I’m a classically trained programmer. That means that in school, they taught me C++, Java, Lisp, and a handful of other techie stuff. There was a class which included ‘the lifecycle of applications’, but, beyond that, I’ve never been really trained in any of the softer skills associated with software engineering.
One of the things that I’ve learned in the past year is the importance of dialogue to an organization. Dialogue is the lifeblood of team work, because dialogue forms the basis for effective working relationships.
I’m an engineer, and I’m fundamentally an introvert. Most other engineers are pretty introverted too, and while my experience is anecdotal, I’m fairly certain there is no selection bias here — Engineering is a fundamentality solitary activity. I used to get approach anxiety starting conversations, especially with strangers, but I’ve come to realize one thing that’s really helped: As fundamentally social animals, we all evolved to crave connection with others. Shit, I mean it’s the 3rd tier of the Maslows Hierarchy of Human Needs Pyramid.
Startup life is filled with ups and downs. The highs are high, and the lows are low. I think the key to successful working relationships is to establish a dialogue before shit hits the fan.
I try to schedule regular conversations with everyone who I have a working relationship with. Usually weekly if we work closely, or monthly or quarterly if it’s someone just in the periphery. If you can establish a clear dialogue & division of labour at the outset, when there’s a fire to put out, there is already trust in that relationship, and so it’s much easier check your ego at the door and to operate as a team.
Just my 2 cents. Happy Friday everybody.