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Automation & Scaling in Engineering Leadership and Management

Jose Ciccio

ex-Senior Engineering Manager at SchoolMint

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Automation/Scaling in Engineering Leadership & Management

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving world of engineering, automation has become a crucial aspect of leadership and management if you want to scale. As software engineers, one of the best ways to scale is by automating different key repetitive tasks or processes. As a manager you cannot always just “write a piece of code” and automate your way out, so the question that arises is: how can I scale a team/process and get some time back? Automation not only streamlines processes but also enhances efficiency and productivity. In this article, we will explore the benefits and strategies for implementing automation in engineering leadership.

The Power of Automation

Automation plays a vital role in empowering engineering teams to achieve their goals efficiently. By automating repetitive tasks and processes, engineers can focus on more critical and creative aspects of their work. This not only saves time but also improves overall productivity and in some cases as a bonus helps you boost the team’s morale. In management and leadership, there are different ways where common tasks can be automated in a way that will let you scale up teams and free your time to focus on different things. It is worth to highlight that not only enhances efficiency but also mitigates the risk of human error. This allows engineering teams to redirect their efforts towards more high-value tasks.

Documentation and Automation

Let’s start with the basics: proper documentation.

Have you ever managed a team of engineers that have worked together for quite some time, and all of them work as a well oiled machine? Then one day the team rotates or someone new joins (for whatever reason) and then they have issues understanding some of the basic rules the team has had since their norming stage? Or maybe on the retros the team as a whole decides to add new processes?

If that sounds familiar, or you want to make sure to have the fastest ramp up and make sure that you have a visible way for everyone to just refresh the basic rules. As you may notice, documenting key processes (team rules, estimation process, code review, etc.) is essential when it comes to implementing automation in engineering leadership. It provides a clear roadmap for engineers to follow and ensures consistency in processes. By documenting each step of the automation process, engineers can easily replicate and scale their efforts, leading to improved efficiency and reduced errors.

Last but not least let’s you offload everything that you have on your mind and helps you to tackle new challenges, also helps you not being a bottleneck for the team and last but not least, you can transfer or delegate different responsabilities to the team as a whole.

Tools and Processors

To implement automation effectively, it is crucial to have the right tools and processors in place. These tools should be capable of handling complex engineering tasks and seamlessly integrating with existing systems. By leveraging advanced technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, engineers can automate various processes and achieve remarkable results.

If you run a project, you don’t want to have all tasks spread out in a whiteboard or Excel. Tools like Jira, Pivotal or Rally dev are crucial not only to take control of the project and what people are doing, but will also help you gather metrics automatically about velocity, burndown charts, amount of defects or bugs, so you will be able to improve upon metrics you consider imporant.

Remember that you cannot improve over things you cannot measure. Setting a list of metrics you want to gather on a sprint basis or a timebox frame are important to understand how you and your team are perfoming and understand what can be enhanced.

Technical Expertise and Collaboration

Automation requires a deep understanding of technical concepts and tools. It is crucial for engineering leaders to foster a culture of continuous learning and provide opportunities for skill development. Collaboration among team members is also essential, as it allows for the sharing of knowledge and best practices, ultimately leading to more effective automation strategies.

There has to be set a culture for the team to be able to feel free to collaborate and share their knowledge. Some ideas to make this happen is by having: pair programming, create team brown bags or knowledge transfer sessions. Have informal technical demos for them tos show what they have been working on and explain to the rest of peers.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptability

Automation is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. Engineering leaders must continuously evaluate and improve their automation strategies to keep up with evolving technologies and industry trends. Being adaptable and open to change is crucial in ensuring that automation efforts remain effective and aligned with organizational goals.

Conclusion

Automation in engineering leadership is a powerful tool that can revolutionize the way teams operate. By leveraging the right tools, documenting processes, fostering technical expertise, and embracing continuous improvement, engineering leaders can unlock the full potential of their teams and drive success in today’s rapidly changing world.

These are some guides and key points that can help you out with the basics of automation and therefore help you out scaling and get your engineering team to the next level.


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Jose Ciccio

ex-Senior Engineering Manager at SchoolMint


Engineering LeadershipTechnical Expertise

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