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Engineering leaders are not just responsible for the deliverable success of their team, they’re also responsible for how effectively they communicate.

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In organizations where there are multiple teams working cross functionally, this can be particularly difficult. How can leaders encourage and support their teams in bettering their communication skills? And how can the prioritization of this be balanced with the technical development of engineers?

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Episode 1: Building the tools for cross-team communication

This conversation centered around effective cross-team and remote communication, with our panelists – Bruce Wang (Director of Engineering at Netflix), Michael Winslow (Senior Director, Software Development & Engineering at Comcast), and Gayathri Thiyagarajan (Senior Engineering Manager at Expedia) – and moderator – Laura Czajkowski (Developer Relations Manager at Vonage) – discussing their own experiences of implementing best practices.

During this discussion, our panelists explored:

  • Learnings from the past year in terms of successful remote communication
  • Challenges of moving from co-located to remote working
  • Tools for cross-team collaboration
  • Blocks to working across teams
  • Ensuring team members across time zones feel involved remotely

Episode 2: Shaping engineering leadership through letting go

Sook Meng Muk focuses on autonomy in this article, explaining how when engineering leaders step back and allow teams to flourish, better collaboration and delivery can be achieved. Meng looks at this framework of autonomy through shared principles, leadership and communication skills for teammates, exposing networks, a product mindset, and defining clear objectives.

Episode 3: Using communication frameworks to become a better engineering leader

In this article, Markus Tacker weighs up the development of technical skills and the myth of the full stack developer against the development of communication skills and their impact on engineering leaders. He dives into several frameworks that he has used for improving his communication skills, including non-violent communication, the core protocols, and the four-sides model.

Episode 4: A leader’s guide to fostering effective cross-team collaboration

Lena Reinhard covers the following topics in this article:

  • Creating an environment where collaboration can take place organically 
  • Supporting objectives, initiatives, projects, and tasks that require involvement from several teams 
  • Taking on an organizational issue or improvement area that doesn’t have a clear solution but may need cross-team involvement

She guides the reader in depth through laying the groundwork for effective cross-team collaboration, discussing where to invest in the process and where to invest in the team in order to build and optimize for a successful culture of communication.

Final thoughts

In order for engineering teams to establish effective communication within their own teams and cross-functionally, it is clear from the advice in this series that engineering leaders must prioritize the implementation of structured processes and frameworks.

By laying the foundations of how teams should collaborate with each other, engineering leaders are ensuring that teammates have shared best practices that enable them to minimize blockers, reduce internal friction, and allow themselves and the org’s engineering velocity to flourish.

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A leader's guide to fostering effective cross-team collaboration
Episode 04 A leader's guide to fostering effective cross-team collaboration
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