As an IC, you don't have authority over engineers in the way a manager might. So your impact is defined by your ability to have influence without authority. Influence comes from consensus + collaboration, which comes down to communication. Said another way: Communication is the foundation for trust.
Rahul talked about 3 parts to effective communication in this presentation:
- Start with the audience
- Understand how much context your audience has, and connect the dots for them.
- Your communication should be as short as possible.
- Bad news should never be a surprise.
- Choose the right medium
- Do some reflection on what your objective is: build relationships or efficiently communicating some info? Be clear the difference between verbal and written communication.
- Evaluate the current processes for communication in your org: standups, team meetings, email updates, cross-org communication.
- Be consistent
- You should have a regular drumbeat of posts for your projects. If you feel like nothing happened, you should explain why nothing happened.
- For long-running processes like brainstorms or architecture reviews, you should consistently message the timeline and milestones.