With the proliferation of IT services, engineering management is often treated akin to project management. But, it is a lot more than that. Being one of the top paid IT jobs, this role rests on 6 critical pillars. Read on to know more…
#1 – Core engineering concepts and practices
As an engineering manager, you are not expected to get your hands dirty every day. However, consistent touch with the low level code is quite important.
This can be done through code/peer reviews, bug fixes, code refactoring or enhancements. Review of data structures used, application of design patterns and SOLID principles are few things you can look for in the code.
Also ensuring the continuous integration and delivery of code, including sound production deployment practices is a core competency of an engineering manager. Make sure to build your skills there!
#2 – System design
This is where you must be engaged closely with the team. Consideration of the entire gamut of system design like – modularity, scalability, performance, data design etc. is critical and the team can greatly benefit from an engineering manager’s experience.
The art lies in knowing when to get involved deeper and when to take a step back, letting the team take care of things.
#3 – Software architecture
In the era of cloud computing, software architectures can quickly get complex with multi-cloud and hybrid (cloud and on-prem) ecosystems. You must have a good grasp of various architectural patterns and assist the team in coming up with the right solutions.
A mindset of evolutionary architecture is critical for an engineering manager to have – start with what you know and continuously improve as more things are learned.
#4 – Project management
As an engineering manager, you are expected to drive product development from start to end. Good project management skills are essential to ensure successful delivery.
A good combination of traditional project management skills and agile software delivery makes an excellent engineering manager. Often there are team members who can assist, but the drive must start from this role.
#5 -Team leadership
Hiring, grooming and retaining great engineers is critical for success in an engineering management role. You must constantly get better with this.
Getting the folks with right attitude and skill set is half the job done. You must continuously work with them through 1-1 meetings, constructive feedback, incentives and coaching to ensure they turn into high performing teams.
I like Google’s direct reports thumb rule of “at least 7 direct reports” – look at your team structure and see if they can be organised better.
#6 – Tech savvy
Last but not the least, technology savviness is important for a successful engineering manager. You must be aware of the ecosystem around them, what works, what doesn’t and take right lessons back in to their product development.
Being able to talk about various advancements in blockchain, IoT, 3D-printing, cryptography etc. not only is essential for your job but opens us several networking opportunities.