Back to resources

Relying on Sub-Managers to Improve and Optimize

Large Number Of Reports
New Manager

27 May, 2021

Daniel Archer

Daniel Archer

VP of Engineering at Ritual

Daniel Archer, Vice President of Engineering at Ritual, values the insight of his sub-managers when improving the way that he manages his entire team.

Problem

When managing a large team, I find that the opportunity to truly understand what any individual deals with on a day-to-day basis decreases. It becomes more challenging to foster a sense of empathy when not face-to-face with the team member in question and the work that they do.

Actions taken

I recently planned an engineering team all-hands meeting and invited leaders on the team to contribute their visions for their squads. They outlined specific planned initiatives, how we work with and collaborate with others, and the ways in which they were tracking our goals were laid out clearly. Challenges that each one faced, such as the need for one team to focus more on monitoring and logging, for example, gave them some idea of what they should be working on over time.

It became a matter of: “Here is our vision. Here is where we’re placing our investments.” We also leveraged breakout rooms to gain some feedback - how can we strengthen the ways that we collaborate in a distributed team? We came away with some great ideas and action items, as well as opinions that our team really needed to voice. New hires became acclimated with more of the team and were able to brainstorm with other employees more effectively.

Lessons learned

  • Pushing feedback and concerns up to the top and simply waiting for results passively, in my opinion, leads many teams to failure. Taking a step back and looking at things from a long-term perspective periodically showed us where we were going as a team inside and out. Speaking to these challenges made me more prepared for the next round of evaluation, bringing forth even more helpful feedback as a result.
  • Increasing the visibility of core team metrics like cycle time or review cycles made it clear to our employees why we track these things and how they help us all in our daily work. This helped us implement changes that allowed everyone to work more effectively.
  • The organization became more informed on how to manage our growing company when everything was broken down in this way. Resources were able to be allocated much more wisely through this new source of insight.

Discover Plato

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


Related stories

Congratulations you're an Engineering Manager! Now What?

29 July

Congratulations, you have just been promoted to an engineering management role. Once you are done celebrating the promotion you have worked hard to earn you might start to ask yourself, now what do I do?

Leadership
New Manager
AJ St. Aubin

AJ St. Aubin

Director Software Engineering at The RepTrak Company

Team Development Framework for new managers

26 June

Individual Contributors are familiar with a technical development framework that helps them with building products. Managers, especially new managers can leverage a parallel framework to help them build their teams while drawing analogies from an already familiar framework.

Building A Team
Team Processes
New Manager
Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart

Deciding if Management Is Right for You

13 June

Deekshita Amaravadi, Engineering Manager at Justworks, talks about the intricacies of making the decision to switch from an IC role to a management one.

Personal Growth
Leadership
Career Path
New Manager
Deekshita Amaravadi

Deekshita Amaravadi

Engineering Manager at Justworks

The Challenges of Becoming a New Manager Among Old Peers

22 April

Neha Saha, Manager, Software Development Engineering at Workday, illustrates the challenges of obtaining a position in management with no prior experience and the confidence it takes in order to succeed.

Leadership
New Manager
Neha Saha

Neha Saha

Manager, Software Development Engineering at Workday

Navigating Your Role Change: From IC to Engineering Manager

13 April

Anuj Vatsa, Engineering Manager at Carta, describes his journey of becoming an Engineering Manager and shares some tips for easing into this new role.

Managing Expectations
Handling Promotion
Personal Growth
Leadership
Feedback
Career Path
New Manager
Anuj Vatsa

Anuj Vatsa

Engineering Manager at Carta