WA 2020 #1: Figure Things Out

A teammate came back from his business trip to a remote office in Asia. I found that I've missed him.

Let's call him T.  T is the one I talk the most at work, and he's the one who has interesting topics. My work days were quiet while he was traveling. And that's over.

T traveled to talk to the people below the tech stack. I and T have been talking about adding some corner-cutting private API across the stack for performance optimizations, but we knew too little about the lower layer to make it happen. So the goal of his trip was to figure the plan out with the team who know the needed details.

T went there because this is his project. At the same time, he went there on my behalf because it's also my project. Precisely speaking, it is still not a proper project with substantial commitment, but we want to make it real. T took action for that while I didn't.

T figured it out, but he probably wouldn't make it, that is, he probably wouldn't write any code for that. That's likely to be my part.

That's because ... T is a manager, specifically a TL-M. A tricky part is that he's not my manager. He did the legwork not because his reportees needed it but because he thought it was important for hitting bigger goals, for which I'm also responsible.

I feel bad for him - Probably I should've traveled instead of him, or at least we should've gone together. Or he should be able to work on the whole project by himself. The talk-code separation invites bureaucracy. I hate it, but I realized I just did call it.

I've been frustrated by my lack of the action, but I'm almost giving it up. Why do I have to depend on him? Why does he have to depend on me? Why cannot we pursue these technical challenges from the beginning to the end by each of ourselves?

This question can be easily answered in a way that critics do. But I would reject that. It's just a noise unless being actionable. I'll figure it out. Meanwhile, T has a bumper-sticker message in the intranet profile page. It says: Figure Things Out.