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Delegation – a prerequisite for management

Snir Kodesh

Director of Engineering at Lyft

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Problem

"I've always felt that execution was my strong suit, in that if you gave me a task I could execute it really well. So, as I was transitioning into management, and growing multiple teams, I noticed that because of my background in execution I continued to try to execute projects on all fronts. However, nobody can scale to that degree. So, out of necessity, I had to learn to delegate."

Actions taken

"I've heard from a number of people that delegation is a prerequisite for building and scaling a team, and I've found this to be true. Delegation shouldn't be seen as just a useful tool for scaling, it also helps to motivate others."

"I had a team that I had been on for the entirety of my career at Lyft. I felt a strong attachment to them, so as time went on I continued to be involved with the team. However, I became overly involved with planning and I was getting into the weeds. As I had to split my time between teams, the team needed to have someone who would be focused on their work planning."

"Fortunately, I quickly recognized that the team's tech lead was hungry for an opportunity to gain experience. Slowly, I started to work with him. I told him about the work I did and asked him about what he was most interested in doing in terms of product direction. Over time, I started pushing more onto him, so he could grow. Eventually, he ended up needing to learn about how to delegate for himself, so I coached him in how to think through delegation, and how to identify people who he could develop in their growth. Through this process, the tech lead was able to gain more experience working on organizational and product overheads, scoping and sizing. This, in turn, helped the team."

"At first, delegating felt a little unnatural to me, as execution and impact were core to my self-identity. However, delegation and impact are not in conflict. In fact, to execute well, it's a prerequisite for a company to engage in delegation."

Lessons learned

"Nowadays, I spend a lot of my time motivating people, aligning their interests with what they're working on, and helping them grow. However, delegation is also critical for this, as it gives people exposure to problems they may otherwise not see, such as mediation and conflict, when before all they will have worked on is technical problems."

"Over the last few years, I've discovered a few things. Firstly, delegation allows me to focus on problems that I may not have otherwise been able to anticipate, and on things that may otherwise fall through the cracks, such as on-call rotation. Secondly, it enabled me to grow people faster. They were able to step into tech-lead roles, and were able to play a role in determining their career path. Thirdly, it allowed me to have a better personal balance. Everyone experiences some level of burnout, and delegation helped to reduce this."


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Snir Kodesh

Director of Engineering at Lyft


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