Making the Leap: Transitioning from Engineer to Engineering Manager
Instead of dealing with an endless list of tickets, you become a part of the machine that produces this list. The engineering part then makes those ideas tangible and useful for customers.
Its not optional any more to be an active contributor to the process of improving customer and engineering experience.
On top of that, you get an infinite list of questions on multiple topics. Type of requests depends on organization and its maturity but you are first point of contact for your teammate:
Where to get information or access?
How to unblock something?
What to do with each uncertainties? Here we have a range of tools — one I’d like to mention is creating tenets. Here the game begins. You start shaping team’s culture.
It’s incredibly hard for the first couple of times dealing with questions, but you learn how to deal with each of them and you become valuable asset for the team. There is the chance that you were promoted because you can handle requests well. Your new task is to gather and act on feedback.
Later on, you will teach others to do the same. You should document things that may reappear. The things that cannot be formalized right now are just a problem of a larger scale that should be solved in future. There is no need to rush for a solution while the organization is not ready yet. Act according to priorities.
As a manager, you can expect to have a higher number of meetings. While some may be complex, tedious, or seemingly insurmountable, there are opportunities to leverage them to your advantage and even initiate your own meetings. Embrace this aspect of the job and look to learn from the best. Suggest updating or creating a meetings policy to drive change.
Then, you are the one who helps develop careers. If you manage to be good in your career, you probably can help others. Just make sure you have those discussion with your teammates.
Ultimately, you’re responsible for ensuring that everything is working effectively in all aspects. You will also be the one who presents outcomes of project. Keep an eye on everything — correct only critical aspects. You determine short-term and long-term compromises, solution complexity, and points of flexibility. You must balance all factors such as time-to-market, budget, technical debt, and customer requirements to make optimal decisions. You will notice it later but your choices significantly impact project success and company direction.
Ensure that engineers have the resources they need to do their jobs, and work to remove obstacles that may impede progress.
To stay flexible, it’s important to have available time. In addition to your existing responsibilities, you’ll likely encounter new ones. New activities mean letting go of old ones. There are several options to consider: giving well-established things to others, automate certain tasks to save time, push back on some work, optimize or phase out certain activities.
You may also be responsible for recruiting and hiring new engineers, as well as restructuring teams. That leads us to the main manager responsibility — working with people.
This is a brief overview of my personal experience, and it may not apply to every situation. 500+ words are not a comprehensive overview of this topic. Subscribe to see more. I’m posting daily on Twitter
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