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Here at LeadDev, June was the month of Generative AI, as we dug into the emerging tooling landscape, and the benefits and risks for engineering managers to consider.

In this current climate, we're seeing engineers and their managers under increased pressure to be more efficient. It’s important to look after yourself and not to fall into tech debt traps at a time like this. In no particular order, here are five recent articles you need to read on LeadDev.

1. Harry Guinness, 7 generative AI productivity hacks for developers

There is already a plethora of AI tools out there that leverage large language models (LLMs) to help developers be more productive and complete tedious tasks. Here, Harry Guinness talks to engineering leaders about where their teams are pointing these tools, such as refactoring code or writing documentation.

“These technologies are just getting started and the guardrails are still being built. Each organization will differ in its appetite to leverage these tools for certain tasks, but it's already clear that they're only going to be more relevant to engineering leaders over the next few years,” he writes.

2. Richard Speed, The 6 biggest generative AI risks for developers

Generative AI risks are still only starting to be well understood. We know that generative AI tools are prone to bouts of overconfidence or even outright fantasy, but these are risks to be managed rather than reasons to discount the technology outright. That genie is already out of the bottle.

“Those responsible for these products must ensure they are aware of what the AI is actually doing and, most importantly, what data is flowing in and out of their training models before even considering implementation,” he writes.

3. Francisco Trindade, How managers can improve team efficiency

While generative AI may usher in new efficiencies for engineers in the future, there is an immediate need for managers to drive greater efficiency right now, which can be an uncomfortable position to be in. 

But, as director of engineering at Braze, Francisco Trindade, says, “Being successful at producing a desired result can, and should, be empowering instead of stress-inducing.” By embracing the engineering tendency to constantly improve, the need for greater efficiency becomes another problem to be solved. 

“Improving effectiveness is a good thing. If approached correctly, it will ultimately lead to better results and more fulfilled individuals. Efficiency also results in a more stable and less stressful work environment, where working smarter trumps working harder, even in our industry’s current constrained situations,” he writes.

4. Pat Kua, Tech debt traps to avoid

Through all of this, that pile of tech debt isn’t going anywhere. Here, Pat Kua identifies some common traps engineers fall into when faced with a pile of tech debt, and ways to work around them.

“Work on tech debt where you realize the benefit of the effort in the near term. If an area of the codebase is hard to work in, addressing the tech debt should also make it easier for a team to implement a feature they will work on in the next few weeks,” he writes.

5. Tany Raheel, Setting boundaries when you’re overworked

Lastly, while all of these factors could easily lead to longer hours and more pressure, management coach Tanya Raheel is here to remind you to set good boundaries at work to protect against burnout.

“Setting boundaries at work is a difficult but essential task, especially in an uncertain economic climate where everyone is expected to do more with less than before. This means that establishing and maintaining healthy work boundaries can be the difference between feeling overworked, versus staying productive and motivated,” she writes.