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Is an abrupt team change by management a bad indicator of performance?

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Associate Member of Technical Staff at Taro Communitya month ago

I had recently joined as an entry-level engineer 6 months ago, and I have been told now that I will be basically working as part of two teams, with half of my time devoted to each one. So I will essentially continue to deliver some work to my current team, while learning a new tech under the same org and delivering to them as well.

The new team I will be working with is still unsure, I have been given two options and have been told about the scope of each of them, I have to revert back with an answer in a few days. I have been told that priorities might change, and adjustments will be made accordingly. So everything is a bit dicey at the moment.

My concern relating to this is:

  • Is this an indication of my current team not having sufficient work for an entry-level software engineer like me? It is a database-ops team, already having 2 senior-level developers. Furthermore, is it an indication that I am not delivering at the level they expected and hence my abilities are not of use in the current scenario?
  • I haven't explicitly received any negative feedback from my manager or my peers so far, and have been overworking sometimes. However the current change is a bit overwhelming given it is still not sure where I would be used as a resource, or if my work is actually making an impact. Also even though there is no negative feedback, there has also not been a lot of positive encouragement, it is like a neutral situation where I have been told I am meeting expectations, but it feels like I might not be exceeding them, or might just be an average performer.

Just wanted to know if anyone here has faced this before, or have any insights on this. Also since the market is bad, I am a bit concerned that this change might not be an excuse for a future layoff or something like that.

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Discussion

(2 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    This is a weird situation, but I've seen it before, often with more junior engineers like yourself who are loaned out as extra coding forces. Overall, I don't think this is a bad thing or sign of low performance for the following reasons:

    1. These moves are expensive and risky - It takes time for you to onboard into the new team's tech and for management to coordinate these loans. The company wouldn't spend these resources on an engineer they want out. It makes 0 sense.
    2. Low performers are isolated, not spread out - Low performers drag the team down, especially low-performing juniors as they write messy code, aren't independent, and don't deliver tickets on time. It makes -100 sense to multiply these attributes across several teams like a virus, which is why low performers tend to have their scope reduced to set up for a cleaner PIP/firing.

    I actually think things are probably the opposite. You're trusted as a solid to above average performer, and they want to save you from not having enough scope to hit the performance review bar.

    That being said, you should just talk about this with your manager and clear up the ambiguity. Watch the following video (and the parent video if you have time): How To Work With Your Manager To Get The Performance Review Rating You Want

    Another thing to consider is to just switching to the 2nd team full-time if they have enough scope for an entire junior engineer with some extra to justify a mid-level promotion. Here's some good resources on identifying good teams: [Taro Top 10] How To Find A Good Engineering Team And Company

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    Associate Member of Technical Staff [OP]
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    Thanks a lot for the insights and suggestions, Alex! That really helps shed some clarity on the situation