On today’s episode we discuss product & engineering team alignment, deadlines and urgency and ideas for helping under representated groups becoming technology leaders.
Kimber Lockhart is Chief Technology Officer at One Medical Group – a rapidly growing model of primary care that integrates innovative design with leading technology to deliver higher quality service while lowering the total cost of care. Previously, Kimber co-founded Increo, a web-based service that allows users to share and review documents in a secure space. Increo was acquired by Box in 2009, and she hired and scaled the web application engineering team over the next four years, ultimately responsible for building most user-facing features on Box. Kimber speaks frequently on technology, heath care, and engineering careers in San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.
Stuart Parmenter is VP of Engineering at One Medical – a rapidly growing model of primary care that integrates innovative design with leading technology to deliver higher quality service while lowering the total cost of care. Previously, Stuart co-founded Rise, a mobile app for dieting and health, that aims to connect users with their own personalized diet plans and daily feedback from nutrition coaches for a fraction of the usual cost. Rise was acquired by One Medical in 2016. Before Rise, Stuart was running Mobile at Mozilla.
[0:05] Good afternoon Kimberly Stewart welcome to the show.
[0:09] Yes excellent so for the listeners out there when you know I have Kimber and Stuart actually both in the studio today like to call the studio even though it’s just a room in my office here at work but thank you very much for coming in I always appreciate when guests come in so thank you again for coming in.
[0:24] Of course thank you for having us.
[0:26] Yeah Kimber let’s get started briefly with you a little bit of kind of your background you’re not a whole CV thing but just a little bit of the highlights of kind of how you got to be where you are today and they were going to take.
[0:37] For sure I started out my career as an entrepreneur in fact I raise money for my first start up about 3 months before graduating from college.
A quite a ride doing a startup before we even really knew what we were doing.
[0:55] The definition of austere.
[0:56] Sold that company to box.
Started in engineering at box made my transition into.
Engineering Management at that time and as the Box team took off so did my leadership career.
And then about 4 years ago I decided to make a slate industry shift and went to one medical where they’ve been leading our technology team.
[1:28] And what kind of what’s the size of the team they’ve grown into not one Medical.
[1:32] So technology it when medical right now is about 80 people that includes our engineering or product management design it security so.
[1:41] What is a CTO there you actually oversee both the product as well as engineering size right Stewart your self you’re the VP of engineering at 1 Medical a little bit of the highlights I know you haven’t been back on to kind of how did how did you get to where you are today.
[1:55] Yeah I mean I’m going way back I’m came out to bury an 99 twerking Netscape I got hired there out of high school.
I’m sorry I went through the first day. Com boom United asking all the time it’s some small companies and ended up.
Join Mozilla and the pretty early days I think about 5 10 people.
And yes Rover saw a lot of different projects there and then made my management jump right around the time mobile was becoming a bigger thing the iPhone it just come out we’re really trying to look and see.
What would make sense in that space if I did that for a number of years I decided it was time to start a company so I said yeah.
Went and started a company I called rise we’re focused from the health and nutrition spaced.
Several years later started talking to one medical we got acquired some Bennett one medical I believe two years yesterday and.
Been a great time.
[2:58] Happy anniversary and what’s in your team then as a subset what is your team that your auntie right now it when medic on the size of that.
[3:06] The engineering team right now is about 35 people including your QA and our data team and number of software Engineers career lot of backgrounds.
[3:15] Sure sure and one thing I kind of asked all of our guests because we’ve all made them it’ll just take with you for a second what’s the one thing that stands out like oh my God I got promoted to management I can’t believe I did that that would see which one of those mistakes that that kind of stand out to you.
[3:31] You know I think one of the hardest pieces and advice I give to a lot of new managers is.
I especially when you’re being promoted from an engineer to manager you often lean back on your technical abilities or you often will take on that task that you you’re no better than everyone else.
[3:49] Turns out you on time to do it so you in a blocking everyone else.
[3:53] It’s a four five six weeks later by the K that thing done yet and you’re looking around like oh yeah maybe I should have given that to someone else.
[4:00] But I find that’s one that certainly bit me a number of times and you know I try to warn any new manager to look out for.
[4:09] And, what about yourself.
[4:11] I was a reasonably reluctant manager actually.
[4:15] I think makes the best ones actually.
I’ve been thinking about future career Direction in the advice had an aspiration towards leadership but a really bad impression of what it meant to be in Middle manager.
[4:31] And the leader of my department at that time to decide to talk me into becoming a manager.
[4:38] And probably the biggest mistake is in the early days I didn’t do one-on-ones to be honest I was a little bit intimidated.
