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Leveraging Customer Problems for Better Engineering Outcomes

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    Written By Lauren Lang

    In a perfect world, Jason Yip explains, there would be no separation between engineering organizations and business stakeholders — and thus no need for alignment. In reality, however, poor engineering outcomes and loss of productivity occur when developers are too far removed from the problems they're supposed to be solving.

    Jason explains why the charter of the engineering leader is to close the gap and bring the rest of the team along for the ride in this episode of Engineering Leadership Blueprints:

    Key Takeaways

    1. Focus is about directing effort to create the most leverage, not just doing fewer things.

    "Focus isn't just do one thing rather than 10 things. It's pick the right thing that gives me the most impact for my limited effort, which is almost always less than the 10 things. The point is where."

    2. Getting engineering teams close to the problem or customer can dramatically improve problem-solving and engineering outcomes.

    "When you have a decision, you're not just thinking about right now. You're thinking about the entire loop, which doesn't mean you're perfect. Sometimes you just can't anticipate it, but at least you go, 'Oh, no, I  understand that this call has a consequence, which is not going to be someone else's consequence. It's going to be mine because I'm part of this circle of life.' 
And you make better calls."

    3. Engineers should be equipped to handle ambiguity and solve real-world problems, not just theoretical or isolated issues.

    "There's a certain skill set of being able to deal with the ambiguity of a real problem, as opposed to a lab control problem."

    4. Measuring outcomes, rather than outputs, is a more effective way to gauge the success of engineering efforts.

    "Imagine we magically completed this feature and it produced the outcome that we're looking for. How could we tell?"

    Follow Jason Yip on Medium.

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