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How to leave trace of evidence for promotion?

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Senior Software Engineer [E5] at Metaa month ago

I recently started a side project that could have an org level impact soon within this year. The feedback for the prototype is pretty good and I got a green-light to put more bandwidth in it.

I used to think once I get the good work done, promotion should come naturally. But both my manager and skip manager are telling me to leave proper documentation and communication as evidence for promotion - docs like PRD, roadmap planning, status update etc.

I usually do communications pretty well, so their feedback make me wonder if I missing something for a staff level promotion.

  • What kind of evidence is being valued in a staff promo packet? Any differences between senior and staff promo packet?
  • What do I need to highlight and keep track of if I'm creating scope outside of daily work?
  • What kind of data I should keep track of to quantify the impact? How do you usually learn about finding the matrix to track?

Thanks!

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(2 comments)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    I shared my communication strategy for Senior to Staff at Meta here: [Case Study] Effective Communication: Leading A Multi-Org Re-architecture At Meta. This includes things like regular status updates, launch posts, and inviting feedback as you make progress.

    A Staff level promo will have a lot of nuances since that's the level you start to have a brand, e.g. Code Machine, Product Engineer, Architect, etc. So the ideal evidence for you will depend on the brand you're building.

    Here's one way to think about it: if I ask your manager, tech lead, and director on the team about your unique value in one line, what would you want them to say? Talk about this with your manager. They'll be presenting your packet in calibrations, so you want them to have the same narrative.

    On your question of the main difference between Senior and Staff, I'd say a big one is focused on the Direction axis at Meta. Most Staff Engineers should be able to contribute/decide what an entire team of engineers will work on for the next 6-9 months.

    I talk about this a bunch in my Senior to Staff course (not open now but might be this summer).

  • 2
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    It's important to remember that perception and reality are 2 very different things with the following characteristics:

    1. It is easy for them to drift apart
    2. Perception is (painfully) more important that reality

    For #1, it is extremely common at a fast-paced company like Meta. It looks like the reality is that you are creating enough proper project artifacts, but the perception is that you're lacking. This means that you need to put in the work to align the 2 again, especially if both your manager and your skip think you aren't doing enough documentation.

    Ask them specifically which projects seemed lacking in documentation to them and what documents in particular they would have liked to see. If they respond and it turns out they were incorrect that X was missing, show them X. However, this is a band-aid fix that doesn't solve the root cause: Why was their perception of you lower than your reality in the first place?

    The answer is almost always that you can communicate even more. Many engineers don't realize how big the communication tax is at Meta, myself included when I first started there. For Meta in particular, try writing more and better Workplace posts. cc people more aggressively and always link relevant docs (don't be afraid to do this again and again as people might miss them the first times). Here's a great resource about writing stellar Workplace posts: "How to get more visibility on work?"

    Check out our senior to staff playlist as well: [Taro Top 10] Senior Engineer To Staff Engineer (L5 To L6)

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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