What inspired you to join Foundation Medicine?
The great teams and our work in personalizing healthcare inspired me to join Foundation Medicine in April of this year. There has been immense progress in genomics and technology over the last decade, and I think we are at the forefront of converting those discoveries into actionable benefits that have a direct impact on patient care.
What is your tole and how have you tried any new ways of working this year?
I am a lead of an engineering team in Medical Reporting. I think my strategy for navigating the last few months has been an emphasis on streamlined communication, focused team interactions, and team building. I am lucky in having led distributed teams in the past and have leaned on some of those learnings. What has worked is focused functional meetings so we can concentrate discussions at those times and give the team more blocks of uninterrupted time. We also have “tech talks” where team members present on their work at a granular level in a no-prep-needed, fun, friendly, discussion format. This helps establish uniformity of skill across the team and builds communication skills, while getting team members more involved in long term planning to help them grow. We also encourage transparency in engineering decisions and architecture discussions. Lastly, we keep at least 30 minutes at the end of the week for chatting about non work-related things. This last piece is even more critical in this remote existence.
What is your top recommendation for others?
I think visual/pictorial representations are fantastic and a must for communicating ideas. No wall or glass should be left untouched and everything is fair game for being an ad hoc whiteboard to jot down architecture, ideas or thoughts. In this remote world we are now living in, the best tool I found is Lucid chart. Any tool that helps you draw can work; even a mirror or glass that you point the camera to. I find drawing something out helps keep the discussion moving forward and helps folks with different skills connect.
Are there any practices you plan to sustain?
I particularly want to expand our internal tech talks as part of the push to help each developer grow as an engineer and leader. I also want to encourage the concept of continuous improvement and healthy/friendly debate in decision making.