In the first part of our three-part leadership spotlight series with Director of Product Development at Abrigo Krishna Patel, we got tons of great insights on nurturing healthy relationships between the technology organization and the business suite. Naturally, we were psyched to get Krish’s perspective on interdepartmental communication and collaboration since that’s a key objective supported by the Allstacks platform. Today, we’re looking at another topic that’s essential to our Allstacks DNA: building trust.
As an experienced product leader and liaison between developers and business stakeholders, Krish shared his principles for keeping product and engineering teams and product stakeholders happy, productive, and strategically aligned. Here’s what he had to say about building trust within and across teams.
Lesson #2: Lead with delegation, autonomy, and analytics to build trust.
We asked Krish about his leadership and decision-making style and learned that, like all of us at Allstacks, he values empathy, communication, and freedom – and of course, results. But these highly prized cultural ideals don’t just happen naturally; they must be intentionally cultivated from the top down. Here are three things Krish does to help build a team culture defined by trust.
Delegate then get out of the way
The demands of nurturing a team and building a product are difficult to balance because they require two different skill sets. Every day, I think about how to maintain my team’s bond and chemistry, even as we grow, while keeping pace with my role’s technical, administrative, and managerial expectations. It just isn’t possible to try to do everything myself.
I follow a simple rule here: work with really good people. Often, the best thing I can do is hire the right person for the job and get out of the way. In this sense, it’s less the art of management and more the art of delegation. As a leader, I’ve found that their initiative, ownership, and creativity rarely disappoint when I demonstrate trust in a skilled team to follow through on responsibilities (even extremely challenging ones.)
With that said, delegation without autonomy is a recipe for stagnation and frustration.
Autonomy unlocks growth and creativity
Autonomy goes hand in hand with delegation. To get the best outcomes – and energy from a team, I’ve learned that you need to extend the freedom to solve problems as each contributor or team sees fit.
I give my people personal freedom outside of agile methodology and prescribed languages so each team member can fully access their richest skills and creativity. This provides each person with a sense of ownership over their outcomes which leads to motivation and accountability. I love seeing the ‘aha!’ moment that someone encounters on their own; the insight strikes and kicks enthusiasm, collaboration, and innovation into high gear. This definitely expressed itself when my team started co-creating the metrics that guide their work.
This brings me to the real crux of the success of my leadership style – which may surprise a lot of engineers since many revolt against “metrics” or measurements of performance.
Analytics enable delegation and autonomy
Analytics enable me to empower my team through delegation and autonomy and earn the trust of business counterparts. My goal is to ensure all contributors and stakeholders understand how we’re tracking against our shared goals and maintaining strategic alignment with other areas of the business without endless check-ins, standups, or sudden surprises.
When I can see engineering activity data in the context of business outcomes, I know what progress is being made without polling the team for status updates. I can, in turn, communicate with the business son process. Suppose there are bottlenecks, risks, or other factors that need attention, like slipping a release date. With that information, I can step in to support my team proactively rather than overwhelming them with update requests. Ultimately, speeding the time to resolution and ensuring we can get that project back on the target delivery date. I can also better communicate expectations with the business before it’s too late.
The reports I frequently use to get a pulse on where the team needs support and if we are going to hit our due dates are:
- Spot delivery forecast hitting a few days later than planned on the Portfolio Report
- Identify blocked work with the Cycle Time Histogram
- Identify risks to quality and potential process improvements with Issue Bouncebacks
- See how much work is left or being added to sprints with a Sprint Burndown Chart
Analytics like these are also powerful at the individual level. Good people inherently do good work and want to get better, and I can enable that growth by supplying tools showing their own trends.
The reports I ensure our developers and teams have access to:
- Maintain balance and continuous improvement by understanding their work patterns and trends with various code and PM activity metrics and Working Hours
- Balance the type of work they are focused on and ensure they are assigned the best work for them using Epic Focus
This is one way that Allstacks has proven incredibly useful. Each team can operate with its own set of measures and agreements aligned to our business objectives with a dashboard personalized to their team and role. Our developers see how their work directly impacts the customer motivates them to improve their personal performance, and keeps things on track.
For team members, managers like me, and business stakeholders, analytics are a win, win, win.