code goes into production.

Lesson 6— Trunk-based and pair-programming

Encourage trunk-based Git on projects and pair programming. They improve the overall productivity of the team.

Lesson 7— Invest in Dev computer

Devs must be given the tools to be efficient and effective. Skimping on work PCs is a mistake. It only leads to frustration and productivity loss working on machines that aren’t up to par. Invest heavily in the work environment.

Lesson 8— Localhost is not the real world

Automate your deployments as much as possible so that Devs can quickly test any commit in an environment close to production. The challenges of the localhost world are often forgotten, and they are different from those of production.

Lesson 9— Cultivating a Positive and Innovative Company Culture

We believe in fostering a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered. Each team member is encouraged to voice their ideas and contribute to decision-making processes, promoting a sense of ownership and pride in our collective work.

Lesson 10—Your Dev will leave you

Your developers, good or bad, will leave you one day, likely when you least expect it. You might not be able to anticipate it. Just be fair-play, remember the best, and wish them well 😅

Happy Coding Year

Follow me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/herv%C3%A9-ga%C3%ABl-kouamo-157633197/

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Herve Khg

Multi Cloud (Azure/ AWS) Systems/Devops Engineer in France.