The Art of Engineering Management
The engineer manager post is a journey that may require a different approach across different teams and organizations. Hear Thomas Hanson's journey here.
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Engineering teams are the core of every software development company. For some, establishing an engineering team may seem a challenge but for many keeping a motivational and collaborative atmosphere is a desired goal for the long term. I had a chance to interview one of the successful CEOs of a new startup who has been successful in engineering management. He is going to share with us the secret behind his management style.
My guest this week in the Proof Of Concept was Thomas Hansen, founder of Aista, who has experience in software development for over two decades. He is an exceptional founder who is developing his platform while managing his team and growing his startup. It's a fantastic talk, and I invite you to watch it.
Let’s look at his take on the manager role in building a team of engineers and managing the company.
Engineering management requires a manager responsible for managing software development assignments or projects, but it is more than just handling technical issues and testing code. First and foremost, they have to be able to influence the abilities of their team of software engineers so that they deliver their full potential.
Skills Required for Engineering Manager
You may be a top-class coder, but being a manager requires a set of different qualities. The engineering manager must know all about software and coding. If you have no coding or software development skills, you cannot develop a competent software team, let alone software. Moreover, the manager must also have the following skills:
- Software-related academic qualifications
- Ability to listen to the team
- Have no trouble with micromanagement
- Accept your faults
- Trust the team
- Delegate authority to the team
- Think of bigger goals
- Lead from the front and take responsibility
Q: How Do You Work With the New Team To Derive Software?
As an engineer manager, you must practice many managerial skills to become a successful manager and lead the team toward success. Here are a few tips and tricks to efficiently manage a team of engineers.
One of the most challenging things about dealing with a team is entrusting them with your project and giving the members some space. Initially, it may sound excruciating for you to let others handle your software and code it. But once you have checked their work and it's good, do not unnecessarily poke in their work. Remember that a single man cannot run the company; it is not a one-person show. You don’t have to spoon-feed them or impose your opinion all the time. You, as a manager, have to accept that they can do the job differently, but that is good for the team. It is called micromanagement.
Managers may encounter this situation and get confused with mixed feelings about keeping all the burden and letting go. The best thing you can do to accept micromanagement is to ask an open-ended question to your team. You may come across some better answers between discussions than what you have in mind. So you can let go of micromanagement syndrome by accepting some of your team's best ideas and opinions. When you accept your team, its work, and competence, you are now the manager and no longer the developer you once were.
Additionally, the delegation of authority also helps people to get more collaborative. The collaborative approach boosts the work environment and overall productivity of the team. For delegation, you have to trust the decision and abilities of your team. Trust is critical for the team to work collaboratively.
Lastly, encourage the team to be creative by giving them room for mistakes. The first thing you can do is accept your own mistakes in front of the team. It will enable them to follow you and be creative and innovative. Taking responsibility for their mistakes and letting them do what they feel is correct also inculcates a sense of responsibility in them.
When you have successfully delegated authority and get good at micromanagement, at this stage as a manager, you can think of the following big goals or steps while your team works on the current tasks.
Q: Do Teams Need an Engineer Manager for Better Performance?
Flat management has a vision but lacks somebody who coaches them and reassures them to be innovative. On the other hand, having an engineer manager makes things easier for the team. If the team has a manager who backs them, they look up to the manager's vision and rest assured that they can get innovative. He is also someone who can coach his team members for successful collaboration.
The Secret to a Happy Engineering Team
Managers can do many things to keep the team contented. But one of the best things managers can do is to acknowledge them for their work. Don’t let even a minor task go unacknowledged if it is praiseworthy. If you praise the team member in front of others, it is even more helpful in boosting their self-confidence and becoming happy.
The engineer manager post is a kind of journey, and many people come across different teams and organizations that may require a different approach. However, generally room for mistakes, trust, acknowledgment, delegation, and micromanagement go a long way in building creativity in the team of engineers and the company's success.
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