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Building Effective Engineering Teams - LeadDev

Building Effective Engineering Teams - LeadDev

As engineering leaders, we have a large opportunity to scale our effectiveness as our decisions impact the output of our whole organisation. This means our investments in helping our teams become more effective is of particularly high value. A good starting point is sharing the insights that help grow people into effective individual engineers.

There is of course so much more to it than this. From reducing sources of friction to optimising career growth goals to align with what produces maximum value, this talk will touch on tips, tricks and frameworks for building effective teams based on over a decade of experience Addy has had working on the Chrome team at Google. The insights here will apply across management and technical leadership.

This talk was presented at LeadDev SF 2022.

Addy Osmani

October 29, 2022
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  1. EFFICIENT TEAMS DO THINGS RIGHT. EFFECTIVE TEAMS DO THE RIGHT

    THING. (IDEALLY DO THE RIGHT THINGS RIGHT)
  2. TIP: FOCUS ON OUTCOMES OVER OUTPUTS • 🛠 Outputs: Activities

    you’ve been executing. 👉 (e.g. deployed a feature) • 🛠 Throughput: The nº of items you ship to production. • 🛠 Velocity: The speed at which those items go through the pipeline. • 🛠 Quality: How satisfying your delivery is based on customer expectations. • 🛠 Capacity: The nº of devs available to work on a speci fi c project or initiative. • 🛠 Code Health: The tech debt being driven down for making systems simple to maintain • 🛠 Outcomes: The impact of those activities. 👉 (e.g. I want this feature to increase X by 20%) • 🛠 Business Value: The value for the business of delivering a speci fi c outcome. • 🛠 Investment: The money you want to put into delivering a speci fi c outcome to the market https://dev.to/carmonara/what-is-engineering-productivity-how-do-we-measure-it-405i Components of Productivity
  3. WHAT ARE TRAITS OF AN EFFECTIVE ENGINEER? • Care about

    the user. Their needs > speci fi c technology or approach • Good problem solver • Can keep things simple • Thinks like an owner • Lifts others up. Shares knowledge. • Can build trust, autonomy, social capita over time • Understands team strategy • A great communicator • Prioritizes appropriately • Seeks feedback to improve • Can think long term • Leaves things better than how they found them • Comfortable taking on new challenges if org requirements change
  4. ANTI-PATTERNS FOR EFFECTIVENESS • Domain Champion • Hoarding the Code

    • Unusually High Churn • Bullseye Commits • Heroing • Over Helping • Clean As You Go • In the Zone • Bit Twiddling • The Busy Body • Scope Creep • Flaky Product Ownership • Expanding Refactor • Just One More Thing • Rubber Stamping • Knowledge Silos • Self-Merging PRs • Long-Running PRs • A High Bus Factor • Sprint Retrospectives bit.ly/20-patterns
  5. AUTONOMY, MASTERY PURPOSE • Autonomy • Have full ownership •

    Strong abilities to work with • interfaces • Strong communication skills • Get things done attitude • Understand the big picture What do we need to build e ff ective teams? • Mastery • Appreciation of our • craftsmanship • Strong technical skills • Strong project leadership skills • Make complicated things simple • High commitment • Continuous improvement • Purpose • Team Player • Continuously improving of the surrounding • Entrepreneur and not only innovator • Looking at the big picture
  6. WHAT TRAITS DO GREAT MANAGERS AT GOOGLE HAVE? 1. Is

    a good coach 2. Empowers team and does not micromanage 3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being 4. Is productive and results-oriented 5. Is a good communicator — listens and shares information PROJECT OXYGEN 6. Supports career development and discusses performance 7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team 8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team 9. Collaborates across Google 10. Is a strong decision maker
  7. PROJECT ARISTOTLE STUDIED BOTH HIGH AND LOW PERFORMING TEAMS 180

    201 250 35+ 3 TEAMS INTERVIEWS INPUTS STATISTICAL MODELS OUTPUTS 115 TECH 65 SALES PODS 50 TECH LEADS 151 TECH TEAM LEADS TEAM DYNAMICS TEAM COMPOSITION ON TEAM EFFECTIVENESS
  8. WHAT WE LOOKED AT PROJECT ARISTOTLE Dependability of teammates Personal

    meaning derived from team’s work Performance ratings of Googlers on the team Structure of team & roles Extroversion of team members Manageable workload for team members Number of top performers on the team Tenure of Googlers on the team Colocation of Googlers on the team Impact of team’s work Average level of Googlers on the team Tenure of team as a whole Consensus-driven decision-making Psychological safety of the team
  9. WHAT DIDN’T MATTER Dependability of teammates Personal meaning derived from

    team’s work Performance ratings of Googlers on the team Structure of team & roles Extroversion of team members Manageable workload for team members Number of top performers on the team Tenure of Googlers on the team Colocation of Googlers on the team Impact of team’s work Average level of Googlers on the team Tenure of team as a whole Consensus-driven decision-making Psychological safety of the team PROJECT ARISTOTLE
  10. WHAT SETS APART EFFECTIVE TEAMS FROM THE REST? HOW TEAMS

