When you're a Senior SWE or below, you can often get away with waiting until a clear goal presents itself. You'll own details, but it's on others to present the big plan to work within.
However as a StaffEng, turning a vague project definition into a crisp plan is very much on you.
This talk distills down my own approaches (those that have worked and some that haven't) into a short set of advice. We'll discuss how to drive technical, organizational, and business clarity with techniques including:
- Defining domain clarity by framing system purpose and responsibilities
- "Identifying the highest order bit" - what question can we answer to drive the most increased clarity?
- Use mediocre solutions to spur discussion and discover even better ones
- Avoiding surprising the leaders around you by radiating intent and making decisions in public
Viewers will walk away with tools for discussing and framing unclear objectives, awareness of common failure modes, and (most importantly) techniques for turning murky projects into obvious, publicly agreed upon plans of action.