Culture   Teams & Collaboration  

Becoming A Manager of Engineering Managers: What You Need To Know

By Kelly Gallamore   |   November 7, 2019

In October Charity Majors joined Ian Nowland [VP | Eng | Datadog] and Rich Archibold [Sr Dir | Eng | Intercom] in a live panel discussion for Gitprime. Hosted by Marcus Blankenship, Becoming a Manager of Engineering Managers covers key points about the differences between managing engineers and managing people who manage engineers. Each panelist describes how they got into this mess in the first place made it to this point in their careers (SPOILER - it wasn’t the stereotypical direct, smooth path depicted on TV, for any of them.)

“You sort of learn this tap dance of like giving people freedom, giving people feedback, but no one tells you how to do this.” - Ian Nowland, Datadog

After each panelist shares how they became mangers of managers, Marcus walks them through:

  • what it’s like to manage people who are most definitely more experienced
  • how it differs from managing just one team
  • how to give managers effective feedback
  • and if it’s so goshdarn hard, why are you doing it in the first place?

Charity, Ian, and Rich give accessible points of view about ending up where they did not expect. In the webinar, Ian highlights into the importance of relationship capital in his role, how to earn it and how to use it wisely. Rich gifts us several actionable pointers and a magic formula for successfully managing managers. Charity offers a few twists on usual thinking that can pinpoint who will be a successful manager and who will fall flat.

“They’re thoughtful and they can unpack it from first principles and... explore. People who pattern match and jump to conclusions, and then get very upset when that doesn’t work out are not going to do well in [the] role.” - Charity Majors, Honeycomb

Register to get Becoming a Manager of Engineering Managers on-demand. It’s a great commute listen for folks who are actively working their way up, and for folks who want to know if the people they report to are actually good managers. Thanks to Marcus for being an excellent host, and thanks to GitPrime for inviting us to participate with such knowledgeable guests.


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