About Michaela Greiler
👩🏻💻 Job: I’m the owner of codalytics consultancy and training, and I’m mainly focusing on training software engineers through workshops, research in the area of code reviews and productivity, and consultancy in the same space.
👶🏻 2 children: age 3 and 5
Resources she enjoys
You organize workshops and team coaching sessions, you write articles, run a weekly newsletter, host a podcast. What do you like most about your job(s)? What is the most challenging thing?
I love the content of my work. I love thinking about software engineering practices, I love creating content, and the feeling of self-determination.
The most challenging thing for me is that I want to maximize the impact I have with my work, while limiting the time that I spend on work, because I also have a strong desire to spend as much time as possible with my family, and for adventures.
Could you share with us what was the last project you worked on?
I’m working on a research project focusing on what makes developers happy and productive.
You’re focusing your work around code reviews organizing “Code Review Superpower Workshops”. What was your path choosing this niche?
Code reviews are a socio-technical practice, as such they are challenging as you have to have social and technical skills at the same time, and balance that with organizational skills.
From this perspective, they bring a lot of benefits, but an equal amount of challenges. Helping people get better and overcome those challenges is fascinating to me.
Career & Parenting
Developing Conflict Competence
In the Developing Conflict Competence article, you talk about “conflict competence”. Defined as “the ability to develop and use your skills to create a productive outcome during conflict while reducing the likelihood of harm.”. Has your relationship with conflict changed with having kids? I guess this is something parents have to deal with quite often when kids grow up. Does it require the same mechanism as conflict the management skills we may need in the workplace? Is conflict competence something you try to teach to your kids in any way?
It definitely has. I’m a strong proponent of non violent communication, a framework introduced by Marshall Rosenberg.
My abilities to actively listen, and separate observation from evaluation, is needed on a daily basis with my kids. I also teach this in the code review workshops. The quint-essence is to have empathy and be on a constant quest for understanding what drives your own behavior (feelings and needs), and what feeling and needs drive the people surrounding you.
The more you know about this, the more a solution that reduces harm and is beneficial for all involved can be reached.
The skill to say “No”
In The skill to say “No” — Agile product ownership article, I guess this is also a skill much required when having kids. “Actually saying no with grace, authority while minimizing negative reactions is an additional skill.”. In the article you noticed that there are few resources about “how to actually say no”. Have your kids helped you answer this question?
I’m struggling a lot with this. I could not say that the kids made me better at saying no in general. Confronted with their sweet little faces and sad eyes, it is more the opposite. I say “yes” too much.
But, the kids are definitely helping to say no to many non-essentials. I say no to projects, job opportunities and other people. I’m much more protective of my personal boundaries outside of my family.
So, in this regard, they have helped me quite a bit. I’m also a big fan of “Essentialism”, and can recommend the book. I listen to passages of it over and over to remind myself to stay true to my mission.
For these two skills (Conflict Competence & Saying No), very useful in the workplace, do you think parents can have an advantage with developing soft skills at home?
I think, having kids definitely has made me more resilient to conflict. You have to deal with it on a daily basis, over and over. So, I’m quite trained at the moment to deal with it.
What is the scariest thing about being a mom?
The fear of something happening to the kids.
The challenges of 50/50 split
Have you faced any challenges being a mom in tech? If so, do you have an idea of how to improve parent’s journey in tech?
I faced many, many challenges. The first one is that I haven’t been prepared how much having kids will change my life. And if I would have known before, I could have created a better and more supportive (work) environment. Nobody really talks about how much having kids takes a toll on the mothers.
I also lived in this fantasy world that we will be splitting taking care of the kids 50/50. But reality, at least for me, was that this was not even remotely possible at the beginning. How should my partner take over 50 of the pregnancy complications? Complications after birth? Now that my kids are older, we are close to a 50/50 split, but it took quite some time until we got there.
In hindsight, if I would have known, I could have prepared much better mentally and with making sure I have a professional setup that allows me to “fall-out”, and a supportive network of friends.
Since becoming a parent, time is much more meaningful to me. I’m very deliberate about making sure I spend my time on meaningful activities. This is also why I started my own business. It’s not always possible of course, but I’m constantly working on it.
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