Sit down one-on-one regularly with with my team members and it took me,
a few months of trying to orchestrate team meetings and chats with everyone before I realize the power of a regularly allocated time,
to sit down with each individual member of the team and I I look back on that and I think I could have.
[5:11] I could have solved a few problems a little bit sooner and perhaps retained an employee or two.
[5:18] Sure sure I know our mistakes unfortunately it’s not like a code bug already you making on people and,
oops I wish I apologize for the mistakes I’ve made I’ve grown in the back of others free and enough.
you still can recommend it maybe not falling back on your your technical chops so any of the recommendations for a first-time manager definitely I think I grew the one-on-ones anything else you might or you do too,
cancel your coach your new managers to to do.
[5:44] One skill that managers often don’t develop on their own or at least not right away is is the skill of coaching and asking good questions.
It’s very easy to be directive when one of your direct reports comes to you with a problem and,
inexperienced or it of a good manager will often pause at that point and turn the question back,
on the person bringing the issue and I think there’s there’s a lot of power in that for helping people to be their own Advocates and resolve their own issues but it’s not our first instinct,
especially if people who are good at their jobs that are good at solving problems and getting things done.
I’m so taking that moment to pause and say are they really asking me this question or should I have them solve this problem is is important.
[6:32] And then go back to the the one-on-ones and I think I was reading one of Articles and you mention that you like you know what do I ask right now,
some I was just on the Twitter feud yesterday I’ll try to put this in my show notes but there’s a leadership Consulting in Berkeley and she just publish something that’s like these sort of,
conversation starter pack for one-on-ones a muzzle or something I can’t remember what I put in the show it was kind of a neat idea right it’s a set of cards for the new manager.
The top kind of things attack some here kind of gives you that cuz they are like it’s a little overwhelming at first right you don’t know what to do and it’s going to have a cheat sheet,
ready your employer doesn’t need to know that are you can come in I guess I’ll take it to you make it right I think that’s his thing I try to tell my my pneumatic is everyone has an imposter syndrome right when they become kind of into you into management the first time so.
Kimber your CTO now right when you start of you said you were reluctant manager right now your C2.
What transpired there right how did you just wake up one day like I want to be CTO or this was an opportunity that just because you just fell into your lap.
[7:38] It took me about 2 or 3 weeks to fall in love with being a technology leader it was.
Such a great combination of the broad span of my interest.
Really like a technology I study computer science the excitement and progress of technology is so exciting and especially now being able to Sea-Tac applied to a health care is just.
It’s amazing on the other side the way voice.
[8:09] Really loved forming relationships with people and getting to know what makes them tick and finding creative ways to match their goals with the goals of the company.
And then as a bonus in engineering leadership you also have the opportunity to contribute to the what of what you’re building.
I’m certainly now that I have a product management in my scope but even when I was running an engineering team with a separate product team there was.
There’s an opportunity to have a real say in in what we’re doing and have active decisions about what’s ultimately,
not the right solution or the right thing for the person that were serving it so I found those three ingredients at together I was a great match for me.
[8:54] And a lot of people view like their goal as an interim manager will come to see people during one day right you know what.
Cottonwood the steps you my guide some of my listeners on who are managers today that have a goal to be a BB gun earring in three four five six years right, what do you think of the top things to start working on now to help preparing for the.
[9:15] That’s great question and I think there’s a couple pieces are important and everyone is starting to just look ahead more so you know I think is is a new manager and somebody kind of you know as an engineer you’re awesome free heads down.
[9:29] And there’s a new manager maybe transitioning from being an engineer you’re still kind of in that same mindset of being heads down thinking about how to you help your team how do you help your people and I think part of it is starting to lift your head up a little bit and starting to think.
[9:43] Okay what is our team need to do over the next three months was our team need to do over the next 6 months.
[9:49] What’s our team look like a year from now 2 years from now and really starting to to think ahead and.
[9:56] About how it all fits together and then taking that part right in thinking about how does that fit into the business more broadly how does that fit into your marketing efforts how can.
[10:06] All of these different pieces start to fit together actually form a cohesive vision of the business and I think that it was really important to start.
[10:14] Thinking about that really be the intersections of.
[10:18] Team the team team to let you know I’m outside of your department all those pieces I think that’s that’s kind of the core that I would never really say.
Becomes important I think it does require to sort of starting to pull your head up a little bit and taking further ahead.
[10:33] I like that analogy.
[10:35] When I first became a director I actually got feedback in my in my review cycle you need to be more strategic.
