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Ask for the unreasonable… and then get out of the way

YOW! CTO Summit 2018 Brisbane

As a senior technical leader, it’s often viewed as a temping trap to get down into nitty-gritty details of software engineering or product development. As a CTO, Head of Engineering or equivalent, we’re supposed to play at the strategic level and leave the details to our engineering leads, aren’t we?

Well… yes. And no. Sometimes, creating a strategy and leaving it for our teams to figure out ignores the fact that our organisation constrains our teams in ways that we don’t expect. Sometimes it’s actually necessary to venture down into the weeds and see what the teams are doing - and what we’re doing that actively harms their efforts despite our intentions to the contrary.

In this talk we’ll look at some ways to map strategy to execution by setting “unreasonable” goals - and then working out how to get organisational constraints - and ourselves - out of the way.