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When Company Growth Work Visibility

Ashley Miller

Director of Engineering at Datadog

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Problem

"There comes a point in an organization's growth where you don't know what the person next to you is working on, or what your manager is doing anymore. This can be a little jarring because you go from knowing about everything that is going on to not anymore. So how do you recognize this is happening and then start to fix it?"

Actions taken

Firstly, keep an eye on size. At any point, if you, as a manager, are not clear about what another team is doing, you can be almost certain that your team members have even less idea. So, if you start to feel that way, it's time to take action.

One way to do this is to start talking with other managers to find out what they're working on, and then report this back to your team. Another way is to encourage cross-team mixing and to encourage people who don't normally work together to talk to each other as much as possible. You can do this in various ways - for example, set up a bot that pairs people up to get coffee together, and hold company-sponsored events.

In your one-on-ones and team meetings keep your team up to date about what you know, and give your team the opportunity to ask questions so you can provide them with context. This helps to give your team an understanding about what's happening in your company and how they fit in.

Lessons learned

"As a manager, it's part of your job to know what other people are doing and what's coming down the pipeline, and to communicate this to your team. This is important, because while you may know about things and may have heard the same thing four or five times, your team may not have, and they depend on you to provide them with context about what is happening. Even if you don't know much, be transparent about this. Without transparency, rumors often begin to circulate, which can damage your team's morale."


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Ashley Miller

Director of Engineering at Datadog


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