And so I went to bed with a guy I don’t know what it means to be more strategic I feel pretty strategic,
and I went and I asked a bunch of engineering leaders but I knew what being strategic might mean it turns out it was almost exactly what Stewart just described it was the process of thinking a little bit,
across a longer time span or more broadly across the company in the Strategic vision and and I had been thinking that way but I hadn’t been articulating my thoughts to other people and so my.
[11:22] The way that I addressed that feedback was to start sharing this is where this organization is going,
in 6 months on a regular basis with my peers of end with my leadership team.
[11:33] Excellent point. I think that’s one of the things I try to coach my up-and-coming managers and directors to is to.
Help with that communication and write things down right so you can get up and talk about things but at some point as you go into cjob divisionary you have to start giving,
that kind of vision both to the executive team and sometimes to the board of directors if you’re raising money you might have to actually execute that Vision represent the vision to the two,
2pcs so I think that’s one of the great point to write it down and share it I am getting very used to the fact that I mean we all are third of Engineers.
And I was darn, the hard way to that night but I want to just do the work I have been such as doing the work of communicating the work you’re doing and the work that you’re going to be doing and why you’re doing that work right all the comes important.
I think it’s very interesting I have two people in Organization for the DP of Engineering in the CTO no different organizations and different,
places have those rolls do slightly different things right so.
Kimber me to just ask what do you view as I kind of separation of Duties like what do you do in databases of the seat show and Stewart you know maybe what does he do more as if you have engineering and what’s the demarcation of the rolls here at one Medical.
[12:48] That’s a great question I’m CTO is one of I think the least well-defined jobs it happens to be at one medical to mean.
Overseeing all of the groups related to technology.
So I rely on Stewart to be the direction Setter and thought leader around technology,
around and participating in the product Vision around how we are going to build a great technology team and get everybody headed in the same direction we have,
VP of product that helps.
Push forward at the product roadmap to find that he is in charge of the PM team and then ultimately my job is to kind of pull it all together.
Given our company has so many varying rules we have doctors we have people in real estate we have operations if it ends up being.
Exciting to figure out how to have our technology team interface effectively with all of those other varying functions.
[14:03] And your VP of product reporting to you it’ll medical to write okay how do you how do you define your job or just her to mention some things done today today if your dad said hey this is my rolls of TP engineering today.
[14:15] Yeah I’m asking if the roll is an engineering manager maybe the start is is empowering their team and blocking and tackling things that might stumble their team.
[14:25] I’m so high level you know that’s what I think of is my role to be in a more specific I think that you know I’m trying to look out at our.
[14:35] The business and understand where do we need to be to be you no more more successful.
[14:41] And how does that translate into the like actual things were building how does that translate into.
[14:48] Yeah the thing that we need built in 3 years what are we building today how does the piece of rebuilding today built on top of itself and then top of the self until we finally get to that.
[14:58] That we want to be pretty far out there for me.
[15:02] I tried to encourage and facilitate and empower the team in a lot of ways to think about those problems in that way.
[15:12] So while I may have my own opinions on how we should do it or what we should build or the technology choices I really try hard to empower the team to make those decisions.
You know they’re the ones that are building at they’re the ones that are going to have to live with the.
Decisions we make on a daily basis and so I really work in a very hard to have them.
[15:34] Take us to understand a contact is often a lot broader the weather thinking about.
[15:40] Sure there different schools of thought stew with the concept of.
The product organization and the engineering organization under one umbrella right and I’ve done both myself right and what in your opinion what are the pros and cons of doing it either way.
[15:59] Yeah I think.
[16:02] First of all the giveaway by bias here I am a big fan of products product management engineering and design feeling like and being part of the same team.
In fact the way that we talk about the team at one medical is the product development team not the engineering team or the product management team.
And I think as a whole what this does is put everybody working towards the same set of goals.
[16:35] Which function has their own decision making a sword.
Ultimately product management is going to figure out the order in which we should prioritize things design is going to figure out what the experience should look and act like.
I’m in engineering is going to make the ultimate say on how long something is going to take and how it will be implemented.
I find some of the best work we do is when people,
go outside of their box a little bit and then participate with the other functions as thought partners and we find it we get more of that when people feel like part of the same team adults are all chartered in the same direction.
[17:19] The downside to this is is is the argument of healthy tension which says by having people who are.
[17:28] There’s a stand up for the business or the user or reducing Tech debt and I really advocating for that then you get this really great results.
[17:42] Actually believe that.
When you have individuals who come inside themselves are feeling the tension between those different outcomes and then those individuals can work together effectively and collaboratively that’s actually when you get the better results.
