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Ok to have low code output for IC5?

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Senior Software Engineer [E5] at Metaa year ago

This quarter, my skip requested/ gave me an opportunity to lead an org wide efficiency initiative as we are at risk of hitting quotas for some internal services (he mentioned potential IC6 scope) and it’s quite urgent to act on it. My role is to start and lead a large team of engineers on this initiative which involves tons of direction to ensure our org isn’t over quota. I would look my role as a hybrid of TL+ TPM with following responsibilities: analyzing data to find opportunities, creating roadmaps for the program, supporting engineers for execution to reduce usage, project management, understanding and enforcing processes, building knowledge on internal services, coaching engineers, setting Eng excellence culture within the org. All that to say, given limited time and a need for someone to lead, I will be focusing on direction and delegate all of the execution work to the squad.

  1. How risky is it to have low code output as an IC5? Given the year is just starting, does it make sense to explicitly discuss this with my manager and skip that my code output will be close to zero in Q1?

I did read some accounts (anon post on WP) where EM and skip aligning on low code out out but the IC5 still got MM at the end because they had only 10 diffs for a half. I don’t want to be in that position.

  1. Should I deprioritize some direction work and allocate some time for coding on my timeline through P2 projects? This will increase diff count but that just seems not a great usage of my time. TIA!
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  • 7
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    Meta, Robinhood, Baidu
    a year ago

    Meta nowadays? Pretty risky. It's risky even back in 2017. All engineers up to E6 were forced into a rigid mold back then and only E7 may achieve "escape velocity" -- not being evaluated as a list of checkboxes against a peer. (One director predicted that E7 would soon be the same at the time.)

    I can share what I saw. There was one cycle I was a TLM. I wrote like 20 diffs. My manager and their peer managers were aligned on giving me an MA. There was a director outside of our report chain acting as the org-level representative. That director's job was to sit through all calibrations in the org and make sure they are holding up the bar in the same way. They had no knowledge of my work and probably little context of our team's work (because they were not in our report chain at all and our team reported directly to our VP). They made one quick comment after seeing the metrics on screen: "20 diffs? It has to be a MM or lower for a TLM." That's it. (Our VP wasn't in the room to counter that.)


    How managers usually deal with this:

    1. Talk to peer managers. Explain why this direct report will be making a huge impact but has to sacrifice coding quantity. Get peer managers on board. If any peer manager disagrees it fails.
    2. Talk to the director and/or VP to get them on board. They know the context and the necessity of sacrificing this engineer's coding quantity for something more valuable, but they need to be ready to put their reputation out there to defend this engineer. If they don't have the willingness it fails.
    3. Double-check with HRBP to make sure they don't have a strong opinion on this matter.

    If any step fails, the manager goes back to tap the shoulder of this engineer and reminds them to deal with the coding quantity. Sometimes the manager would even suggest a high-coding-quantity-low-time-cost project. The project is probably not very impactful, but everybody is just trying to play along with the game at this point.


    There was a time I reported to one director. They were very straightforward about me having to deal with my diff count. I was like "I'm working on the most critical work the team needs to succeed. Am I right?" and he was like "Yes. You are doing the right thing. But still... Just deal with your diff count."

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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    did read some accounts (anon post on WP) where EM and skip aligning on low code out out but the IC5 still got MM at the end because they had only 10 diffs for a half.

    Hehe, I think we read the exact same post in e-non-managers. 😆

    A question I have for you is "How low is low?". If I were to throw a number out there, having less than 25 diffs a half is risky, even if you're totally crushing the people/direction axes for an E5. As Cat mentioned, I would advise against this.

    From my experience, E6 is the point where I saw more engineers with that <25 diffs/half number do well. It was very, very rare at E5.

    Should I deprioritize some direction work and allocate some time for coding on my timeline through P2 projects?

    If you need to just bolster diff count, BE is the way. I have given this advice to many Meta E3/E4/E5 mentees and it's always yielded results. There's got to be some BE projects in your team's scope that are P1 at least. Meta is filled to the brim with jank.

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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