Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

How to Introduce a New Technology to Your Organization

Dev Processes
Internal Communication
Impact
Convincing

27 September, 2020

Pete Murray
Pete Murray

Principal Technical Director at Electronic Arts

Pete Murray, Principal Software Engineer at Electronic Arts, recalls his efforts to introduce a cutting edge technology of that time and how that was intrinsically connected with his personal growth as an engineer.

Problem

As an engineer, I always had a profound interest in expanding my knowledge, improving my craft and further investing in myself. I would be spending 10 to 20 percent of my time thinking about new challenges and approaches the future will bring. I was always interested in introducing new technologies and back then, Docker and containerized architecture was the next big thing. I was eager to try out and introduce this new technology in my organization.

Actions taken

I went to an IBM conference in 2015, where they talked about Docker container architecture and containerization in general. Back then it was a brand new thing and people were still hesitant about doing it. After learning about it, I played with it for a while investing my personal free time to better understand it. But I needed to find an opportunity to exercise it and as a lead engineer, I was also responsible to find opportunities for my engineers to keep their skills updated.

I decided to re-architect one of our platforms using Docker technology. To engage people I had to put myself in the shoes of the developers who would have to undergo a mindset shift in order to work with Docker. I had to take them on a journey on which they would understand that things they were building on their laptops would be run in the cloud.

As with any cutting-edge technology it was not enough that I was certain that it would work, it was about convincing and empowering my engineers that it would work. That required me to understand what they were not understanding about this new technology. A part of it was about vision and belief and another part was about action and action was all about empathy.

Translating what an architect has drawn as a figure 1 (the system blueprint) to how you can build it is a daunting task that is often overlooked. Sometimes it feels like you have to tell people how to work and if you have led engineering teams this is what you are told never to do but trust your people to figure it out.

For new technology, you have to be present and support people figuring it out give them new analogies and listen to what they are telling you. For Docker, this meant us moving away from the safety of the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) but driving a new integration based iterative delivery method from Unit (in container), Boat (Docker for integration +1 container) to Ship (Docker end to end).

Lessons learned

  • Managing change is not about telling people to change, it is about reinforcing that change. Walk in their shoes, show them the light at the end of the tunnel and motivate them to stay on the track. Focus on people who your change impacts the most -- ground-level engineers. They have to be inspired to understand and embrace new technology.
  • As an engineer, you have chosen a career that is underpinned by a craft and you have to invest in that craft. That is entirely different from considering engineering as a job. Great engineers will spend weekends reading textbooks and they will enjoy doing what they do which makes them excel in their craft. That is the difference between a job and career -- career is about craft and calling that is inspiring you to further master your skill.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Preparing Your Team for the Remote Workplace

29 November

Vadim Antonov, Engineering Manager at Meta, dictates how he brought a brand new team into the remote learning process by ramping up onboarding and creating a mentor system.

Alignment
Remote
Internal Communication
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Data Team
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Vadim Antonov

Vadim Antonov

Engineering Manager at Facebook

Specialization vs. Wearing Many Hats

23 November

William Bajzek, Director of Engineering at Sapphire Digital, compares and contrasts a team structure that utilized siloed skill sets and one where everybody’s duties overlap at the edges.

Internal Communication
Collaboration
William Bajzek

William Bajzek

Director of Engineering at Sapphire Digital

Mergers and Acquisitions: Collaboration tools hold a key to bringing cultures together

23 November

Neelima Annam, Sr Director Information Technology at Outmatch, shares how something as minor as collaboration tools can be a BIG issue during mergers and acquisitions.

Acquisition / Integration
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Neelima Annam

Neelima Annam

Sr. Director Information Technology at Outmatch HCM

The art of managing up

19 November

James Engelbert, Head of Product at BT, shares how managing up is all about being an excellent manager to bring the best out of a team.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Managing Up
Internal Communication
Strategy
Stakeholders
Cross-Functional Collaboration
James Engelbert

James Engelbert

Head of Product at BT

How to Build Rapport With an Introverted Manager

17 November

Piyush Dubey, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, shares his journey of climbing up the career ladder through awkward times dealing with an introverted manager.

Managing Expectations
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors
Piyush Dubey

Piyush Dubey

Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.