Taro Logo

How to talk to manager about switching to another team?

Profile picture
Mid-Level Software Engineer at Series C Startupa month ago

I've been at this small startup (~100 engineers) for about 8 months.

I've worked on 2 different projects/teams (2 months + 6 months) for various reasons. This constant ramp up process is limiting my ability to make significant impact.

Now my manger is about to move me to another totally different project because my current project scope is transferred to another team.

The startup hasn't done a layoff yet, but the possibility is there this year.

I think I need to stop paying the ramp up cost and stick to my current area (meaning switching to the other team) so I can make bigger scope impact and avoid getting laid off.

How should I navigate this conversation with my manger?



  • Mid-Level Software Engineer
    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    Series C Startup
    a month ago

    I found a bunch of questions and answers about this topic by searching like this on Google: "switch team site:https://www.jointaro.com"

    They are helpful.

    But if anyone sees there's a unique angle to this situation please let me know.

  • Alex Chiou
    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    Sorry to hear about your team thrash - It's definitely not very conducive to software engineer growth. I 100% agree that at your career stage, it makes more sense to stick to something and get really good at it.

    Here's some tactics from my end:

    1. Mix negative with positive - The "negative" from your manager's perception is you leaving the team. The "positive" you can generate is letting them know how much you have really appreciated all the good they have done for you (as a smaller startup, I really hope this is the case and your manager has been decent to you). Your goal is to "soften the blow" of bringing up a team switch by sharing your heartfelt and genuine respect for your manager during the conversation as well.
    2. Frame it as a company gain - This is one of the things startups can uniquely do as they're more tightly knit: Employees are much more invested in the overall company as it's much smaller (and also they literally are through stock options). Contrast this to Big Tech where teams are more separate, not united, and do lots of political jockeying against each other. What I'm trying to say is that you can frame this switch as a way for you to have more impact for the whole company by sticking with an area that you're very good at.
    3. Create a plan to replace yourself - When a report asks to switch teams, the #1 question a manager will have is, "How do I fill the hole this person will leave behind?". By showing that you have thought about this question, it concretely shows that you care about your manager and their goals. In terms of how you can replace yourself, you can do it through a mix of mentorship, writing documentation, and tying up loose ends.

    I also recommend going through my series on Effective Communication if you haven't already.

    1 Like
  • Mid-Level Software Engineer
    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    Series C Startup
    a month ago

    thank you so much Alex!