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I'm the tech lead, I can create panic

·2 mins

This post is the first real post I had in mind when thinking to start the blog. Is started with a random conversation with a friend who’s a tech lead at a big company. We met by chance one morning, and we discussed how different the working environment has become since the pandemic started, and how ‘work’ has changed in many aspects when everyone, or some, are working remotely.

Building connections and trust when working remotely #

Building connections and trust between team members has become harder since the pandemic started. Before, it was common to get on a plane, visit the other part of your team (or a partner-team) and nail down a piece of a project. Even more importantly, it was possible to have a chat about personal stuff, have a coffee, a beer or some other beverage - and build a human connection with other people. For me, this has changed to the worse, no matter how many ‘virtual coffee’ sessions I joined.

It’s even more apparent when you look at people who joined before and after the pandemic started. People who ‘know that person’ on the other end have it much easier to convey ideas - because they have already built that trust.

Escalation #

When there’s an issue which requires attention, it’s helpful to have the right people on-board. But when everyone is working from home, turning off notification to let them focus, it becomes harder to convey the sense of urgency over virtual mediums. Also, you definitely don’t want to be the person who cries ‘wolf’ if there’s no reason to do so.

Creating panic #

That’s when my friend said ‘I’m the tech lead. I can create panic’. She meant that she had built the trust within the team - so if she says something is important - people perceive it as such. It’s easier for her to rally up people if she decides to do so. I was also thinking about this in the context of a double-edge sword, or like the Spiderman quote: “With great power, comes great responsibility”. I don’t think my friend meant that in a way that she likes to stir up panic for the fun of it. She meant that she’s got enough credibility within the team to do so. As such, I believe that she knows not to misuse the trust she earned.