After a year and a half at my current job, I’ve started to do something different over the past couple months. Whenever I get the chance, I try to chat with engineers from other teams. It may seem obvious, but in the course of these casual conversations, I’ve learned a lot about how other teams work within the organization and have even shared solutions between our teams to the benefit of the entire organization. Had we not taken the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with our counterparts from other product teams, we would have missed out on these shared wins.
Save for organized company meetings, developers (and really employees in any role) at companies of all sizes and layouts may not have the opportunity to organically share their ideas and work product with members of other teams. This includes anything from common components usable by many applications to best practices that could benefit multiple teams. While Slack channels and quarterly all-hands meetings help to share big-picture successes, nothing beats talk over coffee when you want to get informal exposure for your pet project before it’s ready for prime time.
Nowadays, teams might be divided by office, geolocation, and timezone, making it even harder to get to know your neighbor. Plenty of resources can help teams better manage the challenges of remote work, but the idea remains the same. This effort can pay off greatly by allowing teams to share their best ideas, even when they’re not scheduled into anyone’s quarterly goals.