Two years after hitting the big time, graduating from college, and landing my first job – at the first large corporate company I’ve ever worked for (Cisco!) – my view of this company has totally shifted. Especially when it comes to how we, the global teams that span from virtual corners of the world to our incredible offices around the globe, work together at Cisco.
From starting as an Employee Services intern to my time with InfoSec and now our Security and Trust Organization, I have worked with so many different teams – and they are often very different with their own unique language, traditions, and way of getting things done. Sometimes, it feels like there are mini-companies and start-ups running within this larger company – but all have the same goal of exceeding expectations and continuing to throw a spotlight on the incredible technology that Cisco provides.
Some teams, like the one I interned with, are methodical, with longer timelines and specific tasks along the way. While others are like the small team I was a part of in the Project Management Office of Employee Services where the work was all about connecting the dots within larger teams and knowing just who to grab from this team or that team to get the job done.
Still others are like my current team in Cisco’s Security & Trust Organization. We’re known as the FAST team, and our first client was working directly with the team behind Webex Teams. No pressure, right?
The FAST team is both a big team and a small team all at the same time – and we don’t just march towards a timeline – we race towards it. All while using the likes of memes and GIFs to communicate and reach our goals.
My new team reinvigorated me, and I was excited to work with the REAL PEOPLE behind the amazing collaboration tool and technology that is Webex Teams. I had been using Webex Teams every day to achieve my work goals and communicate with colleagues around the world – and it was inspiring to get to know the humans behind the tech.
But that isn’t to say the work or the collaboration between our two teams was easy.
is a huge business unit with 80+ microservices and growing. Coming in with my group of just five engineers, I wasn’t sure how we were going to work with such a large group. My group was based in our Raleigh, NC offices and Cisco’s San Jose headquarters while the team working on Webex Teams was based out of Galway, Ireland. I imagined scheduling meetings was going to be a logistical nightmare due to time zones and require lots of different departments with lots of different managers. I thought there was no way were we going to be able to sync up on priorities and was nervous that we would be bogged down due to the many moving pieces.
Would our teams be able to make this work?
Of course we would, we are Cisco, and we had one common goal that got us talking and working together: Information Security. They needed it, and we wanted to help them get it!
Soon we weren’t just two completely different teams, but rather two puzzle pieces that fit just right to make the larger picture all come together.
Yes, our groups were different sizes, but our pace of work was the same. Yes, scheduling was hard, but time zones weren’t holding us back – they were making us better and more efficient. And, yes, our priories were different, but they were also complementary.
The collaboration was mutually beneficial, imperfect, and quirky. Both our teams had to make changes and compromises, but in the end, it resulted in success. What’s more we have become fast friends along the way!
It’s proof that we are stronger together than we could ever be on our own.
Collaboration is a word that is sometimes thrown around without much weight behind it. Sometimes it comes across as a ‘duh’ statement, like, “Of course you should collaborate, duh.” Sometimes it comes across as a mandate, “You must put aside your differences and work together.” Sometimes it comes across as a compromise, “Okay we’ll help you with this, if you help us with that.”
On the surface, these all might seem different, but overall, they’re all one in the same: collaboration is a solution, and it is what brings us together to achieve our goals.
After two years of experiencing and learning how Cisco teams work together to benefit everyone, it’s amazing to see just how many different ways there are to collaborate and reach our goals together.
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