Back to resources

Creating a Full-Bodied Manager Career Trajectory

Personal Growth
Career Path

24 September, 2019

Nicolas De Nayer
Nicolas De Nayer

VP Engineering at Doctolib

Nicolas De Nayer, VP of engineering at Doctolib, became overwhelmed with managing teams when his company grew from 4 to 150 people in a span of four years. He details his experience in ensuring his engineers had clear career paths.

Problem

As we grew to a large number of employees, we needed to set up the management aspect of the company. It became evident that we needed to make it clear within the company that engineers have two different career paths to choose from.

Actions taken

We clearly stated that the two career paths for engineers were either the route of a software engineer or that of an engineering manager. I then made a clear, small presentation for everyone to understand the concept of the different levels and tracks for both roles. After that, we created a simple spreadsheet with more in-depth information detailing the different tracks. We made this public, including the names of each of the people within those roles across the varying levels. Every line of the spreadsheet has the output of effort from each of the developers. The last thing we did to incorporate this on a larger, more involved scale was to have a kind of ceremony every six months for leveling up. To develop from one level to the next, we do a big interview with all the engineering managers where they have to read the spreadsheet information and then share their findings during quarterly reviews.

Lessons learned

  • It is important to make the separate career paths clear early on because of the leverage it allows for each one.
  • The point at the beginning was really about people being interested in the trajectory. It was clear that sometimes they struggled to understand why certain people were managers. Just having a spreadsheet to try to demonstrate that reasoning was not enough. We had to really make sure that it became part of their DNA so to speak. By using the key points under each level for quarterly reviews, it has become easier for each manger to start the quarter. First by identifying the current level of their engineers and then giving them a concrete checklist of the necessary skills to level up. We decided to make this part of their to-do list for the quarter. Thanks to that, people have become more connected to the spreadsheet. This element, combined with a congratulatory level up ceremony is a good way to bring the developer closer to the spreadsheet again.
  • I had originally hired tech leads to take on the manager role, but it was not exactly what we needed due to those people not being able to do their best technical work in this role. A tech lead really needs a manager themselves and people will often not be accepting of them as a manager because they expect them to do the heavy tech work.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Working Moms and Problems They Face

20 January

Yang Wang, Engineering Manager at Bond, shares how diligently she transitioned from a large company to a series of startups, all balancing between the role of being a working mom.

Goal Setting
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Agile / Scrum
Yang Wang

Yang Wang

Engineering Manager at Bond

Coaching Women Engineers: Professionally, and for Life

20 January

Yang Wang, Engineering Manager at Bond, shares how she coached several women engineers in her team to boost confidence and help them grow in their careers.

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Team Processes
Career Path
Yang Wang

Yang Wang

Engineering Manager at Bond

From Big Tech to Startup: Adding Value From Day 1

19 January

Angel Jamie, Chief Product Officer at Yayzy, recalls his transition from a well-established tech company to a sustainability startup, and the major differences he experienced.

Dev Processes
Company Culture
Impact
Team Processes
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Changing Company
Career Path
Performance
Angel Jaime

Angel Jaime

CPO at yayzy

Should You Stay Up to Date with Technical Skills As a Product Manager?

19 January

Nani Nitinavakorn, the Sr Product Owner at Revolut, describes how she keeps learning hard skills to increase motivation and respect her team.

Alignment
Innovation / Experiment
Different Skillsets
Personal Growth
Ownership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
New PM
New Manager
Nani Nitinavakorn

Nani Nitinavakorn

Sr Product Owner at Revolut

Getting Creative to Land Your First Tech Job

19 January

Nani Nitinavakorn, the Sr Product Owner at Revolut, shares how she gained her first technical position, creating a direct method to apply for jobs.

Personal Growth
Ownership
Hiring
Strategy
Juniors
Career Path
Nani Nitinavakorn

Nani Nitinavakorn

Sr Product Owner at Revolut

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.