Pushing through 'friction' in our teams

Where do you need to push through friction?

This week I’ve been chewing on this really excellent (only 7K views?) talk from Dan Na from Squarespace (blog | Twitter) on pushing through ‘friction’ in your engineering organisation.

Perhaps you know the situation:

  • Everything seems broken:
  • Neglected codebases abound
  • Legacy mindsets seem to hard to jettison.

Our job as senior tech leaders is to support our teams in pushing through the friction.

Dan’s great talk steps through the causes (particularly growth) a bunch of practical steps for getting it sorted.

Short term

  • Document single sources of truth and keep them updated
  • Adopt processes to vet technology decisions
  • Solicit ‘the WTF of new hires’

longer term

  • Address hard truths – kindly
  • Celebrate the ‘glue work’ (even making it mandatory for promotion)
  • Make psychological safety paramount

…and for invididuals

  • Develop your own sense of agency
  • Have important discussions face to face
  • Get to know people on other teams & orgs
  • Try a new idea once

I found this both a great refresher for many concepts as well as an encouragement – what I face in my role isn’t unique… and though the solutions aren’t easy there’s a well-trodden path to success.

Dan has graciously shared his slides at https://blog.danielna.com/talks/… and I strongly recommend checking out his blog.