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Choosing your tech partner, it's crucial to recognize the signs of knowledgeable and effective engineering managers. Why? They are the ones who would optimize tech solutions to achieve your business goals. Drawing from my experience, here are 6 signs showing that the engineering manager you're working knows the ropes.
An experienced engineering managers know that their role is context-dependent. In a product company, engineering manager would ensure product development, communicate a lot with product managers and look for ways to extract customer insights. In contrast, engineering managers in outsourcing would often manage diverse stakeholders and mixed teams with varying accesses and influences. So, look for signs that your engineering manager aligns their strategies and decisions with the specific needs of your project or company, whether it's achieving product-market fit, developing a product, or reducing tech debt.
task management mastery
A knowledgeable engineering manager juggles numerous tasks without compromising quality. One key to that is effective prioritization. Check on whether your engineering manager is good at identifying what is essential and whether they drive it through. Vice versa, make sure you’ve made your point clear on what is crucial for your business at the moment.
empowerment and collaboration
A skilled engineering manager often shares authority with teammates. Their ultimate goal is to build a team that is capable of making decisions on their own. Evaluate if your engineering manager trusts their team's expertise and encourages all teammates to contribute, creating a sense of ownership. Later on, it will convert in less micromanagement from your side, increasing delivery speed.
A proficient engineering manager values open communication. Pay attention to how the engineering manager encourages the team to voice concerns early, preventing issues from escalating. This transparency will ensure you stay informed of everything and adjust your course, if needed.
Skilled engineering managers prioritize planning by breaking down tasks. They almost atomize them. The smaller the task is, the easier it is to predict how long it will take to accomplish. This approach also minimizes the risks in case of non-delivery. Good engineering managers also involve teammates in planning and assessing the load. The best among them lay out concerns and risks upfront to avert surprises. So, do keep away from engineering managers who commit to doing large projects on a spot without previously considering them well. And — pay attention to whether the engineering manager's approach enhances the predictability of your project development.
team dynamics sensitivity
A good engineering manager also understands team dynamics. Evaluate if your engineering manager addresses gaps when adding new members or refining existing skills. Extra tip: check on whether engineering manager prioritizes finding candidates who integrate into the team fast. At Rebbix, we had to decline many candidates with great tech profiles due to culture mismatch. That saved us much time and resources that we would spend on fitting together. The best case scenario, of course, is to hire an already built-up engineering team to skip forming stages and have a team performing from day one. Also, be open when sharing what you lack or seek. This way, engineering manager will try to compensate for it by tuning the team that will fill in your gaps to the fullest.
Wrapping up, these six critical points define the competency of a good engineering manager. Incorporating these markers into your evaluation process positions you to identify a leader capable of effectively aligning technical strategies with your business objectives. By adhering to these benchmarks, you're primed to secure an engineering manager who not only manages but leverages their expertise to drive tangible outcomes for your enterprise.