An Engineering Manager’s sprintly checklist

In addition to the community checklist of the team, I also keep a personal checklist which I visit at the end of every sprint. This keeps me on track towards the overall goal of being a successful leader.

  1. Assess the sentiment of the team going forward, did it change from last sprint? Generally the sentiment should not differ greatly inter sprints unless there was an outlying incident. If something arose during the sprint which could not be dealt with in the community retrospective, then create action items to deal with it. If the sentiment of the team has been declining with a trend then one must have a plan to break this skid as it can affect performance and delivery of the team.
  2. Receiving and providing feedback. I make sure that I provide feedback to all my directs if needed. I keep this feedback channel bidirectional and always encourage people to provide feedback. Most of this is done during the 1on1s. I also check with my peers and my leads to receive, provide, or bubble feedback. It is easy to lose track of feedback so it is important to make sure that you have completed this task on a sprintly basis.
  3. Set goals for the upcoming sprints and assess progress of my past goals. Bring past goals to upcoming sprint if the assessment is not satisfactory.
  4. Do I know more about my ICs than last sprint? I make it a sprintly goal to learn something new about my ICs. This something doesn’t have to be about every single IC, but for me it is not acceptable to go through a sprint without strengthening my connection with my ICs. Lunches, at the end of day chats, 1on1s are all great opportunities to make progress on this front.
  5. Check whether I have all the status on all ongoing projects. Also check if I have to provide status.
  6. Update my personal velocity matrix for the whole team. If velocity if showing any alarming signs, then derive action items.
  7. Make sure I am somewhat satisfied with grooming. Get feedback on backlog and tech debt. Get a good idea of priorities of items in my backlog and tech debt bucket.
  8. Did I complete all my 1on1s? If not make sure I rearrange my upcoming 1on1s and prioritize the ones that I missed last sprint.
  9. Look into the future, have a capacity matrix of my team for the next couple of months based on upcoming sprints, events, or vacations.
  10. Glance at my meetings schedule for the next week, prepare for important ones if I have to.
  11. Check whether I can pull something into my monthly assessment.