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Transition period with old manager and working with a new interim manager

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Senior Software Engineer at Panasonica month ago

My manager gave his 2 week notice today for personal reasons. The company is working on backfilling his role which in the meantime will be handled by his manager. I recently started this job a few months ago, so while I have worked closely with my manager, I haven't yet worked with his manager or other managers in the org yet.

Here are my questions around making this transition smooth:

  • What can I do in the next 2 weeks to ensure that the work I've done with my manager is captured well for other people in the org to notice?
  • How do I best approach the last one-on-one with my manager?
  • And how can I make a good impression with my new interim manager?
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Discussion

(4 comments)
  • 2
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    Eng @ Taro
    a month ago
    • And how can I make a good impression with my new interim manager?

    Try to make it as easy as possible for your new interim manager to understand the context behind all of your work and your team's work. You want to be the person that the interim manager can lean on when they have any questions, and they should have a lot of questions. Be responsive to their messages and addressing any problems in this initial period.

  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    What can I do in the next 2 weeks to ensure that the work I've done with my manager is captured well for other people in the org to notice?

    Make a document.

    It should be quite similar to a self-review for a performance review. The core sections can be:

    • Your major accomplishments
    • The scope you own and future projects within that scope going forward
    • Your preferred working style

    In other words, it's sort of an "onboarding document" for your manager to quickly establish the alignment and relationship between you two. Go through it in your first or second 1 on 1 meeting with your manager.

    Zooming out, putting together this document shouldn't be too hard if you have been following the Taro advice of being very visible with your work. Ideally, you can just link artifacts like project documents, big Slack/Teams posts, and more. Here's a good resource around that: "How to get more visibility on work?"

    I also highly recommend this: [Masterclass] How To Work Better With Your Engineering Manager

    Best of luck with the new EM!

  • 3
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    How do I best approach the last one-on-one with my manager?

    Most of the work should be done ahead of time, if you follow what Alex suggested. Things like having a 3-way meeting and ensuring your new manager knows your impact + priorities.

    With all that done, I would not focus on your day-to-day job. Focus on career direction, ask about what your manager is doing next, what they're excited about, what industry trends they're seeing. Basically, make a deeper connection with them that goes beyond the current company.

    These "final" 1:1s are often where you get the most honest answers! So maximize its potential by talking about the bigger picture. The tech world is small and you could work with them again.

  • 4
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    Senior Director of Engineering at AKASA
    a month ago

    Manager changes are always turbulent. In this situation, your manager is being asked to transition dozens of items before they leave, and they may not get to everything. Similarly, your new interim manager now has two full time jobs and won't have time to be involved in all the details. As a result, my advice is to be proactive and make it very clear what you need from both individuals as part of the transition.

    What can I do in the next 2 weeks to ensure that the work I've done with my manager is captured well for other people in the org to notice?

    Write a document outlining a) your accomplishments so far in the role b) your ongoing projects and c) what support you need. Additionally, briefly describe your career goals and working style. Keep it to 1-2 pages. Circulate this doc to your departing and new managers and ask if they have any questions.

    • How do I best approach the last one-on-one with my manager?

    As Rahul said, ask for honest feedback. Thank them for their mentorship. Wish them good luck in their next adventure. Offer to keep in touch. Not too much to do in this meeting. If you actually need any specific help from them, be sure to ask for that well in advance of their last day.

    • And how can I make a good impression with my new interim manager?

    Don't complain. Demonstrate maturity and a willingness to help the company succeed.

    Your interim manager is going to hear a bunch of people complaining about how disruptive it is to lose their manager, how they are lacking direction with their manager gone, etc.

    You can flip the script by offering to go above and beyond. Understand that your interim manager will be swamped, and offer to help wherever you can take work off their plate. Onboard them to the codebase, help run sprint ceremonies, etc.

    Also, assume they know nothing about you. Make it easy for them to get to know you. Continue reminding them what you're working on at the first several 1:1s, as they are absorbing a lot of new info at once. Continue to execute well against your own work so you can earn their trust.

    Good luck!