Delivery’s Directors

The following is largely common to all engineering teams, and their needs from their directors. But in the absense of this content currently existing elsewhere, this is what the Delivery team feels they need from both their Product and Engineering Directors.

What the team really needs from their directors

  1. Time and space to take responsibility for their own decisions -
    • What this means:
      • This may include making recommendations on decisions that are either potentially contentious, impact other teams, or require stakeholder buy-in, but the onus for arriving at a recommended decision needs to lie with the team itself, often including ICs - meaning responsibility for research as needed.
      • Decisions take time. So we need the time to own these, and in order to have time, we may have to accept tradeoffs. Making decisions properly and giving the team a sense of inclusion in the process is critical to good decisions, and morale.
    • Ask of the directors:
      • Help the team identify decisions that need to be made, empower them to undertake the thinking or work that is needed, and gently guide them without steering them.
      • Help make them aware of the wider implications, whether those be practical or perception.
  2. Trust -
    • That’s implied by point #1 but extends beyond that.
    • If management is something that happens around a team, then ICs can feel like leaves in a storm.
    • They need to be trusted to have a say in decisions, and as a whole team we need our decisions and recommendations respected.
    • That’s not to say that decisions cannot be questions (they can and should - it’s healthy) but respect the team’s feelings and suggestions, even if another solution better achieves the desired outcome.
  3. Availability for escalations -
    • Every team deals with some degree of ownership conflicts, unclear levels of responsibility, and collabortation with or dependency on other teams.
    • This team in particular has had to wrestly with these issues a lot lately due to excessive demand on their time and skills
    • This comes with a need for greater weight to help reach an agreement and enforce adherence to the decisions.
    • Director involvement here makes things exponentially easier.
  4. Clarity in what you need from us -
    • Either on a recurring basis or ad-hoc, we need absolute clarity on the expectations of the team.
    • This includes, but is not limited to:
      • Any deadlines
      • Any materials or assets the team is required to produce (e.g. roadmap tracking issues)
      • Any expectations of any sort that are idenfitied from others at a leadership level.
  5. Clarity on the wider perception of the team -
    • Delivery was making slow steady progress towards a semblance of health.
    • This has been put under pressure due to unexpected (and at times unmanageable) burdens that fall on this team.
    • We need clarity of how things are being seen, both by wider teams and by the leadership team (Directors and VPs).
    • Without this, we’ll not be able to react in a way that helps to enhance the team’s reputation.