Why is data relevant to an Engineering Manager/Director?
As an EM/Director (a manager of managers), your mission is to ensure that team leads are committed to delivering while continuously improving their teams and processes.
You also want to make sure your managers are sharing their experiments and getting as much feedback as possible to improve your chances of success.
EMs and Directors think about alignment and process optimization, while focusing on delivery. Translating business into execution.
Engineering Managers/Directors use engineering metrics to foster and improve:
👉 Communication: Identifying, prioritizing, tracking, and communicating goals and initiative progress across the organization.
👉 Problem anticipation: Using metrics as a resource to anticipate problems. Avoiding being forced into a reactive situation that doesn’t allow for alternative mediation. Data provides visibility at scale for you to understand which teams/initiatives you need to prioritize.
👉 Alignment: Data can be used to ensure a group of teams is effectively collaborating together to improve the overall developer experience. With data you can leverage the fact that different teams have different seniority, and use that to better balance work distribution.
👉 Group learning: Data is a powerful mechanism to ensure that the whole organization is learning with what different teams, in different locations, are experimenting with.
🤓 How do they do it?
As a leader of leaders, you also have the responsibility of ensuring that the teams' goals are aligned with the organization's business objectives.
With qualitative data, you can get the team feeling, eNPS, but also where they are struggling the most. To get that information you can use the following techniques:
As a manager of managers with Athenian, you want to validate that the teams' goals are being achieved and help your leaders wherever they need.
📝 Check your teams' goals are set quarterly and ensure they are aligned with the company objectives by following these 2 steps:
1. ♽ Have regular alignment conversations with your reports
Promote monthly conversations with your managers where you go over Athenian data to check the status of the initiatives.
With these meetings you want to:
Foster alignment on your teams' goals;
Promote synergies in activities that are being performed by the teams;
To check your teams' goals you can go to the teams' dashboard. By picking the whole quarter in this dashboard you can pick your teams and the right metrics to see their evolution over time.
Remember that you want to keep a blameless culture and that you want to look for:
Goal evolution and trends;
Common actions that are being put in place;
If you see that a manager is improving a metric ask them to share concrete activities with their peers. As their leader, you are responsible for creating the feeling of the first team culture between your managers, thus ensuring they discuss challenges with each other as well as successes.
2. 📗 Create a knowledge base of improvements that work for your context
To create a scalable organization it's important that you ensure knowledge is spread across the organization. As a manager, you and your peers must create a common library of actions and improvements that have been happening on the teams. You want to ensure that the library of improvements is:
open to the whole organization;
has the metric it affected, or the outcome it achieved;
identifies the teams that have tried the action;
has information stating the results;
lists activities that didn't work out, and why they've failed;
If your teams are using a Team Activity Log then it should be easy to group activities into an effective knowledge base that you can publicly share with the whole organization. The generation and maintenance of this list should be the responsibility of your dev experience or agile group, with support from all leaders of the organization.