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My Delivery Lead Journey

10.13.2022 | Culture | Ryan Taylor

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Two years ago today, I joined Focused Labs as a software developer. It was a time where the whole company could fit inside a modest conference room and everyone was writing code for client projects. The story of our growth since then deserves its own blog series, but suffice it to say that there has been a tremendous amount of change since October 2020. The same is true for me.

Today I am announcing my transition to the Delivery Lead team, reporting to our Director of Delivery, Riley Longo. As a software practitioner for over a decade, this is a significant change for me, and I’d like to share my motivations - and why I’m excited to help launch this practice within Focused Labs.

Discovery

I have been a history nut for as long as I can remember, so I jumped at the chance to take an AP-level US History in high school. It was an engaging class (thanks, Mr. Brewer!) and I would often create study guides for myself in preparation for our tests. At some point mid-semester, I shared one of my guides with a friend. The next day, I was surprised to find copies on a number of my schoolmates’ desks! It felt great knowing that my work could help others. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this positive feedback loop would come to underpin my career as an engineer and consultant.

I entered the professional workplace over a decade ago, and during that time I’ve written software for a number of industries and learned from incredible folks - especially the experts at Focused Labs. Our clients have high expectations for our work and trust us with high-value work, and we consistently deliver working software. Nothing beats a happy stakeholder!

Delivery

Focused Labs has scaled tremendously over the past two years - there are 5x more people today than when I joined. Today, we work with world-class enterprises, innovative Web3 start-ups, pioneering restaurant groups, and everything in between. That’s a lot of working software delivered each week; enter the Delivery Lead team.

Riley joined Focused in early 2022 and quickly started making meaningful changes in our ability to deliver. She forged close relationships with our client stakeholders to ensure our teams are aligned with their goals. Using the Spotify Health Check as a guide, she gave teams a new feedback loop to invest in long-term success. Traditionally, some of these responsibilities would be divided between the project’s technical anchor, product managers, and the sales team. With an official Delivery representative, each of those folks can stay heads-down on their respective practice - and deliver like crazy!

I have anchored a number of projects at Focused Labs and discovered along the way that I feel at my best when building trusted relationships and clearing the way for my talented colleagues to deliver. Through a series of virtual coffee chats with Riley, I discovered that a move to the Delivery Lead team would give me the opportunity to perform these duties at a more strategic level for Focused Labs. When the team was officially launched this fall, I joined without hesitation!

The Future

Although it sometimes feels like I’m drinking from a firehose, my experience as a Delivery Lead thus far has reinforced my decision to step away from the practice of software development and into project leadership. Our clients are awesome, and I’ve enjoyed working closer with them to keep our teams building the highest-value software. The Focused Labs team is incredible, and I’m in awe of their ability to crush code. Our team is building processes and tools that will unlock scale, promote psychological safety, and give our teams the platform to practice their craft.

In some ways, this role is an opportunity for me to capitalize on that great feeling I got back in high school - creating value by enabling others to succeed. As much as I enjoy writing code, it’s far more satisfying for me to see our teams operate with less friction and with full confidence that they are building something that is useful and desired. I am excited for the future, and I suspect I’ll have a lot to share on my 3-year anniversary!

The Delivery Lead team is excited to offer our services! Are you interested in...

  • A team health check?
  • Working agreements for a new (or established team)?
  • Outcome-based metrics for your project?
  • A psychological safety assessment?

If so, get in touch via email or find us on LinkedIn!

--- Cover photo is my own: Flickr

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