I’m going to have people feeling tension,
between each other. Just makes it not all that much fun to go to work and when we can be collaborative and wrestle with trade-offs and that’s what we do to me.
[18:15] And then you become the final arbiter.
[18:18] Right I mean it does happen occasionally I think.
One of the things that makes me really lucky and I’m really enjoying my job is that I’m in working with Stuart and and the other leaders in the group.
Very rarely happens.
We’re able to work together to collaboratively to reason through most things and come to come to really good.
Conclusions I don’t often have to say,
alright here’s how the argument is going to be settled at that being said having the ability to do that within an organization can help make us a little bit more productive I’ve certainly been an organization’s where all of those decisions that had to go up to the CEO and that was.
[19:06] That takes time because I need you to see how is usually traveling busy and it takes all that you need to really be able to make decisions and move on and I think that’s that’s one of the important things and I mentioned in previous show think they showed one of the.
Hallmark sitting the most successful CEOs and companies are one that was able to make decisions quicker didn’t matter which ones they made which A or B but just that they made one and moved on.
And then obviously looked at it and see if that was the right one then pivoted if needed right but those are always important things but I agree with you as well I had a product manager.
Working for me before work I think my engineering team didn’t want to let down the product manager more than the engineering manager right they form that touch type on then and she was such a.
Awesome leader without.
HR leadership point that you know that you know she just takes you to like working to get this done or teamwork I’m just trying to Captain this the ship and it really worked out very well.
[20:02] So you recently Kimber there’s an article that you were involved in and it was called under the hood calibrating technical teams with a simple shift right want to spend a little bit of this episode of talking about that,
so in the first priority took bug use Centric teams right so it give me the definition of what does that mean for you and was it mean for than one Medical.
[20:23] Cursive writing and think about us splitting out work team so within a technology organization.
So as an industry we’ve pretty much standard. Standardized on the ideas of small teams or pods or scrum teams,
whatever you want to call them involving a product manager a handful of Engineers and then perhaps it designer or two based on what the team might be working,
the question then becomes how do you think about dividing up those teams once you become big enough to have more than two or three teams along which lines do you split them,
and that while,
there’s been a lot of debate and I think some conclusions around do you split them out by technology or layer of the sac probably not.
There hasn’t been as much conversation around how you think about dividing us across a stack teams.
What we’ve done is focused not on the part of the product not this pager that page.
But rather on the use case or the experience that we’re supporting so most of our teams actually have the word experience in their name.
Member experience a provider experience with that allows our team members to do is to really.
Attach themselves to a a Persona if you will so whether it’s our doctor’s or whether it’s our patients having the ability to really get to know the person that they’re they’re serving.
[21:53] And then it also makes some of the prioritization decisions within a team a little bit more straightforward because we have a consistent set of stakeholders to work Watson understand their values.
[22:04] No you have you ever get into the point where their dependencies between teams on certain items.
[22:09] We try to reduce dependencies between teams as much as possible it happens only occasionally,
I’m in the way we reduce it is that we staff each of the teams with the,
skill sets for the area that that were Staffing Suffolk sample on our provider experience team we need to have some folks that are also back in the middle tier focus and we need to have some some front-end experts and and we we.
[22:37] Balance the ratio over time.
[22:40] Are your teams fully durable like store today can people shift from one of the other and how does that process work.
[22:48] Yeah it may be either try to stick two teams versus tables possible we’ve never built relatively long living teams or not creating a new team every month the recorder on the Fly.
And you’ve got our provider team remember team.
And yeah so yeah we look at we do before planning at academic orderly level.
We look to understand what the needs are of the teams and the projects are upcoming what the desires of the people are.
[23:20] Happy when their careers who are like you know I’ve.
I figured this back in thing out I want to do front end things now and I think you know in building a successful organization right you want to have people working on things are passionate about.
I just mean that they’re not going to be some bugs days for they’re having to work through things that nobody wants to work through but but at a high level you know we want to have people working on the things that are exciting for them where they are learning I wear their.
Able to have the impact they want to have and I think if you can get you know as much alignment on things like that as possible then you build a really successful team.
[23:55] I just add that we value team stability and we also value individual Mobility.
And those two things sometimes Collide but what we find is as a rapidly growing team if we buy us ever so slightly towards team stability,
we’re going to end up with plenty of opportunities for folks to move around as it becomes The Logical next step for the.
[24:17] Sure enduring career progression and coaching sessions right where they want to go you can take that into mine as well.
[24:24] In the article you mentioned.
