Introducing the staff role
Introducing a new level in your existing leveling framework and organization is not trivial, but can be an effective way of scaling your engineering demands in a growing org. I outlined a cheat sheet of steps on how a new role can be introduced without creating havoc. The title of this article mentions the staff level since that is quite the hype nowadays to have, but the underlying principle works for almost all kinds of individual contributor and manager levels, especially after the senior stage.
Handing over engineers between managers
Having your manager change is never easy - even in the best case, you will lose someone who was rooting for you and had your best interest in mind, only to start the whole journey anew with a stranger. Re-building a shared context and a trust relationship after a handover is significant work. I collected a few ideas from performing more than 20 handovers to make that process a bit smoother.
Letting People go
I loathe letting people go. Many things bring pleasure in the work of an Engineering Manager, but some aspects are horrible, but they have to be done, and they have to be done by us. I was fortunate enough in my career that I had to do it very rarely, but enough to have an opinion on it by now. In a way, this is the guidance I wish I had myself for the first time.
When I need to grow my engineering organization, I often prefer growing and splitting teams over bootstrapping completely new teams. Even though growing teams is slower than just bootstrapping on the green field, I still go for it as you can spread and transfer the most domain and tribal knowledge into both new teams, and keep your existing culture largely constant. During the hypergrowth of Personio, I was fortunate enough to participate in multiple teamsplit events, and I collected my learnings and what went well in this article.
Navigating the economic downturn as an Engineering Manager
We are right in the middle of a pretty serious economic downturn: We see big layoffs at major tech companies, the stock market is on fire and all companies are switching gears. I collected some thoughts on how Engineering Managers can best navigate this downturn and adapt what we’ve been doing during the boom years. Let’s explore good ways on how to do more with less, how to support our teams during this cycle and how we could adapt our hiring for the time to come.