happy-faceI was having a telling a new person about an upcoming meeting I had on a difficult problem and they asked me, “Are you going to escalate this?”  I’m sure it was a normal question in the environment they came from and its common in a lot of companies.  I’d taken it for granted.  It’s just not one of the go-to tools in my toolbox when I have a problem.

Why don’t I need it?

I don’t need it because I work on an incredibly well functioning team where there’s respect between everyone on the team. Does that mean I never appeal to someone else to move things forward?  No, I do, but those conversations are usually much more collaborative versus the combative or classic, “we need to escalate this situation to so and so’s boss because we are off track.”

Having worked on some very well functioning teams at Red Hat, and how little I use this tool, I’m convinced that the amount of time “escalating issues” to higher levels of a company or a team to make progress is a reflection of how well the team works together.

I suppose on occasion an escalation can bring someone back into line, but if you have a well functioning team it’s rarely necessary because the team is able to figure it out themselves instead needing a verdict from a judge.

Strangely, I think I learned this lesson in Fedora where there was nobody to “escalate to.”  Naturally there was FESCO and other groups to make decisions, but when something wasn’t going the way I may have wanted in Fedora it was unthinkable, or impossible, to “escalate” to someone in Fedora or Red Hat to “solve the problem.”  We had to grind it out and figure out a path forward.

After awhile the amount of time and energy this took grew old and then I knew it was time for me to move on from Fedora.  And that was okay because it made room for others to get involved, including the current Fedora Project Leader–go Robyn!