The Real Challenge of Aligning Engineering Teams
‘Alignment' is tossed around frequently.
But I’ve long argued that alignment in practical terms remains persistently elusive, and manifests in different ways.
Misalignment takes numerous forms. Some of the most obvious include:
- Internal misalignment. On a day-to-day basis, teams aren’t on the same page about what others are up to or what problems are arising.
- Cross-departmental misalignment. Engineers are rowing in a different direction from the product team, or the front-end team is unaware of the design teams’ imminent updates that affect their work and timescales.
- Business objective misalignment. Teams pursue outdated goals, or misconstrue goals and go in a direction that doesn’t resonate with the overall strategic direction. Or, there’s a lack of awareness of direction in general.
The crux of the alignment issue lies in the inherent limitations of human communication and collaboration.
We – humans – are not naturally equipped for real-time, continuous alignment.
To compensate, we've constructed an array of systems and methods that only serve to mimic alignment:
- Synchronous Methods: Meetings and real-time discussions, while useful, often lead to immediate but not lasting alignment.
- Asynchronous Communication: Tools like emails, Teams or Slack bridge gaps in time zones and schedules but often create lags in decision-making and response.
- Systems of Record: Platforms like GitHub, Linear or Jira document progress and decisions, but they don't necessarily facilitate real-time understanding or adaptation.
These methods and systems, while crucial, inherently suffer from certain drawbacks.
When I speak with engineering leaders, it’s clear that these methods leave teams with outdated information, lacking in context and visibility.
Without deep insights into project progress, evolving customer needs, and fluid business goals, teams operate in silos, each with a different interpretation of what alignment means.
The advent of AI in of software development opens new avenues for achieving genuine alignment.
AI has the potential to transform our approach to visibility and understanding within teams. It's not just about having data; it's about having the right data, presented in a context that fosters real alignment.
The goal is to have a system that provides precise, relevant information swiftly and succinctly. Current systems fail to offer this level of clarity, often overwhelming teams with data that lacks meaning without the necessary commentary.
I summarise this as context, commentary and concision.
An AI’s ability to achieve this is the key to moving beyond the mere mimicry of alignment to achieving a state of true, dynamic alignment within development teams.
This is exactly what Stepsize AI does.
The arrival of powerful artificial intelligence has given way to a method for creating reports that are not only rich in context but also remarkably precise.
Stepsize AI monitors all activities within your issue tracking software. It leverages this data to generate concise, yet comprehensive, weekly reports. These reports strike the perfect balance between detailed context and essential information, making them both actionable and easy to understand.
When you use Stepsize AI, you’ll get:
- Automated, context-enriched reports: Each week, Stepsize AI produces reports that emphasise key metrics, presented via easily interpretable graphs and infused with essential context and commentary.
- Streamlined, accurate reporting: Experience hassle-free, precise reporting that keeps everyone informed without the need for manual intervention.
- Centralised metrics: Access all critical metrics in one unified location, with no complex setup requirements.
- Detailed project insights: Delve deeper into specific projects for a more granular view, uncovering nuances and patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed.
- Security first: You’re in control of your data, and your data’s protected. It’ll never be used to train AI.
I’m eager to hear your thoughts on Stepsize AI. Your feedback is invaluable as we refine and enhance this tool.