Things Great Engineering Managers Do

Cover Image for Things Great Engineering Managers Do
Kevin B. Ridgway
Kevin B. Ridgway

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

  • Reacts quickly, and decisively.
  • Has a leadership philosophy. Has thought about it, a lot. Can speak at length about it.
  • Is passionate about engineering. Is passionate about management. Understands the intersection of the two.
  • When there is a problem, fixes it quickly.
  • Cares about women being in tech. (Also see diversity.)
  • Understands the engineering hierarchy, who does what, and why.
  • Time manages like a boss.
  • Knows what an effective team size is (seven, plus or minus three)
  • Values the 1x1, knows how to make them effective. Never skips them.
  • Understands the difference between leadership and management.
  • Knows how to hire well.
  • Understands the culture of the company, and how to influence it.
  • Knows that bored engineers quit.
  • Exceedingly technical; knows when engineers are bullshitting them.
  • Knows what every engineer of theirs is doing at any given time.
  • Communicates extremely well, verbally, and via the Interwebs.
  • Knows when to use which communication method.
  • Delegates effectively.
  • Thinks diversity is important. Knows organizations are more effective because of it.
  • Values data-driven decisions.
  • Always looks at the big picture.
  • Keeps up to date, is always knowledgeable on the latest tech.
  • Writes code for fun.
  • Ultra-responsive to employees.
  • Maintains relationships with other teams; ensures multi-team communication is effective.
  • Coaches engineers.
  • Says "no" for their team; knows their team's capacity.
  • Shields engineers from noise that may distract them from their job.
  • Very transparent in decisions, company info, and the future.