Jacob Kaplan-Moss

I’m a software developer, co-creator of Django, and an experienced engineering leader. I lead engineering at Hangar, and before that led teams at 18F and Heroku. If you’re looking to contact me, please see the ways I’m available to help.

Writing

The Fundamental Purpose of Middle Management: Context Down, Information Up April 19th, 2021

On the fundamental purpose of middle management: context down, information up.

Are You Stuck On Vision, Strategy, or Tactics? April 16th, 2021

When organizations are performing well, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. That’s the whole point of building teams: together we can accomplish more than if we work solo. But many organizations get stuck: suddenly, the whole becomes less than the sum of its parts! When this happens, it can be difficult to understand what’s going on: everyone can be working hard, and yet as a whole, the team just seems to be treading water. When this happens, I’ve found a useful model for understanding what’s going on. I like to ask: is the organization stuck on vision, strategy, or tactics?

Embrace the Grind April 7th, 2021

Sometimes, programming feels like magic: you chant some arcane incantation and a fleet of robots do your bidding. But sometimes, magic is mundane. If you’re willing to embrace the grind, you can pull off the impossible.

Mailbag: Adapting Interview Questions for Junior Candidates March 29th, 2021

Sébastien asks: “Would you say that your questions are equally applicable to junior and senior positions?”

“Fair” Doesn't Mean “Equal” March 28th, 2021

Some conversations about my previous piece brought me back to one of the earliest lessons I learned in my management career. It’s a realization that’s embarrassingly obvious in hindsight: treating people fairly doesn’t mean treating everyone the same.

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