This course is thoughtful and practical. Edmond and Jean do a great job of explaining why lack of alignment is a root cause of not being productive as an engineer. They also provide a framework for how to build alignment, as well as concrete tools to do so. I have already been able to apply this iteratively to my work relationships and it is making a positive difference. It's helped me approach my work relationships more strategically and be more explicit about building alliances and discover what matters to people.
Prior to taking the course, I struggled with "Implicit versus Explicit expectations" within my organization. At the time, I didn't know how to define it; I just knew our small but growing team wasn't firing on all cylinders and was struggling to meet my expectations at times. Defining "implicit versus explicit expectations" has been the single biggest "aha" moment I've had in quite some time.
As engineers, we hide behind backlogs, kanban boards, daily stand-ups, sprint planning, status reports, etc. and delude ourselves into thinking we are communicating and leading our teams and organizations. These tools all serve a valuable purpose, but effective communication does not begin (or end) here.
Building and maintaining alignment within our teams, departments and organizations is a vital part of effective and healthy communication. Taking the time to build these alliances, to truly understand motivations of stakeholders and to explicitly state shared goals and understandings is how we can all start to communicate and lead more effectively and makes all the other tools we as an industry rely upon that much more useful.
Edmond and Jean provide short and to-the-point videos of the tools and methods that are very easy to understand. In the course you have the ability to practice these in experiential sessions with other like-minded participants. The tools have a profound impact on how I communicate and align with people, that really helps in any relationship.
Being an engineer and more focused on technical aspects, I have always seen relationships as something that happens coincidentally. In the course, I learned an easy-to-understand but highly powerful framework that helps me have very meaningful and impactful conversations. I now know how to intentionally create shared alignment with people and make sure we move towards the same goal.
The tools we learned are really simple and powerful. A lot of people think of themselves as not being the super talented communicator. What I really like is that you don't have to be naturally gifted or super talented — you just can use these simple tools and practice, and that's all it takes to improve a lot of the issues we've had.
What's clear to me now is that when you look at people or leaders or role models who communicate really well, who build alignment with their teams — now I understand that there is something I can do to become one of those people. There is something I can actually do to design my relationships. I'm more in control. That is clear to me now. It's terrific. I love it.
I have tried for years to be a change agent alone on my own. Those days are over. I'm trying to find alignment with other people — finding people who are motivated to change something with me and finding small teams to work on change. I definitely spent too much energy alone. It has been a big relief for me to learn that I can strategically form alliances around the changes I want to see.
I'm most excited about having a common framework for dealing with awkward or tough situations. It's almost like an interface or an API for relationships. It's the greatest thing. I'm not a hugely extroverted person, so having this kind of tool is invaluable. It's just super super good.
My biggest concern was finding the material too difficult or vague for everyday use. Happily all the modules are built for singular use as well as combined with other modules for maximum impact. The structured practice and well constructed videos made the material easy to digest and changed the way I think about relationships across the board.
After the course, I feel that just like software, communication and keeping working relationships healthy are also skills you want to develop. You have problems, you have designs, and you have to maintain it. Otherwise, it will create all kinds of problems. Before, I used to think if you can talk, you can communicate, but that's not true. Just because you can write doesn't mean you can write code. There's a gap there that has to be filled — this is something that needs work, and you have to learn how to do it and practice. I think that's my biggest understanding after the whole course.