002. Radiator ☢️

· 303 words · 2 minute read

In the musical Hamilton, they talk sing about “being in the room where it happened”. As Engineering Manager, I’ve now finally found myself in “the room” where a lot of talk happens. Decisions get made, strategies are strategised and plans are hatched.

All of this I diligently involve myself in and listen to the best of my ability. I am a sponge. I soak up information, digest it and contemplate it. One thing that now has to become an explicit part of my job is radiating information from these conversations to the rest of the team.

Radiating information

Generally as an engineer in the trenches, I could rely on the fact that if I knew something, then the rest of the engineers on my team would know that something. Suddenly my knowledge base is tiered. There’s:

  1. Sensitive important information that stays with the leads
  2. Important information that needs to be relayed to the team
  3. Non-important information that can be optionally relayed to the team
  4. Information everybody already knows

It’s the second one that I keep forgetting to do. It’s not obvious what information the team has already and what I need to communicate downstream. I’m just like “oh yeah! No one else knows this yet except me”. This can involve change in priorities, deadlines, HR related information, organisational backwash and personnel changes.

So far the hardest part of this radiation (despite me forgetting to do it) is the ability to communicate it without colouring it in my emotions. As much as possible, I am trying to deliver information as objectively as possible without influencing people towards my opinions.

This is hard! Your blast radius as a manager is larger. It matters a little more what you say and how you say it.

Hmmm… I wonder if I can automate this whole process…

– Milly Rowett