Engineering Manager Series Week 3

Hi there, this is week 3. After a little break, still we’re here ­čÖé This series aims to share some useful articles with some hints. This week’s articles are on a deep dive on engineering manager’s roles and responsibilities. Actually, we discussed this topic on the first post a little bit. While searching for articles I noticed Get Your Guide’s Engineering Manager series. Each company’s expectations are a little different about management but of course there are some common topics. This series summarizes it under 5 topics(productivity, team health, stakeholder happiness, customer and business impact, and systems health.). If you think about your company’s style and tools for the processes while you read the series, it would be more helpful. I’ll will give some hints from the posts.

Let’s start with Productivity. It’s mostly about prioritization of the work. They prepared 7 objectives to be more productive.

Objective 1: Projects are prioritized well (including what not to do)
Objective 2: MVP (minimally viable product) is considered and context is taken into account
Objective 3: Dependencies, primarily internal ones, are minimized and managed effectively
Objective 4: Team processes ensure continuous improvement
Objective 5: Waste is kept to a minimumÔÇŐ ÔÇöÔÇŐ projects seldom get cancelled, fires and hotfixes are very infrequent, projects progress continuously and with little interruption, and uncertainties and risks are tackled early
Objective 6: Individuals are set up to be productive ÔÇŐÔÇöÔÇŐ onboarding is fast and effective, interruptions are minimal
Objective 7: Team keeps track of tech debt and keeps it in check

The “how” part is as much important as “what” part. I strongly recommend reading the whole series, all the posts consists links to some best practices. I’ll add one more best practice for the last objective. It’s called Techrospective. We noticed the technique from Sabanc─▒Dx’s post, some teams started to use it.

The second topic is Team’s Health. Well you can do everything right but if you don’t be careful about one specific thing, the others doesn’t mean anything which is to prepare the right environment for a team’s being healthy. So how can we do it? GYG summarizes it under 5 main pillars.

  • Trust and dynamics
  • Setup
  • Onboarding
  • Growth
  • Performance management

Team Health is a foundational pillar to how we build high-performance teams, demanding prioritization and time investment. Balancing the different components of team health creates an exciting challenge for any Engineering Manager aiming to lead a happy and trusting team of engineers on-track for personal and professional growth. Although every Engineering Manager will have their own style and priorities, and every organization/team its own culture and maturity, team health is one aspect that must stay top of mind.

This time I’ll share one more additional best practice from Google for Growth. One of the behaviors of great engineering managers is being a good coach. Google has a page on re:Work for some tips on 1:1’s and career conversations. GROW model is very effective for coaching.

Goal – What do you want?
Reality – What’s happening now?
Options – What could you do?
Will – What will you do?

The third topic is Stakeholder Happiness.

“Managing stakeholders successfully means balancing different work streams, staying proactively aligned with others, and, ultimately, building trust by delivering on commitments. In our framework, we broke this down into three main areas, each as important as the next.
1. Team meets their commitments
2. Stakeholders are not surprised
3. Team is trusted by stakeholders

In the end, stakeholder happiness comes down to trust. This is built by meeting commitments, keeping everyone up to date, and openly addressing any misalignments in expectations or changes in direction.

The fourth is Customer and Business Impact.

– Work on the right product
– Have a long-term vision and mission
– Choose a solvable problem
– Choose a problem that will affect a large number of users
– Align your goals with the company strategy and socialize with other teams
– Start with the low-hanging fruit
– Set ambitious targets
– Measure the right metrics
– Start with the goal
– A great metric moves only based on your actions
– Make metrics visible, and own them
– Shipping something good now is better than something perfect later
– Dogfoodin
– Be paranoid about details

And the last topic is System Health. System health is something like Voltran. Lots of different teams work together in big companies to keep the system highly available. Monitoring, Automatizing the System’s health is much important as developing a rock solid system.

“To keep these systems in good health requires technical skills, good organization, and a sense of responsibility from all of our engineers. The Engineering Manager, together with the team, is responsible for making sure all of these things come together.”

On my next article, I’m planning to share some useful articles on accountability, low/high performers.

If you found the article helpful, you can rate/share(under the videos), claps(at the top of the article) or make comment so I can improve my series. See you at the next post!


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