Since then, I have been thinking of doing something similar but smaller in scale. In July of 2021, I asked my teams if they would be interested in remotely shadowing me and several team members expressed interest as they wanted to learn what I do, how I do it, and how I make decisions.
I am experimenting for a couple of months with a smaller scope and smaller-scale shadow program than the CEO Shadow Program. If it goes well, I will continue it and iteratively improve it. If it doesn't go well, I will end it.
For the shadow
Career development exploration
For the engineering director
Learning via reverse mentorship
Criteria and process for requesting to be a shadow
I am in the Eastern US (GMT-4). The shadow must be available during some (but not all) of these working hours. Confirm this works for you before proceeding.
You have been with GitLab for at least one month
Check the schedule below for weeks that are Open for shadowing.
Obtain written approval from your manager that they are ok with you participating, as your workload will need to be reduced for the shadow program duration.
Add yourself to the table for the weeks in which you want to shadow via an MR. To get started, you can edit the page here (internal).
How does the shadowing work?
The shadow will participate remotely.
You can be a shadow for as little as one week or as much as two weeks in a six-month period. The weeks do not need to be sequential.
Join all meetings on my calendar on your shadow week that are not private (most are not private), unless I ask you not to because the meeting participants have opted out of this program for this meeting.
If you are so inclined, review all documents, issues and merge requests linked to the meetings that you have access to.
If you don't have access to a document and the meeting participants are ok with allowing you to view it (which I will confirm), I will share my screen via Google Hangouts or grant you temporary access to the document.
You are encouraged to take notes in meeting documents. The purpose of taking notes is to collect main points and outcomes, not to record a transcript of the conversation.
A meeting attendee may ask you to drop from the meeting before something confidential is covered.
Feel free to ask me questions via Slack in #wayne_shadow_program, after a meeting concludes, via scheduling a meeting with me, or via an ad-hoc Zoom discussion.
Review my GitLab history and Slack messages I have written in public channels.
Shadows can choose to be aware of the current time and providing timekeeping in meetings. Doing timekeeping allows meeting participants to wrap up the meeting before the meeting end time comfortably.
Please let Wayne know if you notice him interrupting speakers, speaking too quickly, or not pausing often enough. These are things he is working on improving.
Feel free to introduce yourself in a meeting when you feel this is appropriate (especially when there are only a few attendees and the meeting is not public inside GitLab). Tell participants who you are, what your regular job is, and that you are a shadow in this meeting.
Even in meetings where you are unfamiliar with the subject matter, there is an opportunity to learn, document, and shape the evolution of GitLab's values.
Process for non-shadow meeting attendees
If a meeting is public inside GitLab, shadows will attend the meeting as a regular participant
Some meetings will discuss confidential information. In those cases, I will ask the meeting attendees if they are ok with a shadow being in the meeting (and if they are ok with the shadow having read or read/write access to the meeting notes document).
What this program is not
It is not a performance evaluation or a step for a future promotion.
Preparing for the program
Slack me in #wayne_shadow_program to let me know a couple of days before your first shadow
Schedule a coffee chat with me a couple of days before your first shadow (especially if we have not met previously)
Plan to observe and ask questions
Don't plan to do your normal amount of usual work. You should reduce your workload by at least 75% during the shadowing time period.
Participating in the shadow program is a privilege where you may be exposed to confidential information. This is underpinned by trust in the shadows to honor the confidentiality of topics being discussed and information shared. The continuation of this program is entirely dependent on shadows past, present, and future honoring this trust placed in them.