Software Engineering at Google Chapter #5 - How to Lead a Team (1 of 3)

  • An engineering manager is responsible for the productivity, performance, and happiness
  • And arguably his subordiante's professional and career growth
  • Google’s engineering managers are required to have an engineering background
  • The tech lead may or may not be in charge of things such as general project management and architecture
  • Sometimes tech lead and manager are a single role. The key here is to balance doing the work themselves vs delegating and the work gets done slower.
  • You can influence without authority. This is called “soft power”
  • Sometimes people become leaders unintentionally by helping to plan, helping to resolve conflicts, or helping to coordinate. Do you enjoy these types of things? Are you good at it? Consider moving into management.
  • Quantifying management output is apples to oranges when compared to quantifiable coding (commits per day, etc)
  • Moving from an IC role to a management role is a way to scale yourself and your abilities
  • Servant leadership means that the most important thing you can do is act as a servant to you team (removing blockers, keeping morale high, doing what needs to be done to keep things moving and on track)
  • Managers manage the team’s “social health” and “technical health”
  • If a manager shows they trust an employee the employee will feel positive pressure to live up to the trust that was imbued upon them
  • Failure is ok, make an environment where it’s ok to fail thus learn and grow
  • Fail as a team, don’t pin blame to an individual
  • Praise in public, give feedback in private
  • Strive to hire people who are smarter than you and can act independently without needing to go through you (the manager) for everything
  • SRE motto: “Hope is not a strategy”
  • Managers have two areas of focus for their team: technical and social
  • A team wastes time pulling the low performer along
  • High performers may leave the team due to having to constantly help the low performer and with time the team becomes all low performers.
  • Low performers on one team can have a large impact on a different team. Low performers may not be a good fit for their current role.
  • Many low performers only need direction and/or encouragement to bloom
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