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How to Scale Your Work to ensure Fast Delivery with Quality and meeting the Team Priorities

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Yahooa year ago

As I gain more experience working at this team, I have been eventually onboarded to work on different projects with different contexts, and finally arrived at a point where multiple bottlenecks kick in at one time. For example, I need someone(s) to unblock me, do knowledge transfers, while they are typically very busy; I need to spend time on building understanding on new stuff on my own; I also need to spend time on undocumented work (being a resource to other engineers for some of the work I have done, unexpected work request (enhancements, API revision...) flows into my plate, technical debt, review PRs, checking in teammates' progresses, planning and retrospect work efficiency improvement, and etc.). The goal is to make sure I am not blocking other's work, and deliver with speed and quality, as well as meeting Team's priorities (not even mentioning books and tutorials learning besides day-to-day tasks)

My manager has recently expressed concern on my delivery speed and quality, so what could be my next steps? Thanks in advance.



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    Senior Software Engineer [SDE 3] at Amazon
    a year ago

    Looks like you are new-ish on this team and as such your first priority should be to gain trust of your manager and your team that you can deliver with quality and speed. This can be tough when you're blocked and pulled into different directions. I have a few suggestions:

    • Make sure that your manager and your team knows that you're working on all these different tasks.
      • Communicate more , both in-person and in other channels of communication.
      • Make your undocumented tasks visible by adding them in your sprint board.
      • Share your learnings with the team.
    • Prioritize the tasks assigned to you and make sure that you maintain the quality. It's fine to help others when you're blocked but don't do it at the expense of your own tasks.
    • Try to find ways in which you can help others without spending too much of your time. For e.g. documenting common knowledge or best practices instead of repeatedly having conversations about them.

    I hope this helps. Best of luck.

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    Head of Engineering at Capgemini
    a year ago

    Based on the context you provided, I get the sense that the primary issue may be related to overwhelm, unclear priorities, and process-level problems rather than a need for others to spend the time to "unblock" you. I would ensure that the priorities and expectations coming from your manager and the rest of the team are aligned before moving forward. If the rate that things progress are not up to standard, gain a common understanding of why that is the case. When there is a shared understanding of the underlying issues, use that as the catalyst to drive change in the overall process and backlog some of the items not on the critical path (it sounds like you have a lot going on there).

    Specifically on the topic of "unblocking yourself" or what to do when blocked by external factors, Jordan from the Taro community wrote a great article on this topic a month ago. I recommend checking it out.

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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    10 months ago

    Thank you both so much for the insights, Vaibhav and Casey!!

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    10 months ago

    An important first step is to understand where your time is being spent today. You mentioned several activities (knowledge transfers, documenting work, review PRs, etc) -- what is the breakdown of how many hours per week you're spending.

    Once you have that, reflect on which periods were most impactful and which were not. You could also segment it in terms of things like where you're receiving help, where you're giving help, and where you're doing IC work.

    if you present this to your manager with your reflections, you'll be able to have a very fruitful conversation about how you could improve your deliver speed.

    See also the masterclass on time management.

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