Proof To Defend Your Team

Noah Beddome

VP of Security Engineering at Datadog



There's a quote that says "If you're doing an excellent job people wonder if anything has been done at all." If everything is sorted, people don't tend to think about how that happened. I am in charge of a remote team and because of this sometimes people don't have insight into what we're doing, so assume we're doing nothing. This happened once at Datadog when someone called the technical competence of my team into question.

Actions taken

Luckily, I keep track of everything my team has done, where all the pull requests we've submitted are, and run reports on load volumes etc. In addition, I am always thinking about trying to get people promoted and how to get them to improve, and I do quarterly reviews where I set five goals each quarter and mark off whether they have been completed. Because of this, I was able to come preloaded with defenses for each of my team members, and could easily demonstrate what they had done and how that work had helped the business. Even if someone has an issue with your team that really isn't valid, the fact that they feel that is still valid. I pointed the person who questioned my team members to the source code they had written, research they had done and work they had accomplished. The real issue was that he wasn't seeing their work, so I needed to figure out a way to make it more visible. I then asked the person why they thought my team wasn't contributing. It turned out they were getting some unfounded opinions from other people who also didn't really know what we did. From there, I took action by putting together some external PR materials.

Lessons learned

It's really important when defending your team or team members, that you keep really good track of the progression of members in your team, because it's important to be able to lean on that and show documentation proving what they have done. If you have to scrape together a bunch of stuff after the fact this will mean a lot less than if you can prove through past reviews that your team is contributing.

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Noah Beddome

VP of Security Engineering at Datadog

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyPerformance MetricsPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionSkill DevelopmentIndividual Contributor Roles

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