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The Top 5 Challenges of Engineering Managers

David Kyle Choe
May 31, 2021

What are the biggest challenges for today's engineering managers?

We interviewed over 30 engineering and product leaders from companies like Netflix, Microsoft, Fullstory, Mailchimp, and The Weather Channel and got over 100 responses on what their biggest challenges as Engineering Managers were. Despite the diverse mix of company sizes, cultures, and complexities, we were surprised to see how similar the struggles of these engineering leaders were.

The Top 5 Management Challenges were:

💬 Contribution Comprehension: Managers want to both observe and understand what their teams are working on.

"Being able to observe and understand the work your direct reports are doing so that you can give them solid feedback - core problem that he sees a lot of different people struggling with at a lot of different companies"

🌡 Progress Tracking: Managers need to be able to track where their ICs are along the broader project timeline.

" I want to see the status of where things are: what's been fixed, how it's been fixed, what was broken, etc."

⏳ Understanding Capacity: Managers need better insight into the volume of work of their ICs and collectively as a team. Are people overloaded or available? How can I see this all at once?

"I need to be quickly able to audit who is allotted what, and tell what the hell is going on"

☎️ Communication: Managers need help getting their teams on the same page, almost over-communicating.

"Making sure everyone is on the same page - if a tool can help him do these things then we're good"

🛠 Unblocking: Managers know they need to take action on these various insights by unblocking their teams, but don't have a good say to triage blockers.

"It's more about understanding how overloaded your engineers are, are we asking them to do too much, do they have the right skills, are you spotting their blockers, are they blocked, am I removing the right blockers for whats in priority (these are all questions that go through your head as you go through projects)"

Let us know what your top challenges are. Drop us a line at hello@staat.co or on our socials: LinkedInTwitter

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