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    The role of a senior+ engineer

    This little "Wouldn't it be nice if ..." tweet made the rounds a few days back and ... it's a good idea. They're so close to getting it.

    I’m starting to think that every product org should have at least one senior+ engineer who isn’t beholden to a roadmap and who just goes around making little quality of life improvements everywhere ~ Aweary on twittery

    Every product org should have a senior+ engineer whose job it is to run around and make everyone else more productive πŸ€”

    That is the role of a senior+ engineer!

    Yes you're beholden to a roadmap and you're working on a sprint team, but that's not a trap for your vast talents. That's to ensure you're aligned with the company's goals.

    Working hard on things nobody cares about is the quickest way to misery. Hard work, no reward, burnout.

    We touched on this in the React Podcast interview a few years ago when talking about Peak Performance, a book.

    Senior+ engineers are supposed to make progress on a roadmap. Everyone is. Even the CEO has a roadmap. What changes is how you do this.

    You don't do the work yourself

    When you're senior+ in role if not in title, your job is to make sure the roadmap gets done, not to do it yourself. Less "How can I bang this feature out the quickest?", more "How can I help the team do this faster?".

    Your main job is to be a force multiplier.

    In military science, force multiplication or a force multiplier refers to a factor or a combination of factors that gives personnel the ability to accomplish greater things than without it.

    Sometimes that means running around and making quality of life improvements. Sometimes it's upgrading a library so others can use the latest features. Sometimes you parachute into a meeting to make a decision.

    Take ownership. Be that person who asks the annoying question and gets clarity from the suits while others focus on the code.

    Many days you purposefully don't do the work and create space for others to learn instead. Let go. It's okay. They'll ask for help if they need it.

    And if the solution breaks things beyond that engineer's perspective? My friend that's your senior+ role too πŸ‘‰ to keep a higher level technical perspective with an eye on the vision, not just today's task.

    This is why senior engineers get nothing done. Their role is to help others do it faster.

    The more you do this, the more time you'll have to get involved in those higher level meetings and decisions that help you define The Vision. It's a hack πŸ˜‰

    The trick is that you don't find time for senior+ work. Nobody gifts it to you. You make the time. By letting others play with your legos.


    PS: you first need to be in an organization that manages by outcomes, not by inputs. Usually those are tier 3 companies

    Published on April 26th, 2022 in Mindset, Ownership, Lessons

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    Senior Mindset Book

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