    WORK TOGETHER MATTERS MORE THAN WHO IS ON THE TEAM.
  11. EFFECTIVE GOOGLE TEAMS HAVE FIVE DYNAMICS IMPACT MEANING STRUCTURE &

    CLARITY DEPENDABILITY PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY Team members think their work matters and creates change Work is personally important to team members The team has clear roles, plans, and goals Team members get things done, on time, and meet Google’s high bar for excellence. Team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other Most important
  12. TEAMS WHO FEEL SAFE TEND TO BE RATED HIGHLY ON

    EFFECTIVENESS BY THEIR LEADERSHIP PROJECT ARISTOTLE 80% 40% UNSAFE TEAM SAFE TEAM
  13. EFFECTIVE GOOGLE TEAMS HAVE FIVE DYNAMICS IMPACT MEANING STRUCTURE &

    CLARITY DEPENDABILITY PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY Team members think their work matters and creates change Work is personally important to team members The team has clear roles, plans, and goals Team members get things done, on time, and meet Google’s high bar for excellence. Team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other Most important
  14. WANT TO IMPROVE TEAM HEALTH? TRISTA TAYLOR LED TEAM DEVELOPMENT

    AT GOOGLE. NOW, HER COMPANY, REGROUP, HELPS TEAMS IMPROVE PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY, COHESION, TEAM VISION, DECISION- MAKING ETC. WITH A TEAM HEALTH ASSESSMENT, COACHING, AND FACILITATED TEAM OFFSITES. PROJECT ARISTOTLE - COACHING regroup.co
  15. MAKE YOURSELF EFFECTIVE Know where the time goes Focus on

    what I can contribute Build on strengths Concentrate on major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results. Make e ff ective decisions 5 habits to acquire To be an E ff ective Executive By Peter Drucker
  16. MULTIPLIERS RAISE THE GAME OF EACH TEAMMATE MAGIC JOHNSON •

    Focus on one skill you can maximize and one weakness you can neutralize • Challenge your assumptions. Seek feedback. • Don’t stop with yourself when building a multiplier culture
  17. STRONG CULTURE IS OPEN TO CHANGES THAT IMPROVE IT, YET

    RESISTANT TO RADICAL CHANGE THAT HARMS IT. YOUR ENGINEERING CULTURE MATTERS.
  18. THIS GUIDANCE IS HEAVILY INSPIRED BY THE WORK OF BEN

    COLLINS-SUSSMAN AND BRIAN FITZPATRICK debuggingteams.com
  19. AS AN ORG GROWS, THE LEADER'S ROLE CHANGES… DISTRACTIONS AND

    COMPLICATIONS MULTIPLY. communicate effectively grow your people have a clear strategy communicate compelling vision understand the business make the right decisions build the team / org culture deal with the unpredictable build a great team
  20. GROWING AS A LEADER THE FURTHER YOU GROW AS A

    LEADER: •THE MORE IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE. •THE LESS IT IS ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL TECHNICAL EXPERTISE. •THE BROADER YOUR DOMAIN BECOMES, MAKING YOU EVEN MORE REMOVED.
  21. ALWAYS BE DECIDING IDENTIFY THE BLINDERS WHAT ASSUMPTIONS DOES EVERYONE

    UNCONSCIOUSLY LIVE WITH? IDENTIFY KEY TRADE-OFFS MAKE INTENTIONAL DECISIONS
  22. BUILD A SELF- DRIVING MACHINE. BEING A SUCCESSFUL LEADER MEANS

    BUILDING A TEAM THAT CAN SOLVE PROBLEMS BY ITSELF
  23. YOU MUST BUILD A SET OF SELF-SUFFICIENT LEADERS, AND DELEGATION

    IS ABSOLUTELY THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO TRAIN THEM. THE HARDEST PART: DELEGATION IT’S ALWAYS EASIEST TO DO THINGS YOURSELF. THIS MAKES YOU A SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE. GIVE AWAY YOUR LEGOS. IT’S HARD TO WATCH YOUR REPORTS FAIL, BUT THEY CAN’T LEARN UNLESS THEY TRY.
  24. YOUR MACHINE IS RUNNING. WHAT NOW? • DIRECT THE MACHINE.

    • KEEP IT HEALTHY. • ALWAYS BE LEAVING!
  25. TAP THE BLIMP • OBSERVE. LISTEN TO YOUR REPORTS AND

    TALK TO CUSTOMERS. • WHAT’S WORKING? OR ISN’T? • OCCASIONALLY LIGHTLY TAP THE BLIMP IN JUST THE RIGHT PLACE TO ADJUST COURSE
  26. DO WHAT YOU WERE DOING IN HALF THE TIME. SPEND

    THE OTHER HALF TACKLING NEW PROBLEMS.
  27. LEARN FROM MARIE KONDO Critically important Not urgent or important

    Sometimes urgent, Bits of importance Toss ALL this Only focus on this.
  28. HAVE A PLAN FOR SCALING • SCHEDULE CALENDAR BLOCKS TO

    THINK AND PLAN. • DELEGATE EVERYTHING (EXCEPT THINGS ONLY YOU CAN DO.) • TRACK IN A WAY THAT WORKS. • DROP BALLS ON PURPOSE!