I’ve had the opportunity to manage people in Tech for about a decade. I’ve managed software development engineers, QA Engineers/SDET as well as Engineering managers.

As per my learnings in the past few years, a manager should be passionate about finding the best people for the job, supporting them in their efforts, growing them and also tell them clearly when it’s not the right job for them.

It’s important to understand and document each new position’s unique needs before you start looking for the right people and interviewing them. This document may or may not be the same as a “job description” you share with recruiters.

During this journey, I’ve also been able to get a few engineers promoted to their next level in either an IC role or move to an engineering manager role.

In organizations requiring a formal documented promotion process, I worked closely with the engineer over a period of time to document reasons they should be promoted as well as recommendations from other colleagues/peers.

When people who have genuinely worked hard to make the team/mission a success get promoted/recognized, I am happy. This has helped me earn trust of my team during difficult missions and has been an essential fuel in managing people successfully.

Beyond a certain team size, it becomes hard to proactively remember key details of every team member all the time. One of the tools that has helped me especially while managing multiple teams is documenting the team member’s strengths/skills/weaknesses/training needs etc. on a spreadsheet and referring to it regularly while prioritizing action items for them. This also helps in having meaningful conversations during 1:1’s.

I also like to manage my team members’ career/role transitions like a project. This gives us a much better probability of success especially during situations of high ambiguity e.g. during growth phase and/or a fast changing org structure.

I invite you to share your own experiences/tips on managing engineers.

#management #people #tech #software

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