Numerous times about orgasm sign or process right and there’s a quote from the article says I’ve discovered that will it’s fun to solve engine machine technical problems people are even more interesting,
write anything and I agree with that because I think people get caught up especially in technology rules and talk about you you lean on your technical background so much,
and it kind of put that or designed to be maybe there is no door design it’s right but really A reactive.
Concept about organizations instead of proactive so tell me a little bit up. Did you talk about what is that organ organization design and how important it is for you and when building and scaling a technical team.
[25:04] Organization design and to the same extent process design is is not so different from evaluating a technical design there is no Perfect Design.
Is the set of trade-offs that you can identify between an orc that is divided up by experience versus an organization that splits of teams based on the part of the product,
I’m in as long as we pick that intentionally based on what we want to optimize for as an organization at this stage and develop.
Then we’re doing it right and I find that it’s it’s healthy to remember,
but it is never going to be perfect and one of the worst things you can do for an organization is be overly reactive,
to the Natural trade-offs of the org design that you’ve selected you see a failure mode in companies where they reorg as business units and then they actually in the Navy work again his business units,
that’s a distraction from a ultimately trying to do and when you’re trying to do something as important as what we’re trying to do at one Medical,
we tried to fix this big complicated Healthcare System it’s important that we don’t get distracted in moving people back and forth just to experience the opposite side of trailer.
[26:21] Sure and at what point or what’s growth phase of an organization when they’re starting out who your small startup when do you really have to start thinking about who maybe I should start thinking about oranges on instead of all these people like in a 10 by 10 room.
[26:34] Up to three or four teams that one medical team being about five engineers and then it at that time.
We actually had I punted I punted making this decision we had teams,
working on different things but there wasn’t a particular logic to which type of project went on which team in fact we we labeled the team with color names so as to what to put,
because we didn’t know yet I mean what happened is over adding a few more engineers and a couple of quarters it became very clear.
What types of projects were merging and how we ultimately wanted to split up those teams and we were able to do it again in a very intentional way so,
is there a phases when you’re not going to know exactly it is okay to have it temporary or design while you,
make a switch from everybody’s in the same room and can understand what each other or working on all the way to we need to start to have some real structure,
around where responsibilities fly.
[27:43] I know you mentioned at this poor guy at this point in time right what what is your Caden cycle for hey let’s step back evaluate is this right for us now is that quarterly is that yearly you want me what you think dirty involved in that way.
[27:57] Yeah I mean I think it you know we have conversations certainly quarterly we’re looking at you know the beat new people coming into the team.
The new projects that have come in new business priorities technical hurdles that if you had jumped into the middle of the road.
It’s okay you know for us it’s it I’d say it’s a constant dialogue we’re looking at the changes we want to make we’re forecasting out you know what we need to make today what do you need to make a week from now and we need to make it the quarter Ballantrae.
[28:26] And how do we think this falls together at you know at the end of the year we know where we’re in January now what does this look like in December you know we.
[28:34] After we’ve grown and we want to make more changes how we think about it we’re probably wrong right now and we were thinking about it but you know by having kind of a constant dialogue about it I think we did we will continue to iterate and changes you know there’s some more way to how we develop software.
[28:48] I actually think of it a whole lot like the product participation process so you know within the next quarter pretty much exactly what you’re going to do.
You know then the next 6 to 9 months more or less directionally where teams are going to be headed.
And then as you get further out than that it’s a big can sexual directions.
So we actually if you work design very similar to that where you know we know exactly where each individual is going to be for the rest of this quarter we know where new hires are likely to come in,
I’m going to take it further out into the year more things can change and so we leave it a little bit more vague and then is Stewart said we have,
a continuous conversations as a that gets closer to determine exactly how I think it should work.
[29:34] And one of the things I was reading the article.
You’re talking about your divorce crumbs in your check-ins and they’re not officially run by a scrum Master right to tell me about that process meat you can going back to these kind of use Centric teams how do you go about that product development process end with all of you,
and you had a product or working together.
[29:55] Each of the individual teams while there’s not a formal scrum master.
And we do have people from product management and Engineering that participate in leading the team we keep it.
I’ve been in organizations before where the scrum master was always an engineer and that was the template for a team.
Or the product manager was always the person driving the team forward.
And I found is that there’s a certain amount of structure that makes sense to make consistent within teams but there’s also a lot of variability in the individuals that make up teams themselves and what their streaks and weaknesses are.
We have a certain interface if you will that we expect teams to subscribe to,
you need to have a person who runs you’re planning meetings you need to do a stand up everyday those kinds of things but beyond that we want to give room for a retrospective to do its work.
