How to Measure Success As a New VP of Engineering

Ramkumar Venkatesan

Vice President Technology at MiQ Digital



"As the company scales to the next level, it becomes inevitable to create a new engineering position -- a VP of Engineering with some added R&D flavor. Once it was decided about the position's roles and responsibilities, take good care in selecting the most appropriate performance measurement system. Choosing the right metrics will be critical to your success!"

Actions taken

  • "I am profoundly interested in how different companies define the roles and responsibilities of their prospective CTOs, VPs of Engineering, and Directors of R&D. I would compare and contrast job descriptions for each of these roles and try to understand what resonates the best with our company needs. To measure your performance as a manager, you must know the scope of your roles and responsibilities."
  • "Try to learn as much about different metrics that could help you to improve your engineering performance. There are a great many metrics available to measure the performance of both your team and you as a VP of Engineering. Choosing the right metrics is essential and once in place they should guide all your decisions."
  • "I am particularly fond of OKR (Objectives and Key Results), a fairly popular framework for goal setting that originates from the 80s. I would cordially recommend trying OKR as it is a framework used by some of the most prominent leaders in the field."
  • "However, I was initially very skeptical as I have relied on MBO (Management by Objectives) for quite some time. In addition, OKRs are usually devised for products and I was unsure how this method could be applied to engineering. It turned out that this task can be effortlessly completed by any VP of Engineering."
  • "As a VP of Engineering try to bear in mind that this position is not just about technology but that it requires to manage people, processes and products as well. There are metrics that are principally suitable for these categories."

Lessons learned

  • "While there are standards in the industry, every company may tailor their own titles and job descriptions according to their needs and understanding of the jobs. However, be aware that unconventional titles can lead to confusion and communication difficulties."
  • "There are different metrics used to measure engineering performance. Leave prejudices and skepticism aside and try as many as you can with an open mind. This approach will reward you with the best results."
  • "There are volumes of books that address this problem at greater length. Every author advocates for a specific performance measurement system and corroborates his/her arguments with practical examples. As a VP of Engineering search through these books to find both wisdom and inspiration."

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Ramkumar Venkatesan

Vice President Technology at MiQ Digital

CommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionSkill DevelopmentLeadership RolesVP of Engineering

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