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For Engineering Managers
For Directors of Engineering
For VPs of Engineering
Topic - 51 Stories
VP Engineering at Marc LeBrun
Leveraging Diverse Peer Groups for Tighter Feedback
In order to break the isolation of small teams of senior people working on advanced technology projects, a manager had them stage review sessions with each other. This allowed them to communicate with peers who had a shared culture of pushing the envelope, encouraging skill-transfer and creating unexpected collaborations. Unexpected network effects were also observed.
Limor Bergman Gross
Executive Coach at LBG Consulting Service Ltd
9-months Pregnant and Applying to Be a Manager
A software engineer with no management experience applied for a managerial position while 9 months pregnant and about to go on maternity leave. With the help of her previous manager, who vouched for her skills, she was offered the job. She asked her previous manager to be her mentor and they met weekly to help her transition from IC to manager. She learned that even if the timing is challenging, don't give up on your dreams, ask someone to vouch for you, and get a mentor to help you transition.
Senior Director of QA and Data Products at Niche.com
Establishing a New Function
Niche's QA team was struggling to keep up with their increased automation needs, so the QA team leader proposed a new departmental structure with a separate function for automation. This new role, the Software Engineer in Test, would be dedicated to automation, allowing the QA Analysts to focus on manual testing. After a year of refining the role, the team was able to hire additional Software Engineers in Test and begin revitalizing their automation efforts. The lessons learned from this experience included the value of specialization, the importance of face-to-face communication while vetting candidates, and the importance of trusting in the expertise of team members.
VP of Engineering at TripActions
A high performing employee threatened by a new hire of his caliber
A Director of Engineering at Twitter had a high performing direct report, Lee, who felt threatened by a new hire. The Director took a step back and asked Lee what his aspirations were and how he wanted to be seen. He wanted to be an architect and in charge of larger systems. The Director then helped Lee to see the new hire as an asset and a succession plan to help him grow in his career. This showed that threats can be turned into opportunities.
VP Engineering at CMG
Is Management the Right Path for You
This article discusses the importance of understanding where one's energy comes from when considering a management career. The author recommends reflecting on past accomplishments and experiences to determine what brings energy and what takes it away. They also suggest trying both the technical and people routes to see which is the best fit and to be aware of the expectations of the role. Finally, they emphasize the importance of developing skills regardless of the career path chosen.
CTO at HuliHealth
Defining Roles as a Company Transitions out of the Startup Environment
Huli started as a flat organization without roles or competencies, but as it grew, it became necessary to create structure and responsibilities. To do this, Huli adopted a strategy from Spotify to define steps, disciplines, roles, and competencies. They also used a 360 review exercise to get feedback from the team and create a career path for each position. This process taught them the importance of having roles and competencies for clarity and to help people grow in their roles.
Joao Miguel Quitério
Engineering Director at BitSight Technologies
Building our career ladder from scratch
Talkdesk needed to create a career plan to provide transparency for their team. They adopted a plan from "Rent the Runway" and adapted it to their structure, needs and culture. They added communication, more levels, and other tracks. After implementing the ladder, some people were overcompensated and were considered "underperformers" until they reached the expectations for their salary levels. The transition was difficult, but it sent a message and clarified expectations.
Head of Quality at Rocket Lawyer
Taking care of your direct reports’ career growth.
This story is about a manager who had an engineer in their team who had been at the same level for a long time. The manager took action to help the engineer realize they needed to focus on their career growth and gave them a project to prove themselves. Through this experience, the manager learned the importance of being proactive and providing clear expectations to ensure the engineer can focus on their challenge.
CTO at Reddit
Founding engineer at Reddit, passionate about mentorship and public speaking.
SVP and Head of Engineering at Interactions
Seasoned engineering leader with proven track record in architecting, building, and delivering enterprise products utilizing AI.
VP of Engineering at Kiddom, Inc.
Engineering executive • ex-Affirm | Square | Google
VP of Product at Zenchef France
Product, Engineering and Transformation Leader - ex ManoMano/Airbus
VP of Engineering at Clari
Enterprise SaaS Engineering Leader | Various Verticals (Tech, Healthcare, Search)
Senior Engineering Manager at Measurabl
20+ years as a technologist, 8+ years as an engineering leader
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VP Engineering, Head of Engineering at Zoomcar
Reasons Promoting From Within Is Better for Growing Your Business
When a principal engineer left a team without a backup plan, the Associate Director had to decide whether to groom a senior engineer to the next level or hire a Lead engineer from outside. The Associate Director chose to groom the senior engineer, giving him more ownership and products, and dividing the project lifecycle into three phases. The Associate Director invested a lot of time with the senior engineer, providing feedback and 1:1s, and after two quarters the senior engineer was ready to lead independently. The lessons learned from this experience were to invest in the internal team, be tactful in choosing and nurturing second-line leaders, and lead by example.
VP of Product at Real Eyes
Pleading With Your Executive Team
This story is about a company that specialized in mobile app downloads and wanted to get into programmatic ad-buying. The author was recruited to manage the product and business development, and worked closely with the engineering team to increase the throughput of the system. Despite the author's efforts to optimize the system and acquire users for as little as a dollar, the CEO chose to ignore the data and shut the product down a few months later. The author learned that leaders can make ego-driven decisions, and it can be difficult to disagree with them.
Helping Your Reports Become Managers
At Niche, the author had the privilege of growing a department from two people to over a dozen. To enable further growth, the author needed to foster and develop a new layer of management within the team. To do this, the author set a six-month plan for the most senior member of the QA team to become a manager. Through a SWOT analysis, reading curriculum, and mentorship sessions, the author was able to equip the emerging manager with the skills and confidence to become a successful manager. The author learned that having a longer preparation time was helpful in changing the emerging manager's perception within their team and that nurturing talent internally is a sound business decision.
Alfredo Fernandez Acuna
Engineering Manager at ComplyAdvantage
Why Rearchitecting Might Not Always Be the Best Idea
This article outlines the steps taken by a team to improve the performance of a system that was only handling a low number of transactions per second. The team was unable to re-architect the system due to tight deadlines, so instead they documented the main flows of the system, ran load tests, and identified low-hanging fruit that could be improved. The team's efforts resulted in significant performance gains, and the article outlines the lessons learned from the experience.
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