I recently joined Amazon as a boomerang after a few years here. I am on a newly-forming team that has a few SDEs without a SDM. I've been wanting to get into a SDM role and haven't seen a ton of opportunities internally for switching. I am aware of the differences between SDE and SDM since I've gone through the expectations for each role.
Here are some things I've done on helping grow teams:
I just joined a few weeks ago, so I'm aware this is sudden. I'm not sure if an opportunity like this is going to happen anytime soon. I'd like to get others' perspectives if I brought this up to the interim Sr. SDM. Would it look bad if I asked to be my new team's SDM and what sort of consequences could result from this?
From the things you listed, you're certainly on the right track in terms of showing SDM competencies.
If you haven't spent at least a few months in the role, give it more time because it's a much stronger case if others naturally advocate for you to be an SDM due to the managerial impact you've had vs. making an explicit ask early on.
Most places have a "conversation promotion policy" where they'd like to see you operate effectively at the next level (or within a new role laterally) before giving you the title change.
If you have the opportunity to do the work of an SDM, making an impact and gaining valuable experience while doing so, you're already achieving what you want other than the title itself. Similar to not directly chasing compensation, the title is better achieved as a byproduct, especially internally (switching jobs warrants a whole separate conversation).
If you're looking for more acceleration, here are a couple of additional managerial-level things you can do.
A lot of this traces back to systems thinking and is an increasingly useful skill as you progress on the leadership track.
DM me if you want to unpack this topic more.
Asking to be the team's SDM just a couple weeks in would be a bad move - It's at least a yellow flag, and I would personally consider it a red flag. It will give the impression that your main goals are all the reasons why bad engineering managers get into the role (title-chasing, clout, power).
As Casey mentioned, the best (and most likely to succeed) engineering manager transitions are organic and go like this:
Since you're new on the team, you will need to take time to do Steps #1 and #2. It will take at least 3 months and will probably be closer to 6 (and above). Once you get to Step #3, you should try mentoring engineers on the earlier side of Amazon SDE 2/L5 as well. Being able to grow SDE 1/L4 isn't enough to sustain L5 SDM scope.
All that being said, this doesn't mean you can't mention your aspirations here at all - You absolutely should. With your manager, I would phrase it in a way where you talk about your passion for mentorship and adding value to others. From there, springboard to the fact that you want to become an SDM someday. The ideal outcome is that you start crushing it so fast (something Taro is great for helping with), that the thought of making you the SDM in this void organically pops into your manager's head on their own.
Going from IC -> M track is a gargantuan can of worms, so I highly recommend this playlist to learn more about the transition and set yourself up for success with it: [Taro Top 10] Software Engineer To Engineering Manager (IC -> M Track)
Thank you both for your replies.
For what's it's worth, I did mention with my new manager when I joined the team for which I became an EM for, that I would be interested in exploring engineering management if the opportunity ever came up. I did not mention that I want to be the EM for this team. I frankly probably wouldn't have really considered it then.
So I agree w/ Casey and Alex that it's probably not a good idea to go into this with the mindset that you are going to be the EM for this team. I think you could still discuss your career goals in becoming an EM, for them to keep in their mind. Definitely continue to show competency and just try to help the team as much as you can. Even if they end up hiring a new EM, the trust and reputation you build through this will help you regardless. Who knows, maybe the opportunity to lead a sister team will come up, and they will think of you!
@Kuan Peng thanks for your reply, I'll shift my mindset how I approach this.