Setting your engineers up for success: how Skyscanner created greater clarity in our competencies and pathways to progression

  • Some Engineering Managers having a gut feel that a engineer had a gap in their performance, but couldn’t relate that to the competency framework expectations
  • Some Engineering Managers feeling uncomfortable to deliver feedback because they were not sure if they were being over-demanding or if their ask was within the expectations of that level
  • Some Engineers feeling frustrated because they were not fully sure how a gap highlighted by their manager connected to the expectations in the competency framework

Making the competency framework second nature for everyone

  • Technical skills
  • Delivery and impact
  • Culture and behaviours
  • Scope of the work
  • etc
An image showing competencies across levels

Easy comparison

An image showing how our levels and expectations look now

Training all the engineering management community

  • Firstly, one of the Competency Pillars is presented and the differences between each level outlined (e.g. Scope)
  • Then, the audience is split in breakout groups where an example is presented to them. Using the Levels Visualisation Guide, they need to assess the performance of the engineer for this very particular example
  • After a few minutes, the audience regroups and shares their findings. Usually, the exercises include some pitfalls, which are revealed to the audience
  • The same is repeated with the other competency pillars

Results and next steps

  • During our regular Performance Calibration process, we observed Engineering Managers are significantly more confident on their assessments, using the Levels Visualisation Guide as an additional tool to help understand performance
  • Feedback collected after training indicates an improvement of the understanding of the competency framework by 34%

I like the idea! How can I do the same in my company?

  • Take a Competency Pillar which is very clear and known in your company. For instance, Expertise/Skills is normally less ambiguous than something such as Impact/Delivery
  • Attempt to build a side by side comparison of each level for this pillar. In the beginning focus in levels up to Senior Engineer, leaving other levels such as Principal/Staff engineer for later
  • Present this comparison to a pilot group to collect early feedback and buy-in
  • As traction is gained, add more competency pillars, add the remaining levels and start expanding to other tribes
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Skyscanner Engineering

Skyscanner Engineering

We are the engineers at Skyscanner, the company changing how the world travels. Visit to see how we walk the talk!