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How to best work with cross functional teams?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

Recently my company has split up a core team into two teams. One team is to keep on building the core infrastructure for the product and the other team is supposed to be working in an advisory position with other web applications teams that depend on the core infrastructure. Without dwelling into more details, this core team builds, and maintains datastores, that other web applications consume. A big part of the job is to build google search type infra (on a much smaller scale of course) and data processing pipelines.

Now working with other teams is exciting. But just focusing on one task that is doing tickets/changes/investigations that help them implement some specific features w.r.t to core infra, is kinda troubling me. As it puts me in a passive position and does not clearly define metrics for success. It also puts me on the borderline as I am neither doing core infrastructure-related work nor I am completely part of the other team. The idea is to imitate how Staff engineers work across teams. But I am a Senior engineer (just recently promoted).

Though this is clearly a growth opportunity for me, I am a bit worried about falling behind and not meeting expectations. Any advice on working with cross-functional teams?



(1 comment)
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    Any advice on working with cross-functional teams?

    Here's a really good mega-thread, started by a senior engineer at DoorDash.

    I think a lot of this question stems from lack of clarity around expectations, particularly with your manager. My first impression of everything outlined here was good - It seems like a lot of senior engineer behavior. I would talk to your manager and see if this operating model and its impact are sufficient for your level. If possible, come up with a model you think would be higher impact like "I would like to own this" or "I think we can use this to measure my success", and run it by your manager.

    Another thing to think about is technical complexity. A failure mode I've seen with engineers performing with this style is that their work is entirely talking to folks and debugging simple issues. Because of this, their actual engineering contribution (both in terms of code volume and complexity) is lacking for a senior+ engineer.

    As it puts me in a passive position and does not clearly define metrics for success.

    As the sort of "connector", would a viable metric be how many web applications you empowered to use the infra created by the core team? Or am I missing something here? It seems like you are a crucial middle-person that connects the dots.