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Being a new manager

Pierre-Alain Bouchard

VP Engineering at Swile

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Problem

Becoming an Engineering manager after being a tech lead: new scope including peer-reviewing, one-on-ones, ensuring their team is performing.

Actions taken

The first set of advice is on performance review and how to best identify underperforming team members. There are as many definitions of management as there are companies, and as many hierarchies too. The framework has to be defined in terms of levels from one job to another, with usually 2-3 levels to progress through to get to the promotion, and a specific set of attributes per level. The hard thing is on the measurement - some people can cheat the KPIs, you have to define where you put the baseline as a manager. A good way to "objectivize" performance reviews is to include a group of managers in semestrial reviews.

"A good way to 'objectivize' performance reviews is to include a group of managers in semestrial reviews."

Another area to be wary on is the compensation level and the hard balance between wanting to offer someone a bump in salary and them really being ready to become managers. Do not create a precedent in your organisation, consistency is key.

The third subject is prioritization. You have to think about your own career, look at people one step above you in the structure and at what they are doing that is impactful, and try to pick your own missions to bring you on the right path and make you visible in terms of impact. Focus on bigger problems, and don't listen to the noise, take a step back on what is key and help your teams do the same.

Lessons learned

Being a "good" new manager is about soft skills, but also about having deep knowledge on how things work at your company. Think about your team, but don't forget yourself in the process!


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Pierre-Alain Bouchard

VP Engineering at Swile


Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingEngineering ManagementLeadership TrainingPerformance ReviewsCareer ProgressionCompensation & BenefitsTeam & Project Management

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