We want to give teams the.
Flexibility that they need in order to implement better ideas I’m so as long as long as people are more or less hitting the major parts of the process we are not overly picky about how they self organize.
[31:07] Sure and you also mention accountabilities check-ins so kind of what is that and you said they’re open to the whole company very transparent so give me a little bit about the the check-ins and and how that works near exist.
[31:19] It’s a meeting aptly called what’s Happening we do check ins with each of the teams the very short.
The attention that you know we know maker versus manager time and we do not want to pull all of the engineers into a multi hour check in and out a weekly or monthly basis I’m at the same time.
At we want to be able to work with the teams as a whole so I don’t want to have to play telephone and give the product manager feedback about their update which then they,
will share with the engineers with,
comes back up to the truck is not a good a good transparent dialects so anybody is allowed to come to these these there now 20 minute check-ins every other week we got little big to do them every 20 minutes seconds every other week,
and at leadership and anyone in the room can ask questions of the team.
And then product managers engineers and designers all speak to the projects that they’re working on.
[32:17] Okay okay did you Dimension engineer speak to or yes okay kind of together based upon the team that they’re in there.
[32:23] Face the project isn’t so the project is more in definition face been in development Phase 2 product manager.
Once it’s in progress the engineer will speak to it and again this is about having a shared responsibility for the outcome of the team.
If you ask all of the questions to the product manager you end up with Engineers But ultimately don’t feel accountable for what they’re creating and that doesn’t create the type of Team environment that we’d like to have.
[32:56] No the awesome accountability is is huge is with us at we do dinner quite check in but when we do our product demos it’s very important for us here to that the product manager and the engineer.
Co doing that demo right you know it’s going to fall apart which hopefully doesn’t you know you want everyone to survive.
Prepared like this is very serious this is a demo for doing and we record them so we can help to give it to sales or product support or even Executives if they can if they can’t make that as well.
You’ll see another article which one to touch on which I think.
It kind of it’s one of those topics that you know guess everyone’s blood boil a little bit right it said dad Vines like urgency or should I say you know fake urgency and you should have talked about purpose versus currency and.
You know what that’s about it we’ve all been there we have to make this deadline and you’re like well why.
What is the deadline it runs like well that sucks and then talk to you tomorrow as you started and ended it like shift so it wasn’t very important the first place and now you have a bunch of burnout cranky engineer.
Which is never fun.
Hunting from experience been one in Madison what is that mean for you this concept of purpose versus urgency iron in one defining the other.
[34:12] That article really took off and it was interesting I there were certainly some responses that reflected didn’t quite understand the nuances I was trying to say.
[34:25] In a lot of comments do I read the articles like while there’s a whole lot, can you work as entertaining as the order is interesting is Article 2.
[34:31] So I want to be clear that it it’s important.
To move fast it hit business calls this is not advocating a lifestyle of fixing every piece of technical that are on the way and having perfect architecture that’s never going to.
[34:49] At the same time though it’s many organizations to fall into this trap of trying to artificially create,
a sense of urgency through things like deadlines or you know CEO coming over every single day to explain exactly how important this thing is that actually isn’t even on the priority list yet.
And doesn’t end up having the effect of making people want to go faster.
Or at least it doesn’t over the long-term and one of the things that we’ve work,
really hard I’m at it when medical and then we will continue to work work on up for the rest of the rest of the life of is creating that.
[35:35] Desire to go fast and meet goals not through artificial urgency but instead through understanding our own purpose,
it’s motivating to try to fix a problem for a patient or try to fix a doctor’s worth workflow that’s annoying them.
And so I’d rather have people up put in the extra effort because they really understand the why of what they’re doing.
Rather than trying to create that extra effort to urgency I still remember.
[36:05] I want Teddy deadline I’m on a billboard the company or brexit of billboard on 101.
I that had the date that I was going to ship this new thing six months out and of course we did not hit that.
We worked really really hard but we didn’t make it turns out the same person who authorized the billboard put a countdown clock in the engineering section of the company for.
And it needs to say this was hardly inspirational.
[36:39] And so as we’ve had the opportunity to design the way we think about deadlines it at that one medical weave weave.
Shifted the focus if there is a deadline and sometimes there are deadlines you can’t get away from deadlines there real deadlines in the healthcare industry sometimes there’s a regulatory deadline.
[36:57] Yeah those are the worst he absolutely.
[36:59] By not using artificial deadlines and artificial urgency were able to kind of aligned around real deadlines when they exist and make sure that we had them.
