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Balancing Engineering Alignment with Autonomy

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    Written By Lauren Lang

    In a recent Medium post, Francisco Trindade, VP Engineering at Braze, makes a bold statement: "Focus is a leadership problem."

    His point begs some interesting questions: How does leadership influence engineering productivity? How should engineering leaders balance the often competing priorities of alignment with business value and team autonomy?

    Francisco shares how he thinks about complex problems and has found actionable solutions in his talk with Uplevel CEO Joe Levy: 


    Key Takeaways

    1. Effective engineering leadership requires not just technical skills but also a focus on team dynamics, communication, and project framing to enhance productivity:

    "I've never seen a team fail because the engineers didn't know how to write the correct code, but I've seen many teams struggle because they didn't communicate well."

    2. Writing about problems in engineering management can provide clarity of thought and serve as a valuable resource for future problem-solving:

    "We're still talking about the same problems over and over again. Guess what? I wrote about it two years ago. That has helped me be more efficient because I can say, I can point you to this document that I wrote that is exactly about this problem."

    3. Scaling agile methodologies in large organizations requires giving autonomy to teams, aligning them with organizational goals, and accepting some level of misalignment as a trade-off for flexibility and adaptiveness:

    "You align people on teams and goals, and then you give a certain level of autonomy... It's just the result of that mix but that still leaves space for people innovating and finding problems themselves and proposing solutions."

    4. Newly promoted engineering leaders should focus on understanding their team's goals, becoming experts in their team's work process, and identifying bottlenecks to improve efficiency and alignment:

    "Become an expert in your team's work... really become an expert on the problem, on the delivery end to end."

    Follow Francisco Trindade on Medium.

    Uplevel is the system of decision for engineering leaders. Gain a holistic view of your organizational effectiveness with hard-to-surface insights on technical performance, team performance, and time allocation. Want to prove how Uplevel works with your team’s data? Schedule a demo today.