Scaling Organizational Skills

Alexis Lê-Quôc

CTO at Datadog



"When I started out in my career, I started out as a software engineer. At that time, it was very obvious what I needed to do next, so I didn't really take notes. I showed up and I wrote code. However, eventually the amount of work I had started piling up. I needed to figure out how to handle it all."

Actions taken

"When you become a team lead or manager, you have to become more organized and methodical in the way you approach work. I decided to write down a list of what I needed to do. It detailed what was going to be coming up next, and the level of priority of each item. I also noted down things I thought about that wouldn't be immediately achievable and things I couldn't work on right away. This helped to prevent me from getting distracted from the tasks that needed my immediate attention. I then deliberately blocked out time so that others couldn't book meetings on top of my work time, allowing me space to really work on the tasks at hand. However, as my level of seniority increased, it became increasingly difficult to block out time."

Lessons learned

"I could not go back to not having a clear priority list of what I need to work on. I've tried pen and paper and various productivity tools to organize my work and I don't think the tool matters too much. The tough part is finding the balance between getting things done and finding the time to work through your list and culling things that no longer matter. This prevents you from having an ever-growing list, which could become quite demoralizing."

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Alexis Lê-Quôc

CTO at Datadog

Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementSprint CadencePerformance Metrics

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