Taro Logo

How to have productive technical discussions around a large, ambiguous problem?

Profile picture
Senior Software Engineer [E5] at DoorDash2 years ago

My team’s starting discussions for a large, ambiguous, re-architecture/rewrite project that’s expected to take >1 year to complete. There are 2 E6’s in these discussions (1 backend, 1 iOS) and they have very different (but strong) ideas on the technical direction. The zoom meeting was a bit chaotic with both of them voicing their opinions at the same time multiple times, talking over each other. Moreover, they were jumping around from discussing high-level goals one minute to low-level technical details the next, so it was difficult for the rest of the team to follow the discussions. Do you have advice on how to make these discussions more productive? I'm thinking it might help to have a pre-read document and a clear meeting agenda, along with a meeting facilitator, but would love to hear other ideas as well.



(1 comment)
  • 1
    Profile picture
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    I like the idea of a pre-read doc and clear outcomes, to keep the meeting focused.

    One thing I've observed which is hugely valuable is someone to simply take notes and summarize. This should be an actual engineer (not a PM) who can send out a summary and pros/cons of the various options.

    Having a clear idea/source of truth of "here are the 3 options we discussed along with pros/cons" is hugely powerful. Even better if you keep it up to date, and that becomes a critical doc for future discussion.

    A related discussion from a senior Google engineer is here.