The Expert

Pivotal/Tanzu Labs


The anchor can help build trust by being the first — but not the only — Engineer to jump in and demonstrate technical skill and good judgement.

The “consulting” experience and technical chops of this anchor often catches the eye of project stakeholders. The Expert often becomes the point of contact for stakeholders as well as a hub of knowledge for other members of the team. It is typically expected that a skilled anchor will find opportunities to redirect questions and raise up their team members as fellow experts.

An expert anchor pair programming


  • Draw upon deep/broad technical experience when team is making decisions
  • Readily admit when they don’t know, and find out whom does
  • Identify opportunities for valuable team learning
  • Collaborate skillfully with other disciplines
  • Surface the tradeoffs of architectural decisions
  • Clearly communicate our approach and generate shared understanding


  • Must use influence wisely
  • Stakeholders tend to view the anchor as the responsible point of contact
  • Strong consulting skills from the anchor earn goodwill from stakeholders
  • While making the teams trust-worthy, Anchors teach stakeholders how to trust their own teams
  • There is a minimum ramp-up period for new anchors regardless of expertise


  • Anchors can take on a significant emotional burden of making sure decisions are right
  • Anchors that take on this role raise expectations similar to those of a tech lead
  • It is an unreasonable expectation for an engineer to be the Expert for all the projects they anchor
  • Implicit of gender and other biases can influence the success an anchor has in this role, regardless of their skill
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