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What Does An Engineering Manager Actually Do?

In order to work together optimally with your engineering manager (EMs), you should have a great understanding of their perspective and incentives.

Here are the core points from the video:

  • Engineering managers shouldn't do technical work - They need to influence the code of the team without writing it, reviewing it, or designing it. This is an extremely hard job.
  • So what specifically do EMs do? - Ultimately the EM's goal is to make the team land impact, and this can manifest in many different ways (some of which engineers don't want to hear about). If you are a good performer, it's in the manager's best interest to foster your talent and grow you. If you aren't (i.e. you're dragging the team down), it's possible the manager believes firing you to be the best choice for the team. Outside of managing performance, there are tasks like removing non-technical blockers and making people work better together that EMs do to keep the impact engine going.

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