login


Google Sign inLinkedIn Sign in

Don't have an account? 

When an individual’s aspiration to jump on new technologies can jeopardize your team’s dynamics

Team reaction
Career Path
Productivity
Deadlines
High Performers

6 December, 2017

Sacha warns us about how to balance exciting new technologies with “grungy” work and discusses how he handles these types of situations.

Problem

I had an engineer in my team who wanted to work on the newest "hot topic". Things change quite quickly in tech and it's quite common to have people who are very interested in learning about, and trying out, new things. This engineer's arguments made sense, so I let him nurture ideas around the new technology within the team. After a while, I could sense some discomfort from other team members.

Consequence

Letting this individual work on something other than what the rest of the team was doing had created tension. I was asked why the engineer got to work on fun stuff, while everyone else had to do all the hard work. And they were right. Working on that new topic was for another end goal and had resulted in a misalignment in the team. I needed to make an explicit decision - either kill the new technology-focussed project or move it to a different team. I decided to move the individual to another team, which was more research focused.

Lessons learned

Teams work for a "what", not a "how", as their mission. When trying to accommodate people's desires within the team, you must make sure that their new position or role fits within the "what" of your team. One concrete way to identify this is to ask yourself whether the person's work impacts on the main metrics of the team. If it doesn't then you may end up jeopardizing your team's dynamics. I would suggest moving these people, creating new entities or declining to let them work on their suggested initiative.


Related stories

What We Learned From Running Open Spaces
30 June

Jeff Foster, Head of Product Engineering, highlights key learnings from his experience of running open spaces and if and how it contributed to an increase in innovation.

Company Culture
Productivity
Impact
Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster

Head of Product Engineering at Redgate

Some Ideas for Breaking Down Silos In Your Organization
30 June

Jeff Foster, Head of Product Engineering, shares how he managed to break down silos in his organization by encouraging their employees to choose their own team.

Team reaction
Managing Expectations
Company Culture
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Productivity
Reorganization
Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster

Head of Product Engineering at Redgate

Why Psychological Safety Is More Important Than Ever During the Covid-19 Pandemic?
30 June

Murali Bala, Director, Software Engineering at Capital One, discusses the importance of psychological safety emphasizing its unparalleled significance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Remote
Feedback
Team reaction
Feelings aside
Company Culture
Internal Communication
Murali Bala

Murali Bala

Director, Software Engineering at Capital One

How to Identify Root Cause of an Application Failure
30 June

Murali Bala, Director, Software Engineering at Capital One, outlines how he applied a root cause analysis to fix a recurring outage of their website.

Dev Processes
Leadership
Productivity
Murali Bala

Murali Bala

Director, Software Engineering at Capital One

Challenges of Migrating Old Legacy Software
27 June

Tim Olshansky, EVP of Engineering at Zenput, explains all the challenges of migrating legacy software to the cloud emphasizing the importance of identifying the riskiest things first and applying small, incremental changes.

Dev Processes
Productivity
Tim Olshansky

Tim Olshansky

EVP Engineering at Zenput

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.