Introducing SREs, TPMs and Other Specialized Roles.




  • Class systems. Many times folks look at new roles as less important, often framing them as service roles to absorb work they’re disinterested in. Sometimes roles are even explicitly designed this way, intended to reduce work for another role as opposed to having an empowering mission of their own. (View Highlight)
  • Brittle organization. As you move away from generalized roles and towards specialists, an unexpected consequence is that your organization has far more single points of failure. Where everyone on a team was once able to perform all tasks fairly effectively, now if your project manager leaves, then you’ll find that no one is able to fill the role very effectively (View Highlight)
  • new role for your organization tends to involve dozens of important decisions to align it with your needs. Unfortunately, generally folks don’t take much time to appreciate these distinctions, and instead pattern match on how they’ve seen the role done elsewhere. This is a powerful force. Some meaningfully large percentage of folks will both avoid taking any steps to learn how the role is intended to function–reading documentation, asking about the approach–and continue to express surprise that it doesn’t work exactly the way they saw at a previous company. (View Highlight)
  • Task offloading. When a new role is created, the role’s designers have a very clear vision of how they want the new function to work (View Highlight)
  • Too “trivial” to value. Many roles start by taking on work that is viewed as disinteresting by the role shedding that responsibility, and consequently folks in that role tend to view that work as trivial and unimportant. (View Highlight)
  • Too “trivial” to promote. Similar to the above, often you’ll find the work done by new roles to be valued very highly in terms of impact, but not viewed as sufficiently “strategic” to merit promotion (View Highlight)
  • Recruiting rare humans. For entirely great reasons, folks want the first hires they make into a new role to be strong role models for the entire function. This often leads to a piling on of requirements until it’s impossible for any candidate to pass the bar. (View Highlight)