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Engineering Management Q&A and Videos

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Being a good manager is hard enough already - It's even tougher for engineering. Learn more about this complex craft and how you can land a stellar engineering manager yourself.

How to give constructive upward feedback towards an Engineering Manager?

Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Software Engineer at Taro Community

A bit of context, I've read the EM videos on Taro, and I feel the one that I have is not on the same levels. They lack of many things. I fear to provide the proper feedback because my promotion and appraisal is on the line.

They got promoted from SDE 1 to EM because of the funding

  1. I would recommend my manager to others?
    ~ For people management yes, for technical stuff no
  2. My manager assigns stretch opportunities to help me develop in my career?
    ~ I don't really understand this question
  3. My manager communicates clear goals for our team
    ~ No they don't, don't have any documentation, a system design decisions are made on ad hoc basis, team is not aware about the changes.
  4. My manager consistently shows consideration for me as a person
    ~ yes people ops are good
  5. My manager effectively collaborates across boundaries(eg team, org)
    ~ Nope, there are certain teams expecting the manager to steer the ship but since there is no planning many of the things are pending
  6. My manager gives me actionable feedback on a regular basis
    ~ Nope 1-1 is there is no feedback for me
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past six months
    ~ Yep promotion and appraisal talks as I'm identified as top IC + team lead who is proactive
  8. My manager has the technical expertise required to effectively manage me.
    ~ Nope, they lack
  9. My manager keeps the team focused on priorities, even when its difficult
    ~ This they do but always the output has no value only there is a hype and fear to get things done, no business value is generated
  10. My manager makes tough decisions effectively
    ~ They reorg the team only thinking them as a resource rather than how much context and individual has made in the project
  11. My manager provides the autonomy I need to do my job
    ~ They do and then I plan it accordingly but when a junior goes to manager he changes the scope and context
  12. What would you have your manager change?
  13. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?

But, overall I fear to write what I wish to communicate to the leadership.

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I'm Sanjay, Senior Director at a Series B Startup. AMA!

Sanjay Siddhanti (Senior Director of Engineering at AKASA) profile pic
Sanjay Siddhanti (Senior Director of Engineering at AKASA)

I'm doing a soon: I'll use this thread to collect questions and will follow up to answer anything we don't cover within the hour.

I'm Sanjay ( / ) -- I'm a Stanford grad (same as Rahul), where I got a BS in Computer Science and MS in Biomedical Informatics. I've built my entire career in the Bay Area, with the past 5 years at AKASA, an AI healthcare company to help revenue cycle teams.

I'm the Senior Director of Engineering at AKASA. I joined AKASA in 2019 as one of the first employees when we were a seed-stage startup. I originally joined AKASA as an individual contributor, and quickly switched over to management. I built much of the company's early technology as an IC and later as a tech lead / manager. I also started and managed multiple engineering teams at the company, including Platform Engineering, now an org with 20 engineers.

Happy to answer questions about:

  • How engineering leaders think about the role of Senior, Staff, and Principal ICs
  • How and why to transition from IC to management
  • The differences between an Engineering Manager vs Engineering Director
  • How to hire and retain great talent
  • How to succeed in a startup environment

I can also discuss how to introduce effective development processes (code reviews, agile development, postmortems, planning, etc) in early-stage companies and how to evolve these practices as a company grows.

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How to deal with internal team "level" jealousy?

Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community

In a previous team and organisation I had 3 different reports.

Lvl 5, lvl 4 & a lvl 2

I was the only remote member of the team, so at times it was difficult to fully understand the social and team dynamics within their office. I initially was unaware of any jealousy within the team until I was asked to fly out for a week for an unrelated reason. When on the ground, it become very clear to me there was a strong level of tension between some of the employees.

  • The lvl 5 was jealous of 2 of their friends who were now lvl 6 because they joined the organisation at the same time.
  • The lvl 4 was a strong performer who was happy with their current position.
  • However the lvl 2 who was an apprentice, was an outstanding performer (approx lvl 6) and it was close to witnessing a savant, especially at their age (18).

However there was no possible way for them to go up any higher as their role was tied to the completion of a certain stint of education.

This, alongside that the lvl 5 had aspirations of becoming a lvl 6 but was severely under performing which was especially noticeable by the lvl 2 - made things very awkward and difficult to navigate.

The outcome of this in the end was that I would support the lvl 2 in finding another role in a different organisation and with the lvl 5, we had a long discussion alongside my director to work out a plan of how they can start adding more value and improving their position within the team.

How could I have gone about this differently to create a more positive environment for the team?

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