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How do I set expectations?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

What concrete things do I say, in a conversation with my manager to "set expectations"?

Do I say something like "I would like to ____ expectations this quarter, is it sufficient to complete project A & project B?"

What if I am new to the company, and unable to contribute meaningfully to a significant project, or there is downtime when no projects are available?

Can I say I'll fix some unknown volume of bugs this quarter?

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(3 comments)
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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [L4] [OP]
    Google
    a year ago
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a year ago

    This depends a lot on your level and company - I recommend attaching those to questions around performance next time, especially as this question is fairly high-level.

    Answering the question, I recommend the following resources:

    Do I say something like "I would like to ____ expectations this quarter, is it sufficient to complete project A & project B?"

    I think this is fine. To make it more granular, I would try to get some signal on:

    • What's a great/good/decent/bad deadline to meet
    • How to measure quality of execution (metrics movement, # of prod issues, etc)

    What if I am new to the company, and unable to contribute meaningfully to a significant project, or there is downtime when no projects are available?

    If you're a junior or mid-level engineer, I would ask other engineers on your team for work, especially senior+ ones.

    If you're a senior engineer, the expectation is more around creating scope for yourself. Here's my in-depth advice on how to do that: "How do I come up with innovative, impactful ideas and bring them to my team?"

    Can I say I'll fix some unknown volume of bugs this quarter?

    I highly recommend against this. The amount of bugs a team has will vary a lot, and the bugs themselves are highly variable. Some bugs are 100x harder to solve than others - The depth of bugs fixed is more important than raw quantity.

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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    is it sufficient to complete project A & project B?

    I don't like this framing. This makes it sounds like you're asking for a checklist of what needs to get done for your career advancement. Instead, I'd frame it as "Here's what I think is important for the team, what do you think? Do these projects align with hitting this perf goal?"

    Which company and level are you? What might be acceptable for a new grad may look very bad for a senior engineer.