[37:11] Sure and stirred given say maybe a deadline that’s that’s sort of hands down what.
Tools to remove you have if you have engineering who’s supposed to be really Advocate two of your of your engineers how do you I don’t say push back right but how do you say well.
This doesn’t maybe this isn’t going to fly right what were the tools you have in your Arsenal to kind of manage up when you’re presented with something that maybe you don’t quite agree with your team just can’t hit.
[37:41] Yeah man think you know often it boils down to Broad company priorities I think there’s a lot of detail usually missing on what parts are actually necessary to run something into.
[37:54] You know I would often chase down a lot of questions around.
[37:59] Parts of this are truly necessary for the deadline really getting into the details of of the requirements.
[38:08] You know this is something that needs to be stood up for the Long Haul is it something that we just need to deliver tomorrow and it can fall over the next day you and you can take different approaches.
[38:18] But yeah I think really.
[38:20] Coming to you as an engineer I wouldn’t understand the the Y right like why is this important meeting if you come to me and it’s like.
[38:28] Hey the company is going to go out of business tomorrow and that’s real and.
[38:33] You know if we don’t deliver on this thing then like I’m and I’m here and I’m passionate about the company then like I’m going to be behind that I’m going to want to go do it.
[38:41] You know if the deadlines made up I have been.
[38:44] That’s that’s a terrible terrible way to look at into your for me and my role you know I would really try to understand but the why why is there a deadline here.
You know what is necessary to deliver for that deadline.
[38:58] What about her dad are there Alternatives can we do something different we have we gone back and actually talked about this deadline can we move it and all those different pieces and then you know if it is real than I think.
[39:10] Trying to lay out you know what is the best way for us to get there how do we break the problem down into.
[39:17] Chunks of the team can feel okay about looking to see whether.
[39:22] Does chunks then lead to real believe that we will deliver or we won’t send you know if we do all the math and we look at it with you it’s fuzzy estimates as Engineers can can give more than maybe 12 hours out.
[39:36] And it doesn’t look real then like you know I’m going to go back and communicate that they like like the team says no way right we’re.
He used to ask for this to be delivered in 4 weeks and the team says this is going to take 20 weeks.
It just doesn’t fit in the box and so you don’t want to hit those early I have those conversations and you try to see what we what we can do.
[39:58] Is it in your sense of purpose I think is really important a specific example here we had an issue.
Where there’s a problem with Summer a software application and it was.
The issue is preventing certain people from actually being released from from a correctional facility right so it was her came back and said well these are the people.
That are sitting here in this detention center and it’s Friday afternoon.
If you don’t fix this they’re going to jail for 3 days that they didn’t have to be right and that was kind of a way that really rather those people are you going to put that humanizing face at the customer like this is a real problem you can go home and you can have dinner with your family are you off the weekend these people going to be locked up,
and it really shouldn’t be and it’s up. Tell Tim to get out,
right now I think and that’s something that really drives again that purposive okay yeah I will stay late we’ll do what we will do what we can because they can really see and try to empathize right with that customer that use case.
[40:52] Most people want to put extra effort into something that they care about.
So we can’t ask them to do it all the time and we don’t want to ask them to do it all the time but when it’s important and we can all understand why there’s this.
Wonderful sense of meaning that comes from being able to put in put in the extra effort at the right moments in and make something happen I’m certainly in healthcare.
Sometimes purposes is easy it’s a patient they’re not feeling well they could be feeling better.
But other times in healthcare purposes a little bit more roundabout this is a regulatory requirement we need to hit in order to be able to say operate in Seattle.
[41:35] Continue the business.
[41:37] It’s not quite the same heart jerking,
kind of purpose but none the less there is a real why there there’s an opportunity of associated with was doing that work and an ultimately people understand how to design their effort if they knew what.
[41:57] Absolutely that we are in a very heavily regulated industry to and,
effect of Bane of my existence is star you have this great product it is you want to do so I will know you have to change the wording on you know 3000 web pages or something ridiculous because it’s someone change the law and 52 states 50 states I do now.
Political boundaries I just want to transition a little bit Kimber the CTO one Medical,
right you know I think we just you know very good Pinnacle of kind of leadership role and Technology organization and you know what.
Do you recommend for see other women in technology to,
you know try to help out also in advancing cells in leadership roles in the technology industry that were in.
[42:43] I think.
Bingo City was great it may not be exactly the right career path for everyone so one of the things that I think is is most important is that technology jobs of all kinds are.
Objectively pretty awesome jobs.
