Like many of my fellow IT brethren, I was introduced into this industry running with red tape draped all over me. Large companies keep their teams focused by process. Not that this is a bad thing. Process helps preserve culture and a focus on what made them successful in the first place. As someone that shot from the hip early and often in his professional career, I appreciated process.
I also wasn’t really empowered.
At a local Scrum meetup recently (shout out DFW Scrum!), I was fortunate enough to listen to the words of Esther Derby as she spoke of what it means to be truly empowered to do your work. There were brief moments in my career where I had felt this way, but for the most part I don’t know that I truly knew what that meant.
Which begs the question, do I now know what it means?
This graphic I found on Esther’s website I believe is a great definition of the concept. Being empowered means that I am allowed to focus, effect change, and truly do anything. Depending on the organization, that last part is very relative. What we can all agree on, however, is that change truly begins at the team level.
I am now empowered.
At Dealertrack Interactive, each product manager lays out their road map depending on shifting priorities. Sometimes our superiors try to steer us in a different manner, but because we spend so much time hearing from our customers as well as the company on goals it is easy to tailor our teams’ work to what is needed.
Often, I have had occasion to need to defend my position. Not only does this help me make sure my priorities are aligned with other product people, but refines my requirements with great accuracy. Our VP of IT set forth a culture of empowerment that many of my colleagues had never experienced.
What do you do with that power? Relax and be the most effective contributor on your team.