Personal narratives and business alignment

I recently started a new job as an engineering lead at a live-ops game company. My duties include those commonly found associated with engineering management and technical lead roles, as well as a dash of project management.

Among other things, I'm responsible for:

  • the prioritization, scoping and roadmapping of work
  • the establishment of processes and best practices
  • individual and team growth
  • navigating external relationships and dependencies
  • overall quality of the technical implementation of product

In my first month I met with people on my team and around the office, and closely watched process in action. I spent time getting familiar with our codebases, and identified challenges and opportunities in process. I took on my first round of direct reports, which contributed significantly to my understanding where I could best make a difference over the next couple of months.

Having achieved a basic understanding of the state of the codebases, product, team, process, and the goals of the company, it seemed like a good time to draft a personal mission statement for the kind of work I'll be engaged with over the next year or so.

A mission statement is a summation of how your personal narrative aligns with a business narrative. I've found that a deeply held personal narrative is a powerful mechanic in helping drive daily behaviours, which is key for affecting change. A mission statement is also an easy way to tell if you're finding alignment with your manager and with the organization as a whole.

So I took a day, drafted my points and presented it to my directs for an initial round of feedback. I followed up the same with my manager, and then with the CEO during a skip-level one-to-one. After several revisions, I felt confident that I have a good idea of how I can preserve the vitality of the very capable team that I joined, while enabling the next level of growth and success. This is what I came up with:

To nurture an environment where engineers engage in the best work of their career.

To consistently iterate on a live-ops cycle with a focus that minimizes rework, downtime and firefighting and maximizes productivity and innovation.

To provide maximally useful process documentation enabling rapid employee growth and onboarding, and resulting in our team becoming the prime feeder for new teams and successful social games.

To make success achievable for anyone with a growth mindset.

These statements sum up my professional orientation and direction in leading a live-ops engineering team. I'm feeling pretty good about them so far, and they are likely to see another iteration as I keep learning about challenges and opportunities in my environment.