Making Red Tape Allies

Having allies that are exposed to just as much red-tape as you can give you the confidence and guidance you need.

Sometimes you have to tackle many obstacles to get something done at a corporate. Many refer to such obstacles as red-tape.

This can be anything from proxy or network related constraints to unaligned environment configurations to corporate governance and change control.

Whatever the red-tape is that you face, it can be really frustrating as it slows down or completely impedes progressing work into production.

Luckily for you, corporates tend to have a lot of people. It is likely that they experience or have experienced the same frustrations as you. This means you have a complete internal knowledge-base that you can utilize to aid you. Build relationships with these people. This is what I mean by red-tape allies.

If you are new to the corporate world or to the particular corporate organization, the red-tape and the amount of people can be overwhelming. Start by networking with your team and get them to introduce you to other people that you can learn from. If you aren't the shy type, go introduce yourself.

Obviously it takes time to meet people, learn about the company, your product and how to overcome red-tape but you never have to feel stuck and alone.

Network

Grow your network of people that can aid you with solving red-tape.

Start networking with software developers from other teams. Drop in for a quick visit to see how other teams do things or chat to them during lunch, grabbing a cup of coffee or while at the water cooler.

If you have remote teams, try video conferencing or chatting to them over whatever medium it is that they may be using.

Include developer leads, line managers or other managers in your network. They may or may not be directly involved with the team you are in.

Leads and managers usually have the bigger picture in mind and can offer a lot of strategic insights that might aid you even more.

IT and Security Engineers have a lot of insights to what is happening on the company network, with antivirus scans and the proxy servers. If you include them in your personal network, you could gain insights and assistance that could help you easily resolve issues.

I've found networking with non-technical people to be advantageous. They can give ideas and food-for-thought to certain obstacles you face. They can ask you a bunch of thought-provoking questions so that they can try understand the problem which could lead you on the right path.

Share ideas

Start chatting to other people about things that frustrate you or impede your work.

It's important to be objective so that you don't cling to your frustrations as it impedes the ability to find solutions. It's equally important that you don't come across as offensive as people will shy away from you.

Listen to suggestions and opinions objectively. People will be sharing their personal experiences with you. They are not forcing you to do anything, even if it sounds that way.

So remember that it doesn't mean that you have to go and change everything in your team. Simply extract useful information that you and your team can apply and keep the rest in mind.

The same mindset needs to be had when you share your newfound ideas with your team. Try not to impose drastic changes that could unravel the balance your team has. Try to suggest quick experiments that could give you the most gains to see if they will work.

Our company has a monthly demo day where each team demonstrates the work they have done in the last two sprints. This is an ideal platform to share how impediments were improved or resolved by discussing how the team streamlined different processes and what small experiments were introduced within the sprint.

Mistakes are also a great way to learn how not to do things. Gladly share them and learn through the mistakes of others.

Document

Share your learnings with your team and try to document it on a central knowledge base whether it be an online Wiki, blog or Q&A platform. This can help others who face the same problems as you in the future.

When others approach you with issues you have solved, gladly share your insights with them.

My final thoughts

Building relationships with people outside your team gives you insights to how other people and teams are tackling different problems that your team may be experiencing. Sometimes we get too close to a problem that we can't always see the solution straightaway.

Having allies that are exposed to just as much red-tape as you can give you the confidence and guidance you need within your organization thus minimizing your frustrations.