How to promote the right engineers to management roles

Krishna Vemuri

Sr. Engineering Manager at Townsquared



"A number of years ago, when I worked at Evite, we implemented scrum for the first time. I had already worked with scrums in my previous company, so I was at ease with it, but one of my colleagues got really upset about scrum issues. She thought that the technique implied a constant back and forth, blocking her from doing her coding, and she was also concerned that she was doing most of the scrum. I noticed that she was not at ease at work because of this, and went to talk to her. I tried to reassure her about this new way of working and told her that it required a little bit of adjustment at the beginning but that she would then be fine."

Actions taken

"During my next one-on-one with my manager, he told me that he wanted to promote me as a manager. He had heard about me reassuring my colleague, and according to him, I already had a management role among some of my peers. I was surprised and a bit afraid, but I accepted. My main concern was to keep the same relationship with my former peers, so I discussed with each of them and asked 'What can I do to help you? What do you expect from me' . This dialog really helped and the fact I became their manager was well accepted."

Lessons learned

"Managing people is really about listening to the others, and collaborating with them. I have retained this philosophy for promoting people throughout my career. Observe your engineers. Some naturally act as managers without noticing it. I think this type of promotion is a great way to ensure that a team accepts their new manager."

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Krishna Vemuri

Sr. Engineering Manager at Townsquared

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