Will JavaScript type annotations kill TypeScript?
The creators of Svelte and Turbo 8 both dropped TS recently saying that "it's not worth it".
Yes: If JavaScript gets type annotations then there's no reason for TypeScript to exist.
No: TypeScript remains the best language for structuring large enterprise applications.
TBD: The existing user base and its corpensource owner means that TypeScript isn’t likely to reach EOL without a putting up a fight.
I hope they both die. I mean, if you really need strong types in the browser then you could leverage WASM and use a real programming language.
I don’t know and I don’t care.
Operations / Software Development / Tech Life

Avoiding Uncertainty in Uncertain Times

Managers must lead the way through the turbulent times, offering as much transparency as possible and painting a common vision upon which the team can focus.
May 15th, 2023 10:17am by
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Tech layoffs. Just seeing those words can make most of us in the industry suffer a painful twinge. And so far 2023 has been “twinge-full,” to say the least. According to TechCrunch, tens of thousands of tech workers have already been laid off this year.

The world is always full of uncertainty, but that seems to be especially true today for those whose livelihood is tied to technology. For those of us who manage teams, this “shifting sand” environment makes our role even more important and all the more challenging.

Uncertainty can have a detrimental effect on the people we supervise. They may experience stress and anxiety and feel less motivated, especially when the decisions that affect them become potentially more detrimental or the uncertainty continues to linger unresolved indefinitely. We often see the pattern “hurry up and wait” over and over again as a company tries to adjust to its changing circumstances.

As a manager, I can attest that uncertainty can negatively affect team dynamics and performance. When uncertainty spikes, chatter and rumors fly between team members who are trying to get a better grasp on the situation. Motivation wanes when objectives are not clear and the company goals seem like a moving target. As anxiety rises, performance falls. A few people may be able to capitalize on uncertain times to grow and seize opportunities that might not be available to them otherwise, which can be a positive thing, but those changing dynamics in and of themselves may further increase the chatter and unease among the more risk-averse members of the team.

Transparency Assuages Fear of the Unknown

The role of a manager is to lead the way through the turbulent times, offering as much transparency as possible and painting a common vision on which the team can focus. As a leader, you are responsible for your teams’ well-being and that includes letting them know where they and the company stand. When most conversations occur out in the open and when team members feel free to raise concerns, there is less room for “under the surface” chatter, confidence in leadership is reinforced, good ideas can be elevated and the team’s efforts can remain better aligned with the most pressing business objectives, all of which help propel the company forward.

It’s never easy to deliver bad news, but difficult conversations are made easier if you have been transparent and empathetic all along. Receiving bad news as a surprise is far worse. Being aware of matters as they unravel and feeling confident in leadership’s best intentions make all the difference in the world when the bad news finally comes.

That being said, it’s only fair to note that transparency doesn’t come without risk. Some people will be tempted to “cut bait and run” when the going gets tough. A manager has to expect that and react appropriately: Handle exits with understanding and send off departing teammates in the best way to their next adventure, all the while openly communicating to the rest of the team. You might lose some good people along the way, but the remaining team ultimately will be closer knit and stronger for it. Plus, if you do it right, those who leave will serve as your company’s ambassadors and will help drive business and new hires your way.

When I was a young manager, working at Delver, a social search company, it was running out of money after failing to secure its next round of funding after the 2008 financial crisis. The CEO of the company told the employees the situation with tears in his eyes, and in addition to bringing in human resource companies to help employees secure their next gig, he did everything in his power to make sure all employees were taken care of. A month and a half later, the story had a happy ending: The company was acquired by Sears, and almost all employees continued with the acquisition (including myself), primarily due to the trust we had in the CEO because of his sincere efforts and his authenticity.

If you’re a team leader striving to help your teams succeed as the headlines barrage us with bad news, here are six things you can do to minimize the negative impacts of uncertainty:

1. Be Positive

When there is turbulence in an aircraft, people look to the crew to see how they are reacting, and the same goes for leaders. In times of uncertainty, your team will be watching you closely. Be transparent and honest, but also project positivity and confidence in any way you can. Your best hope of surviving a crisis is when everyone steels their resolve and works together. As a team leader, your behavior sets the tone for the team.

2. Focus on What You Can Control

Let’s face it: When markets crash and economies collapse, there is not much you can do to change the situation, and thinking about it constantly will not do any good. Instead, focus your thoughts and efforts on your product and delivery, and encourage your team to do so as well. Remember, your reputation is your biggest asset. If the story doesn’t end well (which it sometimes doesn’t), having your co-workers remember you as a person who worked hard until the end will help you land your future opportunities. Moreover, focusing on the here and now is a great way to keep yourself happy. Once it’s all over, you don’t want to live with the regret of wishing you would have done things differently. Focusing on doing your best with the things you can control is the best prophylactic for regret.

3. Be Flexible and Agile 

In uncertain times, the ability to react quickly as things change can make all the difference. Your responsibility as a leader is to build a strong and robust team that can work well in short iterations. Put a process in place that allows the team to quickly change direction and deliver new value as often as needed. More often than ever before, you need to frequently reexamine your priorities, review the changes in the industry and reassess — and mitigate — the risks. Every step of the way, make transparency paramount and communicate continuously with your team.

4. Focus on Product

In a strange paradox, times of crisis might provide development teams with a rare opportunity to focus on your product and make it better. Iterate and improve the value you can provide to your customers. This will pay off in the long term.

5. Forge a Strong Team

In times of uncertainty, you’ll never go wrong by investing in your team. Many of the startups that I have worked for pivoted — some even pivoted multiple times — and most of them ended up successful. I am convinced that the specific problem these companies set out to solve or the market they chose to compete in wasn’t nearly as critical a factor in their ultimate success as the team they built.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to hire during times of uncertainty, focus on hiring strong and versatile people who will give the team as much flexibility as possible to navigate through change. If you are reducing your team’s size, make sure you keep those who are strong and versatile, even if they are working on less prioritized projects. Not only will this boost morale by making such decisions seem less arbitrary, but also this strategy will ensure you will be well positioned after the storm has passed.

6. Be Resilient

If you already have a “no blame” culture in which people feel they can take big risks, even if they don’t end well, congratulations! You are already well on your way to having a resilient team. Your team is already conditioned to know that not everything that you try will work — not at the project level, and not even at the company level. Practice getting up when you fall down: Continue to emphasize the learnings achieved from failures, both at the individual and team levels. Throw-away work is less painful if you make a point to recognize how it was helpful in providing learnings and improved skills and processes. Drawing upon and reinforcing this resilient, no-blame culture becomes even more important during times of uncertainty.

Uncertain times, like those we are facing in the tech industry in 2023, are an opportunity for leaders and team managers to reveal the best of themselves. Above all, our teams are looking to us to model the attitudes and behaviors that refine ore into steel. As George Washington, a leader who faced seemingly insurmountable challenges once said, “Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma.
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