What do engineering managers create together?

Engineering managers may recognize that they belong to a “first team” outside of their reporting team, but it won’t necessarily be obvious what that team does. Forcing the issue solves for this ambiguity: acting like a group of peers has a shared purpose creates the space needed to give their level of the hierarchy meaning, and therefore effectiveness.rL1 There are several categories of purpose a level engineering managers can adopt.

They can take responsibility for the competence of the engineering management function by training together, learning from each others’ mistakes and ideas, and by building a rubric together.

They can intentionally foster the engineering culture that’s needed together by deciding how to promote cultural practices such as documentation or cross-team integration.

They may also promote the macro architecture by analyzing cross-team issues together and connecting the dots across the product.

Ultimately, this group serves at the leisure of its directorship, but may instead collaborate to create a better organization.

  1. Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, 1st ed (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012). (See notes.)