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Engineering Management: Lessons learned in first year

By John Lafleur 1 minute read

TL;DR: An interesting self-reflection on the 1st year as an engineering manager.

Take up this role only if you want to be people-first

This role is not about the tech. It is also about the tech. It is primarily about the people.
Your puzzle is no longer technology. Your puzzle is humans. You have to switch from “ignore-the-human, solve-the-problem” approach to “solve-the-human, ignore-the-problem” approach. So you need to remind yourself to trust your reports that they will solve the tech, the tech is not your job any more.

Only 2 things matter: Results & Retention

These are the fundamentals. Everything else is a distraction.
Results means ensuring projects are delivered on time and deliver the desired results, e.g. increased revenue for the company.
Retention means ensuring that teammates are engaged in their jobs, are unblocked in performing their tasks, and that they have challenging projects and career growth.

Always Be Learning, Trying, Reflecting

Communication is Hard

  • Tailor communications to each person’s way of understanding and interests. Some people are text-oriented, some are verbal-oriented, some are visual-oriented, some are interactive, some take time to reflect, and so on.
  • Attention is tweet-sized. Nobody reads longer than few sentences, unless it’s directly related to task at hand.


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