How to handle decision-makers when you want something from them

Pierre Derome

VP Engineering at Scality



"I was the lead dev in an overwhelmed team and I had worked out that I needed to hire an extra engineer. My manager was the one who could decide whether to hire someone new, but he was extremely busy and would respond to my requests with 'I'll have a look into it'. Even after these promises, no new hire was scheduled."

Actions Taken

"My team was constantly overwhelmed and I could not give them any idea of when or if we'd have an extra person hired for our team. I decided to take charge of this issue and be proactive in the new hire. First, I thoroughly measured our team's velocity ('xx dev => xx user story'), as well as how much more we should be doing ('I need to do xx% more user stories'). Following this, I tried to improve our processes to do more with the existing resources (new requirements, improve CI...) and measure it ('I can do xx% more with these improvements'). With all of this in mind, I ran the math and proved that I needed one person, the facts were there. I then went to my boss and asked him: 'What do you need to make your decision? When can you make your decision?'. I also suggested a few candidates. With this approach, I managed to get a new engineer in a few weeks."

Lessons learned

"I believe you need to be the master of your team's destiny. When external people are decision-makers, the best way is to be proactive, ask them what they need and provide the required data."

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Pierre Derome

VP Engineering at Scality

Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsLeadership Training

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