Setting the platform with your team — A Manager’s README

A crucial part of being an engineering manager is on-boarding to a new team, or on-boarding others to yours. The important bits there is setting correct two-way expectations and atmosphere for how you will be working together.

With that in mind, and drawing inspiration from Matt Newkirk, and Roy Rapoport I documented my values and short list of philosophies & expectations that paints a clear picture of team dynamics.

I here by give you a document of my own Manager README.


Eran, as your manager,

I’m excited to get to know you more organically through chats, taking on challenges together, and day to day activities, but a few up-front things about my philosophies that might be helpful.

I’m here to help, support, and mentor you, to set context for what you’re working on, and to advocate for you and the team with the rest of the company.

it’s all about you

📆 My calendar might look scary, but I’m here for you! If you see a good time on my calendar, please schedule something (you don’t need to ask first). If there’s urgency and you can’t get a meeting with me for a while, just let me know and I’ll make time. If you need to reschedule something, that is not a problem! I endeavor to make all of my calendar events with modify privileges and you should feel free to go ahead and move it to some other time slot that’s within business hours and not conflicting with other meetings.

Process and Software Development

I strongly believe in putting people over process and adopting processes or tools to accommodate our needs and goals.

  • I value transparency about what’s happened, what’s happening, and what’s going to happen.
  • I value ownership, and operation freedom, including proactive efforts that keep us moving quickly. e.g. reaching out early to relevant stakeholders, and pushing tasks outside of your direct area of responsibility.
  • I value risk taking, innovations and new initiatives, and as such I strive to instill an atmosphere of trust, ego-free, and healthy feedback for a safe environment to experiment, fail, and succeed.
Yoda knows it best
  • I value quality and high level of engineering culture. e.g. clean code, design reviews, writing tests, refactoring legacy code before a new feature, pairing on work to improve our code quality & bus factor, and automating everything.

🗣️ Feedback is very important to me

In situations where anonymous feedback is suggested, you’ll probably hear me suggesting that you provide direct feedback, though anonymous feedback is better than none. I’m dedicated to giving you clear and timely feedback and hope that you’ll give me the same. I believe that feedback requires three attributes:

  • Safety (you should feel safe to give and receive candid feedback)
  • Effort (neither you nor I should feel defensive about the feedback)
  • Benefit (giving/receiving feedback should have impact)

Please let me know if I’m doing poorly on any of these attributes. I’ll return the favor!

💪 I’m big on empowerment and mentoring

This is essentially why I love being an engineering manager, and I would like to make the best of it with you.

I’m looking forward to finding your areas of interests and work together towards your growth, contributions and accomplishments in these areas. Whether you want to venture into the open source community, become a public speaker, or lead a significant software or architecture design process — I am here to get you there! (or any other place your area of interest lies).

I’m looking forward to celebrate many wins with you!

let’s win!

👩‍🏫 1:1 meetings

I’m big on 1:1s too. I believe these meetings are a great place for you to actively set an agenda. What would you like to talk about? What’s going well? What’s bugging you?

We will also explore short status updates on tasks and project status to make sure we cover any red flags, or open items that I can help with. For remote chats, I have a difficult time focusing unless I can see your face over video. The length, frequency, and medium are also up to you, but my hope is that we’ll have at least 30 minutes a week. This is only a minimum though, and not a maximum!

Relationships

I endeavor to have a great working relationship with you, and I would encourage you to have great working relationships with your peers and business partners (in the office and/or on your team), as well as other folks in other offices to get a sense of how things work outside of our team. I’m happy to make introductions for you or provide networking suggestions to help you do that.

Your Philosophies

I’ve written a lot here about my philosophies but a fair amount of my job is adapting to your needs and philosophies, and I look forward to talking to you about them!


Much inspired by Matt’s Share Your Manager README article.
Thanks Matt!