Chapter 12. Tactics and Execution

Tactics and execution are the movement toward the goal. They help you surface the state of work and keep people aligned and productive. Tactics and execution are the foundation layers of team functioning.

Tactics is your process layer. It’s rare to find neutral emotions about process, and it’s often a source of significant arguments, sometimes understandably so given how it affects people’s day-to-day. Some people (I call them “Process Monsters”) love process too much, and others don’t take the impact of process seriously enough. Personally, I believe the judicious application of process is a superpower, and Process Monsters can be incredibly useful when they can channel themselves (or be channeled) effectively in a given context. They can also be incredibly destructive if they focus on the wrong things and don’t prioritize outcomes.

At the execution layer, the ideas and theories become reality and get in the hands of your users. The impact of the team is what the team ships.

In this chapter, we’ll outline the different layers of team functioning and how tactics and execution fit with the mission and strategy layers we discussed in Chapter 11. Then, we will cover developing team tactics (or processes) that help teams have clarity and work together more effectively, and finally, how that ties to execution.

Defining the Layers

The first lesson of good communication is often to “know your audience,” to tailor your communication style to the people ...

Get The Engineering Leader now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.