We get to do really interesting and engaging work for the most part the pay is generally good and so to not have.
Representation from a good portion of the population in those jobs.
Theme right and there’s so many good initiatives coming out to help women who maybe didn’t decide on this career path the first time around to give it a go and also a mentorship programs,
at that helps women in other underrepresented populations who are an engineering rolls figure out how to get to whatever their goal is of the next level.
In general is a couple of of things that are.
At that I recommend for people who are interested in growing their leadership career no matter who they are one is be part of a company that’s growing.
[44:01] When a company is reasonably stagnant there’s competition for the next management role,
but when a company is growling sometimes we have to pull people up who aren’t quite ready or a little reluctant like I was into into management roles than and that can be,
the Whirlwind of of really great opportunities the other thing is to put yourself in the shoes of your team leader.
So your job is to do your job and do your job really well but in addition to that what are the considerations of.
[44:40] Your team manager considerations of your team team manager what are their priorities what are the three brought her business priorities and what can you do when your roll to help push the company forward.
Boys Easter joke that I was my managers at co-leader and I think there’s some power to that Viewpoint and it it it helps you to see.
I think you encounter on a daily basis from a different sort of perspective.
[45:10] And is there any other things that you can recommend engineering leaders out there today to help their organizations become you know more accommodating for people of underrepresented groups in technology.
[45:23] There’s two things one is in the interview process one thing to take very seriously it would medical is if it if feedback comes in that stereotypical of a certain group.
[45:34] What are you going to do with that weed we need to ignore it because we can’t tell whether it’s real or not real.
And it’s best practice just to disregard that and make the best decision we can base under vest of the data.
That’s one thing a second thing is that you have to put.
Active effort in to looking for diverse candidates so you can’t just Source the way you source and expect to find a diverse candidate pool so we do a lot of.
Asking asking are we actually got this great virtuous cycle where when we get internal referrals they’re coming from a diverse team and then we get a,
the first set of internal referrals so we’re able to to leverage that but even before you have that asking people for candidates in their net,
are are great Engineers from a variety of different backgrounds can be one really good way to go.
And then the last one is if you if you want to solve the peg app.
[46:43] I hate people the same and it’s amazing how people.
Quite get that and then while you know we will pass this law that doesn’t allow it.
[46:56] Doesn’t allow us to ask previous compensation we still see a lot of comp expectations that are rooted in previous, and you just can’t do that if if you want to.
If you want to have a fair and equal organization.
[47:10] Absolutely absolutely.
Now it doesn’t even like to ask, I guess two is any recommendations you have whether it’s conferences or books or anything else from each of you that,
you would recommend for me be new or existing engineering managers or something that really stood out from you on your path to being an engineering leader that start with u.
[47:33] We just worked through isn’t 12 months of last year all of the managers and the tech team at 1 Medical just work through the 12 elements of great managing.
Which is 12 part review of of what set of surveys.
The date of back to review of what what part of management makes someone great great an effective in that role.
What was really need about that as we’ve been through that as a group and we are able to have two scussion son each of those 12 elements them and it’s an exercise I’d rather I’d recommend to other leadership teams to take on.
I also love the book multipliers I think it does a great job of setting expectations for what we should strive to achieve as leaders.
[48:20] Stuart nothing specific for you to stand out.
[48:23] Yeah I mean I see you’re one of the books I’ve read recently I was actually written by friends of my former co-workers at colleagues at Mozilla called how f’d up is your management.
[48:35] Probably pretty.
[48:36] And you know what it does is it tells a lot of stories of things that the both of them did as managers that were just messed up.
[48:45] And why they’re messed up and how they’ve learned from those mistakes.
[48:49] And your is gives a lot of very real example of a lot of I remember you know is over that time. United States.
[48:59] Just bring the realness to it it’s not a message at the guide on your here best practices were here the other things but like here is an actual thing that I as a manager did and here’s why I was a terrible mistake.
And here’s how how to learn from it so I think that’s a that book is really good.
[49:15] And for the listeners I’ll make sure I get those.
Booksin and put them in the show notes so if you go to simple ownership. I hope you can find those resources under this particular show that can restore any last hors d’oeuvre comments or anything else you want to come to add to the topics we discussed today.
[49:35] It’s been tremendously fun to have this conversation together with you of one of our values is a team is that engineering and and products at work together.
Big able to do this as a Duo and and hear your perspective it has been has been wonderful thank you.
[49:53] So it’s fantastic I really enjoy myself and it’s been very informative to myself as well Stewart Kimber thank you very much both for coming on the show this afternoon very much appreciate you coming on thank you.