Peter is out of the squad on principle

“We’re going to do a little desk shuffling,” said my manager. “The [Foo] squad are going over there by the big windows, and the [Bar] squad will be here so they can collaborate more easily with the [Baz] platform squad.”

“Great. That makes sense. Should I stay here too?” I said.

“I don’t think so. You’re probably better off working more closely with [Bob] and [Paula] in the [special architecture silo area]. What do you think?”

When this happened to me, I suddenly felt lost. For the first few weeks, all of my niggling concerns about becoming a Non Squad Affiliated Tech Leader had been papered over as I continued to help one squad deliver a big migration, and so sat near them to do so.

But when I physically moved away, and we officially enshrined the New Squad Structure with desk moves, I realised that everything was new again.

Although it didn’t come with a job title straight away, I was to be responsible for front-end development across multiple product teams.

Up to then, I had become very used to a few ways of working. In a cross-functional agile team. Weekly or two-weekly iterations. Some cocktail of practices and rituals from Scrum, kanban, XP and lean. Working on heads-down collaboration with designers, product managers, developers, researchers and testers.

Becoming a tech lead within a single team like that wasn’t such a big stretch.

But this was different. I was now leading practices across multiple teams. Whatever that meant. How does that even work?

I immediately felt out of my depth. Was this going to be a classic case of The Peter Principle in action? How would I even start? Was I an architect now?

Answers to some of these questions and others you never asked tomorrow, as I continue the tale of… The Reluctantly Promoted Front End Dev (title needs some work).

All the best,

– Jim

*Names are changed for the protection of the innocent.

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