How do I get my engineers to stop being so darn careful?

 I'm a staff engineer in an org of about 50 engineers at a large company. I've noticed something as I've gotten to know some of the engineers on the teams under me. They're WAY too careful. Everything has to be a meeting. If they need to create an API they want to talk with every team at the company who's made an API to make sure they do it right. If they want to use a call from a public API they need to schedule a meeting with the team that owns it and makes sure it's ok that we use it. Everything is like this. It's like they've never written original code in their lives.

Many also refuse to just go read other teams' codes. They discount their own abilities immediately and just say "Well I'm not familiar with the domain" as if it's some magic spell that only the domain owners can understand (so again, more meetings).

It's not that they aren't experienced. Many of the people I'm talking about are L3's and L4's with years of experience. How do I get them to believe in themselves a little and stop quintuple-checking every move they make with 15 different teams? How do I make it so that their first move isn't to have a meeting after meeting?


Sounds like the culture was born out of past issues. Learn what happened years ago and you can probably connect it working this way.

I've worked at a place where management got on the team because some people were not researching enough and features were missing functionality. I'm talking about communicating over Wi-Fi and not even considering what happens if Wi-Fi goes down the type of issues.

So what happened? Management created a bunch of meetings and a paper trail to show we are doing due diligence on flushing out features before implementing them. It wasn't good enough to trust a Senior SWE to do something, they had to get their design reviewed by people to make sure it was looked at from all of the proper angles.

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