Slides for LeadDev SF 2022 – Having an impact beyond your team without hurting your day job

Want a PDF with the slides and speaker notes? Here you go.

Want to see the slides in this page? Keep reading!

Edit: After giving this talk a lot of folks asked about the images in my deck. I painted them with watercolors (mostly while watching TV after the kids went to bed). It was really fun, and was actually far easier for me to capture the visual I intended than building out line art or working with clip art. I recommend it!

What was this talk? On October 26, I gave this talk to LeadDev San Francisco:

Influencing organizational change without hurting your day job: a playbook

We live and work in a world of continual improvement, whether we’re improving our software, our development practices, or our company policies. As leaders, we often have the freedom to suggest improvements in our team processes, but what do you do when the friction is at a broader level? Perhaps you need to work with other organizational leaders, or partner with Human Resources. Perhaps you’re proposing something for every engineer or every employee. Perhaps you can think of something you’d like to change at your company right now!

In order to succeed, you’ll need to influence others at every step of the way: sharing your vision, aligning on a plan, and following through. Influencing without authority means not relying on personal traits like:
• Your level or role position in your company hierarchy, or
• Your tenure and expertise about your organization.

Those traits can help contribute to the beginning of a process change, but they will not get you to the finish line, and you don’t need any of them to be successful.

What you need is a playbook! You will learn how to successfully navigate each part of the process:
• Validating your hypothesis about the problem, • Gaining sponsorship to safely add this to your workload,
• Interviewing stakeholders to help you develop the right solution,
• Enrolling allies so that you’re not alone, • Following through with a great communication strategy,
• Monitoring your other priorities along the way, triaging as you go, and
• Being recognized for your efforts after meeting milestones.

By the end of this talk, you’ll be able to form a plan to influence change beyond the scope of your team, leading to better outcomes for yourself and your peers. You’ll also avoid the pitfalls of over-indexing on broad impact while ignoring your other responsibilities.