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What strategies do you have for increasing communication and collaboration as a SWE?

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Engineering Manager at Mistplaya month ago

There is a ton of great content on Taro already about this already, but it's a great topic and would love to bring it up again for discussion.



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    Engineering Manager [OP]
    a month ago

    The #1 best thing I did was organize game nights and movie nights, and participate in rock climbing and happy hours when the company was in person 4.5 years ago and I was a new engineer. I did this just because I wanted to have fun and get to know people. Pretty soon I realized it made it way less awkward to ask for help as a new engineer to someone I went rock climbing with last night and was ordering Thai food with later today for movie night. Not only that, but these events included sales, marketing, design, product, ops folks, and company leaders from time to time - so I learned how the business worked and built relationships that made me feel at ease when I needed to collaborate with anyone.

    Recently in a 250 person remote situation I've filed my calendar with checkins ranging from 2 weeks to 16 weeks that are just "coffee chats" (I think I got this from Alex!). With fellow engineers, recent joiners and long time coworkers, we sometimes pair program a bit, or talk about the product, or just talk about life! What's been awesome then is some people that I do coffee chats with have ended up directly working on the same thing as me later and then we can really hit the ground running. But even if not, it's great to have someone to talk about work challenges with both directions.

    So basically my advice here has nothing to do with the technical part or even any tactics related to communication. Rather just this: care and show up for people.

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    I did a lot of random things at Pinterest which helped me build deeper relationships with coworkers (almost none of these are related to software engineering):

    • Many people would do the 15 minute walk from the Caltrain station in SF to the Pinterest office in SoMa. I'd recognize someone from Pinterest (either I'd seen them around, or saw they had a Pinterest-branded shirt/backpack) and then start chatting with them. I had a captive audience and we were headed to the same place! This was a nice way to talk to random people who I didn't normally interact with.
    • I created a Rahul group for the handful of people named Rahul at the company, and we got lunch together. Sometimes silly ways of finding commonality are very effective to have interesting conversation. (I went on the start the Rahul at Facebook group with 80+ members.)
    • I added the Donut bot in the Pinterest Slack to foster random interaction, which worked for a few months before flaming out.
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