Structuring your time as a new manager

Matt Martin

CEO at Clockwise



"When I was working for RelateIQ, I was promoted from being an Engineering IC to the role of Engineering Manager. While I had a bit of experience with helping people to plan, I had never been a formal engineering manager, so I was thrown in the deep end and didn't know how to structure my day or allocate my time. I was still engineering on a daily basis and taking part in product syncs, but I also had new responsibilities, which were a bit amorphous. Managing people is a marathon, not a sprint, and engineering work is literally defined as a sprint."

Actions taken

"I took a step back from my day and week, and looked at my calendar to see when I had to be at certain places. I then started to work out what I needed to add to my work week to be successful as an Engineering Manager. I realized I needed to have one-on-ones with all of my reports. Eventually, you can sometimes move to having one-on-ones every other week, but when you first start out as a new manager it's important to have them weekly."

"I also made sure that I scheduled longer than normal one-on-ones with my boss to ensure I was getting the support I needed, and I scheduled one-on-ones with a manager who was my peer who could relate with what I was going through."

"I put these meetings into my calendar, and realized that the time I had available for engineering was limited. I then had to make hard decisions around what I could cut back on, and determined how that would be reflected in your projects."

Lessons learned

"This approach gives you a very real sense of the conversations you need to have around your current projects. In addition, as you take engineering work off of your plate, you are then often able to give that work to your team."

"Often, when people get promoted from Engineer to Engineering Manager, they feel like they are a part of the team and so they should facilitate the team's productivity. While you do this as much as you can, if you overstretch yourself you may end up becoming a blocker."

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Matt Martin

CEO at Clockwise

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationDecision MakingEngineering Management

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