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How do you deal with feeling inadequate and behind?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community10 months ago

I just joined a brand new team, formed 6 weeks ago. This job is a big step up in responsibility for me, and it's asking me to operate in a manner that I'm unfamiliar with, such as building OKRs and roadmaps for my team - these OKRs and roadmaps will then be used by our cross functional partners. I feel an immense sense of responsibility that I'm not sure I can uphold my end of the bargain, since I feel like I simply there's so much unknown around product requirements and technical constraints. I don't know if I just power through it by working more to discover some of these constraints (which is what I'm mostly trying to do right now).

For the record, my manager says I'm doing great having recently joined the team. However, I constantly feel like I'm behind because I think I should be giving everyone the feeling I've got things under control, but I don't think I'm giving that impression (because that's not true...). How do I deal with this feeling? I feel like I will be feeling this way for some time since I think I have a lot to learn...



  • 24
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    Senior Software Engineer [SDE 3] at Amazon
    10 months ago

    I and I am sure a lot of people here will relate to your feelings. Whenever we are out of our comfort zone, we feel that things are out of control which can be quite scary. Additional responsibilities can be quite stressful. However we should embrace this as a learning and growth opportunity. Trust your abilities and rest assured that you'll get through this and come out stronger. Here are few recommendation that might be helpful in reducing stress:

    • Try to gather as much information about the team and product as possible by going through documentation and talking to people. Take notes about what you understand and what you don't understand. Don't be afraid of asking questions.
    • Seek guidance from tech leads in other teams. Ask for samples of OKRs and roadmaps. This will give you some clarity on the expectation.
    • Write drafts with your proposals based on what you know and seek feedback from your manager and other experienced tech leads. Revise the drafts based on feedback and based on new knowledge.
    • Talk to your manager frequently and update him on the progress you've made and any blockers you are facing.

    I hope this is helpful :)

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    10 months ago

    On top of the excellent advice that Vaibhav gave, I just want to say that ambiguity is the enemy of productivity. When things are unclear (particularly the quality of your own performance), it's really easy to hold yourself back mentally and stew in your own negative thoughts.

    Here are some things you can figure out to make your situation more clear:

    • What's a good example of well-written OKRs and roadmaps?
    • What's a reasonable set of milestones (i.e. achievements with due dates) for your project?
    • Is there another tech lead in your org that's doing a good job who you can emulate?
    • How do stakeholders feel about the quality of your project's execution at every stage in the cycle?

    You can talk about all these with your manager to get a crystal clear picture of what "good" looks like. And then whenever you feel like you are straying away from "good", then talk to your manager (who seems to be great and very supportive of you!) and see what support you can get to put yourself back on the right path.

    Also, I just want to stay that you will never feel like everything is 100% under control, especially as a tech lead, haha. As long as things are 80%+, you'll probably be fine. And if something blows up, just go with the flow, bring the team together, figure out a resolution, and learn a ton from all that. Repeat.

    Here's some additional resources about tech leadership I hope are helpful: