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Proving Yourself When Onboarding

Managing Expectations
Personal growth
Collaboration
Onboarding
Hiring
Career Path

17 April, 2018

Tido Carriero outlines Segment’s approach to onboarding Engineering Managers, and explains why it’s important for new managers to the company to prove that they deserve trust.

Problem

Often, when onboarding Engineering Managers, they will come in with really high expectations for themselves and what they should be doing for the organization. They come in with some ego — rightly so in many cases based on their prior role — but for them to onboard effectively with the team, they need to leave that ego at the door.

Actions taken

When I'm hiring a new Engineering Manager (even folks at the Director of Engineering level), I set very clear expectations that they will be doing coding on day one and will ramp up into the EM role in about 3-6 months. More specifically, this usually looks like knocking out some simple bugs on day one, then a more complex feature, then becoming tech lead on the team, and eventually becoming an Engineering Manager. This approach helps to ensure you understand what Segment does, but also builds trust in the team in terms of the skills you have. Even if we hired you as a manager, you need to be ready to re-earn that trust. As managers gain trust from the team and prove themselves, this enables them to start shipping lightweight processes that made everyone's lives a lot easier and then shortly after doing bigger revamps of the engineering process. The more senior you are in an organization, the steeper the climb you face, but I believe that this is the fastest way to get a team to trust a new manager.

Lessons learned

I now state very clearly when hiring a new Engineering Manager that every single Engineering Manager when starting at Segment will do three to six months of coding before being moved to tech lead and then management.


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