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Technical Leadership

This masterclass is designed to explore concepts, understanding and skills that help technical leaders be more effective.

Personal Effectiveness

Technical leaders are looked to for direction setting and guidance, and decisions are of great consequence both for the business and for development teams. Before we can lead others, we first need to have self-awareness, confidence and humility. Here we consider core personal effectiveness topics and strategies:

  • Self-awareness, self-management
  • Empathy, compassion, humility
  • Cognition (embodied, enacted, extended, embedded), cognitive amplifiers, fallibilities, (logical) fallacies and biases
  • Curiosity, observation, opportunity discovery, problem solving, and problem understanding and (re)framing, finding and exploring alternatives
  • Introduction to a broad landscape of related topics (emotional intelligence, perception and meaning making, ...) and writers/works, including William James; Daniel Kahneman, Indi Young, Daniel Goleman, Edwin Hutchins.


Preview Material

To give a sense of the coverage and calibre of the material, we have put a chapter/module online [pdf]: Decisions and Technical Leadership



We held the inaugral masterclass in Indianapolis in July, 2019. Some responses (public, on twitter):

"I’ll be back! I enjoyed every minute and the materials are fantastic" -- Paula Paul

"@ruthmalan and @DanaBredemeyer ’s technical leadership masterclass has meaningful material delivered with context that’s both relevant and thought provoking for rising leaders. Their sage wisdom with references has altered my professional reading list for several months to come." -- Michael Wojciechowski

"the class, format, and the materials were fantastic. I learned immensely and also validated some previous thoughts. Already using the learning and the materials for a Tech Lead group I run at work. Looking into the architecture class in Chicago in October." -- Martin Bertolino

Organizational Effectiveness

Work that impacts many people and multiple teams (e.g., across a product family, or teams of teams for more complex systems), raises challenges of leadership through transitions, participation and consensus-building, communicating, and more. This focal area addresses those challenges:

  • Considerations for leading successful teams
  • Leadership styles; fractal and participatory leadership and design
  • Building relationships, trust and safety
  • Collaboration, and fostering the best work in others
  • Working across the organization, bridging strategic/business, and development/technical; as well as working across technical teams with differing charters and priorities
  • Decision making, judgment, effects of groups, confidence,
  • Communication, listening, storytelling, interviewing
  • Organizational dynamics or politics, and magnifying the ability to get things done, working with and through people; architectrure transitions
  • Persuasion and Influence; Negotiation, Disagreement and conflict;
  • Culture; Nudges, enabling constraints
  • Coaching and facilitating, feedback
  • Ethics
  • Introduction to a broad landscape of related topics, writers and works, including Russ Ackoff, Chris Argyris, Bren√© Brown, Mel Conway, Peter Drucker, Mary Parker Follet, Eb Ikonne, Alicia Juarrero, David Marquet, Donella Meadows, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Edgar Schein, Michael Useem, Norbert Wiener.



Anyone in technical leadership, including architects, product owners and product managers, senior UX designers,and senior developers. CTOs and CIOs may be interested, as it creates a common basis of understanding with other technical leaders on their teams..

Open Enrollment Masterclass

Remote masterclasses will combine 2 zoom sessions (on the dates/times given) and some asynchronous work (videos and readings, and async discussion). The prices are given as [early enrollment price/enrollment price]. 2023 schedule:

Instructor: Ruth Malan

To enroll

Tickets can be purchased on Ti.To (links on dates above).

Please email for more information.


US$600.00 per student. Early enrollment discounts ($200) are available when a masterclass is first opened to enrollment. Purchase parity pricing and a limited number of scholarships are available to women, NB and BIPOC, and for folk outside North America and Europe. Email or DM Ruth Malan on twitter to arrange.

In-House Masterclasses

Pricing depends on number of students taking the class. The price for an in-house delivery is $350 per person with an 8 person minimum (below that, we generally recommend the open enrollment class; exceptions include leadership team building). Please contact us for details.

We also run other masterclass focused on technical leaders and teams, such as Systems Design, Strategy for Technical Leaders, and Organizational Dynamics for Technical Leaders. We consult and coach technical leaders, and run Team Development Days, as well as Architect Development Days and similar.



Alternatively, you can contact Ruth Malan on twitter.

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Last Updated: March 15, 2023