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Engineering Leadership

As I’m diving into Will Larson’s “Engineering Executive’s Primer”, I’m realizing that I have some deeply held beliefs about how to run an engineering team.

One of them is the idea of using meetings to communicate culture.

There is always this back-and-forth between feeling like we’re having too many useless meetings and feeling like we’re not communicating enough.

Will really nails the core reason why meetings matter so much:

When everyone is together discussing something, it’s a chance to both explicitly and implicitly convey how the company operates, your perspectives on things, and all those aspects that shape your culture.

My key takeaway — the way a leader talks about things and how they consider the ideas of others speaks volumes.

Actively seeking out others’ opinions - which I think happens pretty infrequently in meetings - is SO crucial for fostering your culture.

A culture where you pass the torch to the people who lead certain things or to those who you know really care about certain functions.

Doing this in a meeting implicitly communicates the value that people who take ownership should be empowered to make decisions.

And then, of course, there are norms. You can set norms in Slack to some degree, but chatting just isn’t the same as hearing people’s tone of voice, seeing facial expressions, or even being together in person.

To be clear, this isn’t me advocating for being in the office all the time or having a thousand meetings! I just think it’s vital that people do meet, discuss, and understand each other.

Also, a big thanks to Will Larson for publishing yet another excellent piece of required reading!

The Engineering Executive's Primer

Published May 26, 2024

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