Creating a more cohesive team by fostering an inclusive environment

May 31st, 2021 5 min | ,

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“An engineering team is full of smart people with all the necessary skills and knowledge to problem-solve. If I come in and tell them how to do their job, I’m just wasting everyone’s time. What I can do, though, is make sure that every team member has a voice, is part of the decision-making process and that they own the product they are working on.”

Lorent Dione

Manager, Software Engineering at Officevibe, GSoft

Despite arriving at GSoft a mere six months ago, it’s safe to say that Lorent has hit the ground running. As the manager of three engineering teams tasked with supporting Officevibe’s product teams, he sees his role as a microcosm of his team: creating the best environment for success.

“My teams face all sorts of technical challenges, from scaling loosely coupled architecture through microservice, pipeline management, tooling, and performance, all in the name of accelerating Officevibe’s workflow,” shares Lorent. His job, then, is to ensure the team has the tools and support it needs to address those challenges head on.

Part of that is strategic: noticing, for example, an overlap of responsibilities between enablement and platform teams, and establishing clear roles. “It’s about making sure the right people are on the right challenge, and managing their cognitive load. Do their defined responsibilities match what they can best deliver?” And once they’re put in the best position to succeed, it’s about decentralizing decision-making and trusting in their expertise.

But the most important part of his role as manager is one that’s often overlooked in the deluge of buzzwords that accompany the latest and greatest development methodologies: presence. A team-first mindset doesn’t work unless there’s a sense of connection between all of its parts. Lorent works hard to ensure that his people are motivated and supported, whether by tackling pain points or involving the team in key decision-making. But he doesn’t forget the little things, either: “if I had one tip for managers out there, it would be to not fall into the trap of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ You have to be an active presence and not just wait for issues to arise.”

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A team-first mindset doesn’t work unless there’s a sense of connection between all of its parts.

Lorent Dione

Manager, Software Engineering at Officevibe, GSoft


That’s doubly true for the new remote work reality. All those informal meetings, running into each other in the hallway, just aren’t happening anymore. And while text-based communication is great for speed and accessibility, it cannot replace the attention of a face-to-face conversation.

That being said, remote work hasn’t been all bad. It’s given us a chance to refine ourselves: meetings that used to take an hour are now regularly clocking in under thirty minutes, because we prioritize async work as much as possible. “I want people to be in meetings only when there is a good return on the time invested.”

This philosophy of innovation and self-improvement is something Lorent has noticed since his first day at GSoft. Decentralized decision-making shouldn’t just happen at the team level: “when I arrived, Officevibe was laying down its core strategies for 2021. I was immediately collaborating with the other managers and even one of our co-founders, who wasn’t there as a command-and-control leader but as another member of the team, challenging and being challenged. When that mindset is trickling down from the top, you feel safe proposing new ideas and having an immediate impact.”

Innovation is the heart of engineering. Fostering that is about creating an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable learning, trying and failing, then owning those failures and figuring out how to move forward. In that process, Lorent acts as the conductor, making sure that information flows in all directions, that challenges are spotted before they become problems, and that good ideas are identified and implemented no matter their source. We couldn’t be more pleased with the impact he’s had so far at Officevibe, and it seems like the feeling is mutual: “I’m delighted to be working on a product where I don’t just get to help my teams succeed, but also find ways to help managers from countless industries do their jobs better!”

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