Engineering managers should have 6–8 ICs or accept other tradeoffs.

With this number, they can fully adopt the responsibilities of an engineering manager. Fewer can lead to a tech lead manager, which harms both their technical and management growth over the long term. More reports reduces an engineering manager to a coach and safety net, dropping other engineering manager responsibilies.rL6

  1. William Larson, An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management, First edition (San Francisco, Calif.: Stripe Press / Stripe Matter Inc., 2019). (See notes.)