Engineering manager

This topic was previously about CTOs. For smaller structures with great developers, an EM should be enough. Its also more practical if the founder team isn't very technical, as the EM will devote lots of time to the dev related issues and careers and yet not code, having more time to liaison with product and he business.

The responsibilities and some questions for an EM position are:

  1. Lead the team of engineers
    • Build a team.
      • how do you hire a great technical developer? How many developers have you hired in the past? Can you name a few great ones? How much does a great developer, engineer X, cost?
      • when and how do you fire a great technical developer? How many have you let go?
    • Help the team self-organize.
      • What is your vision for a tech team? How much freedom do you give devs? Are they responsible for quality? Describe your ideal development cycle, from end to end, including owners and participants.
      • which tools do you use to organize your team? How do you keep communication flowing?
      • what is your preferred policy on X (e.g. remote work, remote engineers, etc.)?
    • Help the team be efficient.
      • What will your day be like? How will you impact the team?
      • What do you think of the velocity of product development? How do you increase velocity and predictability in the team?
      • Which principles of Agile are more sacred to you?
      • Scrum - What to enforce, what to offer, what to suggest?
    • Manage the career development of the team.
      • How do you want to design the careers of the team? How to motivate them and compensate them?
      • How would you react if X?
  2. Own the technical product.
    • Contribute and align on the product vision.
    • Collaborate on planning activities (e.g. roadmaps) with PMs, Tech Leads.
    • Establish SLAs for uptime, availability and performance.
    • Ensure value is continously delivered to users.
      • Do you want to code too?
    • Operate, monitor and maintain product.
    • Establish on-call duty processes.
    • Create appropriate reporting.
    • Manage the teams budget.
  3. Establish yourself as an ambassador.
    • Act as an ambassador to the product, inside and outside organization.
    • Act as an ambassador to the tech team, inside and outside organization.
      • which technologies do you follow more closely? how well known are you in their communities? How close are you to the leader? What are your major software / hardware contributions?
      • how many people follow you? How many people do you follow? Who? Why? How many would try to follow you to our company?
      • which companies and organizations are you affiliated with? What's your relationship with them? Who do you know at Apple/ Google/ Amazon/ X?
  4. Values
    • Act according to the company values. (Depends on the organization).

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