Guiding vs. Controlling

One of my professional goals this year is to take a more active role in guiding the architecture and development of our product. Working on a team this large is a new experience for me. I’m used to working with one or maybe two other developers, or working alone.

We have a fairly flat structure here. Decisions have to be made by consensus or persuasion, and it has worked well so far. That’s something I cherish about my current situation and would never want to upset.

What I have been learning is that simply making the effort to understand what people are doing, to make plans and circulate them, to establish oneself as a credible source of guidance is possible without requiring any type of formal authority or enforcing an informal hierarchy within the team. What I want is for people to come to me with their thoughts because they  trust my judgment, and to listen to my ideas because I’ve shown myself to have insight.