Software Leadership Roles at Redgate

Gareth Bragg
Feb 12 · 4 min read
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Photo by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash

We’ve already shared what a software engineering career looks like at Redgate, but there’s far more to the modern software organisation than engineering alone.

One area we take special care of at Redgate is how we work together to build and deliver that software. This branch of our career progression framework stems from an engineering background, and must maintain a degree of technical competence, but rather than focusing on the tech it looks far more at how we build and deliver our software, if we’re prioritising the right kinds of work, and how we look after our people.

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Leading, technically

Our Tech Leads tend to be former Software Engineers, although they could be from any background. Many Tech Leads stay very hands-on with product code, but they have other demands on their time.

Much of that time goes on leading the team, collaborating with Product Managers and Product Designers in what we call a Product Leadership Group. Tech Leads bring a powerful technical voice in understanding what the team is trying to achieve, what success looks like, and how the team will work to hit the targets we’re aiming for.

They also manage all the software engineers on their team. That means regular one-to-one catchups, career development conversations, and giving support as needed. When push comes to shove, supporting and nurturing these folks is the top priority of a good team leader.

We’ve found in the past that roles like this can be lonely, especially for folks taking their first steps into leadership & management. While they get support from their manager (one of our Development Leads) and Coaches, our Tech Leads also support each other through an internal peer group, providing tactical support while also teaching important leadership topics.

Being a Tech Lead keeps me challenged and learning every day. There are many skills outside of engineering that I need to master, and I must confess — I am not a natural in people management, or team leadership, or facilitation…

These are some areas of my skillset I am working on improving, and I get excellent support. It’s not an easy path but it is one that allows me to have greater impact and gives me a lot of satisfaction.

- Maya Malakova, Tech Lead

Who leads the leaders?

Being able to understand and appreciate both technical and professional problems is crucial, but the onus is on helping people closer to the problems solve them as only they can. Dev Leads play a key role with the Product Leadership Groups we mentioned earlier, holding these groups accountable to their purpose, mission, and objectives to ensure they stay on-course.

Their greatest differentiator is deep knowledge of all things agile/lean. From agile fundamentals like scrum and Kanban, through to the latest trends like OKRs and dynamic reteaming, our Dev Leads take on an almost coach-like role in supporting our teams to adopt new working practices.

Add in a wealth of experience in facilitation and conflict resolution, and you have a cross-skilled person who’s well-placed to support several engineering teams.

Our Dev Leads are also experienced people managers. They line manage our Tech Leads and Product Designers, ensuring they have the rounded skillsets they need to lead our teams forward.

“As a Development Lead, I enjoy a breadth of responsibilities.

One hour I might be working very closely with a Tech Lead to help them clarify the goal for their team. The next hour I might be facilitating a personal development session to help someone with their career development.”

- Priya Sinha, Dev Lead

Pulling it all together

That means a wide range of things. Line managing our Dev Leads. Owning our annual reteaming process. Collaborating with the heads of Design and Engineering to keep our crafts moving forward. Ultimately it means caring about people, about development opportunities, and about doing the right work.

“Our development teams and their team leaders are much closer to the day-to-day action of developing our products than I am. They are in a much better place to make informed decisions over what they should build and how they should build it.

My job it to create an environment where they can do that. Where our teams have a clear purpose, the context & freedom they need to take those decisions, and the space to hone their approach & skills.

It can feel quite a responsibility sometimes, but if you get it right you can have a really positive impact on peoples’ working lives.”

- Chris Smith, Head of Product Delivery

So, there are our delivery-centric roles. They pull on collaboration, agility, and leadership to take Redgate from exciting individuals to high-performing teams.

If you’d like to know more about our career paths at Redgate, you can read about them at progression.red-gate.com.

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Maya Malakova, Priya Sinha, and Chris Smith

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