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One of the projects I’m leading has a lot of thrash. How can I smoothen execution on future work?

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Staff Software Engineer [Lead MTS] at Salesforce2 years ago

I am the only experienced Full Stack developer in the team and I felt that the management got a bit excited when they found out. For the first week I was asked to represent my team to the UI review committee to get the UI approval, I had little or no background of the feature but it was kind of rushed out.

Second week, I was told to write the design document of a feature which I was not aware of. I started digging deeper into it, but after 3-4 days I was told there is some other team who is working on something similar so I should stop working on it.

Third week, I was told to again start working on it but then was told to put it on hold. Within the same week I was also told to write the Engineering document for the FE development for the team, this was a bit surprising for me seeing there is almost everything custom at SF, I felt I needed some time to understand the ecosystem, it is the work in progress.

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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago
    • The overall key is to be proactive. Do as much “meta work” as possible to validate the project before spending a single second on concrete execution.
    • When getting any project, work with your manager to understand the “people map”. Figure out who all the stakeholders and potential stakeholders are and proactively sync with them to de-risk the project.
    • Strive to build a great understanding of the org chart in general. For example, I worked on Instagram Story Ads. 2 relevant teams to my work there were other Instagram Ads teams and the Instagram Organic Stories team.
    • At Meta, I would always write a project kickoff post when starting a project. It covered core details like why we’re working on the project alongside the main approach we were going to take to build it, while cc-ing core stakeholders to raise visibility. The idea was just to tease out as much as the thrash upfront vs. face-tanking it later on down the road.

    Here's some great resources around tech leadership and understanding staff engineer expectations well: