97 Things Every Engineering Manager Should Know

Book Description

Tap into the wisdom of experts to learn what every engineering manager should know. With 97 short and extremely useful tips for engineering managers, you'll discover new approaches to old problems, pick up road-tested best practices, and hone your management skills through sound advice.

Managing people is hard, and the industry as a whole is bad at it. Many managers lack the experience, training, tools, texts, and frameworks to do it well. From mentoring interns to working in senior management, this book will take you through the stages of management and provide actionable advice on how to approach the obstacles you’ll encounter as a technical manager.

A few of the 97 things you should know:

  • "Three Ways to Be the Manager Your Report Needs" by Duretti Hirpa
  • "The First Two Questions to Ask When Your Team Is Struggling" by Cate Huston
  • "Fire Them!" by Mike Fisher
  • "The 5 Whys of Organizational Design" by Kellan Elliott-McCrea
  • "Career Conversations" by Raquel Vélez
  • "Using 6-Page Documents to Close Decisions" by Ian Nowland
  • "Ground Rules in Meetings" by Lara Hogan

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Advanced PeopleOps—One-on-One Retrospectives
    1. Marcus Blankenship
      1. Apply What You Already Know
      2. What If You’re Not the Boss?
      3. What Kinds of Things Can Be Changed About a 1:1 Meeting?
      4. Do You Wait Too Long to Consider a Change?
      5. Grandma’s Ham
  2. 2. Answer These 10 Questions to Understand Whether You’re a Good Manager
    1. Cate Huston
      1. Can You Take a Week Off?
      2. Can Problems Be Handled Without You?
      3. Does Your Team Deliver Consistently?
      4. Do People Tell You What They Think?
      5. Do People on the Team Treat Each Other Well?
      6. Is the Team Self-Improving?
      7. Can You Give People Who Report to You Meaningful, In-Depth Feedback?
      8. What Kinds of Things Can You Delegate?
      9. Who Is Taking on Bigger Roles?
      10. Can You Take on Work Outside of Your Immediate Scope?
      11. Do Your Peers Value Your Perspective and Come to You for Advice?
  3. 3. Avoiding Traps in Manager READMEs
    1. Camille Fournier
  4. 4. Building Effective Roadmaps
    1. Travis Donia
      1. What Impact Will This Have on Users?
      2. How Will We Measure Impact?
      3. What Are Our Strategic Objectives?
      4. What Are We Willing to Give Up?
      5. What Are We Testing and What Mistakes Are We Comfortable Making?
      6. How Will These Features Roll Out?
  5. 5. Busy Isn’t Better
    1. Colleen Johnson
  6. 6. Career Conversations as an Engineering Manager
    1. Raquel Vélez
  7. 7. Career Development for Startup Engineers
    1. Josh Tyler
  8. 8. Communicating with Executives
    1. Travis Kimmel
  9. 9. Communication as Craft
    1. Patrick Pena
  10. 10. Connect “The What” to “The Why”
    1. Jeremy Wight
      1. Constantly Reinforce The Why
  11. 11. Continuous Kindness
    1. Nik Knight
  12. 12. Culture Is What You Do When the Unexpected Happens
    1. Ines Sombra
  13. 13. Dealing with Uncertainty
    1. Mathias Meyer
  14. 14. Define Your Culture Before It Defines Itself
    1. Mike Pappas
  15. 15. Delivering Feedback
    1. Jennifer Dyni
      1. Start with Frameworks
      2. Attune with Improv
      3. Follow Up
      4. The Results
  16. 16. Developing Communication Patterns
    1. Travis Donia
  17. 17. Distributed Teams Are Founded on Explicit Communication Channels
    1. Juan Pablo Buriticá
  18. 18. Do Less, Lead More
    1. Katie Womersley
  19. 19. Don’t Be the S--- Umbrella
    1. Jeff Foster
  20. 20. Don’t Elevate the Means Beyond the End
    1. Seth Dobbs
  21. 21. Don’t Look for A Players
    1. Lisa van Gelder
  22. 22. Don’t Just Evaluate Candidates on Skills
    1. Jay Signorello
  23. 23. Engineering Productivity
    1. Camille Fournier
  24. 24. Like This? Really?
    1. Dave Mangot
      1. The Funnel
      2. The Coding Test
      3. Closing the Deal
  25. 25. Everyone Can Lead with Leverage
    1. Steve Heller
      1. How ICs Can Exert Leverage
      2. Communication Is an Essential Tool for Providing Leverage
  26. 26. Fire Them!
    1. Mike Fisher
  27. 27. The First Two Questions to Ask When Your Team Is Struggling
    1. Cate Huston
      1. How Do I Create Clarity?
      2. How Do I Create Capacity?
      3. OK, Now What?
  28. 28. The Five Whys of Organizational Design
    1. Kellan Elliott McCrea
      1. Get Curious
      2. Some Common Discoveries Along the Way
  29. 29. Focus on Growth to Improve Employee Engagement
    1. Amy Rich
      1. What Is a Professional Development Plan?
  30. 30. Followership
    1. Jason Wong
      1. Models of Followership
      2. Practical Application
      3. Conclusion
  31. 31. Forecasting with Less Effort and More Accuracy
    1. Matthew Philip
  32. 32. The Four Layers of Communication in a Functional Team
    1. Cate Huston
      1. The Mission
      2. The Strategy
      3. The Tactics and Process
      4. The Execution
      5. Other Ways to Define Team Communication
  33. 33. The Four-Letter Word That Makes My Blood Boil
    1. Marcus Blankenship
      1. What If You’re Not Saying It, But You’re Hearing It?
      2. Lullaby Language
      3. How I Learned to Stop the Conversation
      4. Now It’s Your Turn
  34. 34. Friday Wins and a Case Study in Ritual Design
    1. Kellan Elliott-McCrea
  35. 35. Get Deployment Right on Day One
    1. James Turnbull
      1. Building That Deployment System
      2. Everyone Should Be Able to Deploy
      3. Deployment Should Be Automatic and Continuous
      4. Deployment FTW
  36. 36. Good Process Is Evolved, Not Designed
    1. Will Larson
      1. How to Evolve Process
      2. Why Good People Make Bad Process
  37. 37. A Good Standup
    1. Camille Fournier
  38. 38. Ground Rules in Meetings
    1. Lara Hogan
  39. 39. Help Yourself to Better One-on-Ones
    1. Vrashabh Irde
      1. Bring an Agenda
      2. Talk About and Build Career Goals
      3. Talk About How You Are Feeling
      4. Agree on a Format
      5. Hold Your Manager Accountable
      6. Give Feedback
      7. Push Back Hard Against Cancellation/Postponing
  40. 40. How Do Individual Contributors Get Stuck?
    1. Camille Fournier
  41. 41. How to Be Discerning Without Being Invalidating
    1. Akash Bhalla
      1. Being Realistic
      2. The Danger of Being Too Realistic
      3. Adapting to a New Role
  42. 42. How to Conduct an Autonomy-Support Meeting
    1. Matthew Philip
  43. 43. How to Help Your New Grad Engineer Navigate Work
    1. Kaya Thomas
  44. 44. How to Share Decisions for Strong Execution
    1. Katie Womersley
      1. But This All Takes So…Tediously…Long
  45. 45. Improve Your Decision Making with Mental Models
    1. Mathias Meyer
  46. 46. Interviewing Engineers: Going Beyond Technical Skills
    1. Alicia Liu
  47. 47. Introduce an Engineering Ladder
    1. Lisa van Gelder
      1. 1. Communicate the Why
      2. 2. Get Your Team to Define the Levels Themselves
      3. 3. Communicate the How—How Will It Be Implemented?
      4. 4. Try It Out!
      5. 5. Review
      6. 6. Use for Real
      7. 7. Make It a Living, Breathing Document
  48. 48. Leadership Is About Responsibility, Not Authority
    1. Seth Dobbs
  49. 49. Leading Through Rapid Change Is Normal
    1. Yvette Pasqua
      1. Time Phase
  50. 50. Making Your New Team Feel Like a Team
    1. Camille Fournier
  51. 51. Manage Complexity with Diversity
    1. Mike Fisher
  52. 52. Management Is a Different Set of APIs
    1. Raquel Vélez
  53. 53. Manager Handoffs
    1. Lara Hogan
  54. 54. Managers and Culture
    1. Arjun Anand
      1. Manager Training
      2. Failure as a Rite of Passage
      3. Keeping Things Professional
      4. Conflict Resolution
      5. Coming to Terms with Your Skills
  55. 55. Monuments and Hamburgers
    1. Travis Donia
  56. 56. Navigating the Bumpy Road from Engineer to Manager
    1. Jean Hsu
      1. Self: Keep a Log
      2. Internal: Find Peer Support
      3. External: Work with a Coach
  57. 57. The New Way to Manage by Walking Around
    1. Yvette Pasqua
  58. 58. Not Everyone Wants to Be a People Manager
    1. Jesse Anderson
  59. 59. On Accountability
    1. Jason Wong
  60. 60. On the Elusiveness of Time in Tracking Progress
    1. Mathias Meyer
  61. 61. Onboard People, Not Technology
    1. Marcus Blankenship
      1. A Leadership Smell
      2. Onboarding Is Leading
      3. How Long Should This Take?
  62. 62. Onboarding Beyond Codelabs
    1. Jean Hsu
      1. First Impression
      2. Onboarding Buddy
      3. Powerful Questions to Build Alignment
  63. 63. Own the Narrative
    1. Adam Baratz
  64. 64. The Path to Change: Facts and Feelings
    1. Mary Lynn Manns
  65. 65. People Leave Bad Managers, Not Bad Jobs—Right?
    1. Nik Knight
  66. 66. Performance Is an Ongoing Conversation
    1. Ines Sombra
      1. Event-Based Behavior
      2. Systemic Behavior
  67. 67. Physician, Heal Thyself!
    1. Jeff Foster
  68. 68. Political Capital and the Favor Economy
    1. Brian Fitzpatrick
  69. 69. Prioritize Building Relationships with Your Peers
    1. Rocio Delgado
      1. How Do You Do That?
  70. 70. Priority Exceptions
    1. Beau Lebens
      1. What New Thing Is Happening?
      2. What Existing Thing Is Being Delayed?
      3. Why Is the New Thing More Important?
      4. How Did This Come About?
      5. Timeline
  71. 71. The Product Manager’s Concerns
    1. Travis Donia
      1. Users
      2. Money
      3. Time
      4. Impact
      5. Bugs
  72. 72. Projects for Which Agile Is Inappropriate
    1. Ron Lichty
  73. 73. Reconciliation Loops
    1. Kevin Stewart
  74. 74. “Remote”
    1. Silvia Botros
      1. The Team
      2. The Effects of Human Laziness
      3. Hiring, Diversity, and Inclusion
  75. 75. Risk Budgets: Five Choices Between Your Team and Failure
    1. Cris Concepcion
  76. 76. Safety First!
    1. Lisa van Gelder
  77. 77. Scale Communication Through Writing
    1. Saul Diez-Guerra
  78. 78. Scaling Management by Giving Up Control
    1. Ned Rockson
  79. 79. Six Tips for a New Manager
    1. Akash Bhalla
      1. 1. Be a Zero
      2. 2. Learn to Say “Yes”
      3. 3. Learn to Say “No”
      4. 4. Have One-on-Ones
      5. 5. Stay (Relatively) Technical
      6. 6. Let Go
  80. 80. Stop Your Team from Bikeshedding, and Saying “Bikeshedding”
    1. Ian Nowland
  81. 81. Taking On Inclusion
    1. Jason Wong
  82. 82. Team Stability Matters
    1. Bill Horvath
      1. Why?
      2. A Possible Solution to Pressure
  83. 83. Three Questions to Avoid, and Three Questions to Ask During an Interview
    1. Lorezn Cheung
  84. 84. Three Ways to Be the Manager Your Report Needs
    1. Duretti Hirpa
      1. Lesson One: One-on-Ones
      2. Lesson Two: Follow Through
      3. Lesson Three: Avoid Causing Anxiety
  85. 85. To Code or Not to Code
    1. Ben Edmunds
  86. 86. Transparency Takes More Than an Open Door
    1. Seth Dobbs
      1. A Better Way
  87. 87. The Triangle of Self-Organization
    1. Andy Brandt
      1. The Triangle in Context
      2. Conclusion
  88. 88. Trust Is a Powerful Leadership Tool
    1. Seth Dobbs
  89. 89. Using Six-Page Documents to Close Decisions
    1. Ian Nowland
      1. Why Documents?
      2. Document Structure, Tone, and Format
      3. Getting the Body Down to Six Pages
      4. Meeting Structure
  90. 90. WELCOME, {HUMAN}!—Writing Onboarding READMEs
    1. Cris Concepcion
  91. 91. What I Wished I Knew Before I Started Managing a Remote Team
    1. Cris Concepcion
  92. 92. Why a Good Boss Likes It When People Complain
    1. Cate Huston
  93. 93. Why You Can’t Manage Humans Like They’re Software
    1. Cate Huston
  94. 94. Why Your Programmer Just Wants to Code
    1. Marcus Blankenship
      1. People Are Shaped by Environment
      2. The First Suggestions Matter—A Lot
      3. The Bigger the Idea, the Bigger the Risk
      4. Feedback About Ideas Shapes Behavior
      5. What’s Your Onboarding Teaching?
      6. What Is Your Real Culture?
  95. 95. Willpower of Leadership
    1. Mike Fisher
  96. 96. Yes, Code Wins Arguments. But Why? And How to Be Polite About It
    1. Joe Dunn
  97. 97. Your Job Is Not to Be Liked
    1. Lachlan Holmes
  98. Contributors
    1. Lachlan Holmes
  99. Index

Product Information

  • Title: 97 Things Every Engineering Manager Should Know
  • Author(s): Camille Fournier
  • Release date: November 2019
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781492050896