Embracing Inconsistency

Humans are inconsistent and unpredictable by nature. This can come in the form of conflicting requests from upper management or from engineers who want to change teams only to want to quickly change again. Our job as leaders is to accept that fact and deal with the consequences.

This is the one of a ten-part series covering the sessions from Calibrate 2016, an engineering leadership conference held on September 30, 2016 in San Francisco.

Kallol Das is a seasoned engineering manager, having worked at several companies like Amazon and Salesforce prior to his current role as VP of Engineering at Invoice2go. According to him, one of the secrets to successful engineering management is to not waste too much time worrying that people want things that are sometimes inconsistent. We should embrace it since handling people-centric idiosyncrasies is a large part of the job.

The solution is to get a decision-making framework and to use it regularly. This doesn’t get rid of the consequences or ensure a perfect decision every time, but it will make sure you understand your own reasoning for a given decision. Kallol’s opinion is that as a leader, your biggest deliverables are your decisions.