Hi, I'm Nick
I'm looking forward to getting to know you, and this document is not intended to replace or override the relationship and mutual understanding we will build as we work together. Its intention is to give you an idea of how I think and how I work.
My role as an engineering manager
TL;DR: I am here to make sure our team is successful, happy, and working on the things that are most important to help our customers, improve our product, and improve our business. More granularly:
- I am here to make sure you are both successful and happy: I want you to improve your technical skills, grow your career, enjoy your work, and believe in both our team's and our company's mission.
- I am here to make sure our team is successful and pointed in the right direction.
- I write some code too (maybe)
Additionally: My job is not to tell you exactly what to do nor how to do it. This is why I avoid writing your tickets, I'm also very bad at it, and let the project leads run the research spikes. My job is also not to be the "official decision maker" for our team. I am accountable for the decisions the team make, even if I’m not the one making them most of the time. I also want to point out that I expect, overtime, every developer that joins the team to become a better developer than myself, in some cases this is already true. I will rely on your technical advice as we continue to grow and I become less familair with every line of the codebase, and you become more.
If you have feedback for me, please give it. It could be something you liked and would like to see more of, something you thought I could do better, something you thought I totally screwed up, or something that doesn't fit in any of these categories. Even if you think it might not be the case, I do want to hear it. And if you think I don't want to hear it, I'd love feedback on why you feel that way.
If you can give me this feedback in-person, I'd prefer that. If you're only comfortable kicking off a discussion with an email or a Slack message, I would rather you do that than not bring it up at all.
If you're not comfortable giving me this feedback yourself, I'd love for you to give it to someone above me in the management chain so they can anonymously relay it to me and I can work on it.
I am usually in the office between 10am and 6pm. I am often in the office earlier or later, but with some exceptions these tend to be the hours you can count on finding me.
As for your schedule: do what works for you, and use good judgment. I expect a couple hours of overlap at somepoint during the day so that we can work on the above missions but around the edges, you have complete flexibility on the assumption that you are doing it in good faith. I don't need to know you have a doctors appointment at 5pm or you want to have a nice breakfast with your kid until 10. Both are encouraged and I trust that you can balance your priorities.
I will put some time on your calendar each week for one-on-ones. Chances are it will be for 30 minutes once a week. If you need more time, let me know and I will adjust.
One-on-ones are your time. I will probably have some things to discuss with you, but these are your opportunities to let me know how you're doing, what you need, what you wish could be different, how you feel about our team and your teammates, what your career goals are... etc. These are for the conversations you might not necessarily have with me when we're sitting at our desks amongst coworkers. If you'd like to give me a brief status update on things you're working on, that is fine with me, but those are generally better-suited to a quick chat while I'm at my desk, an @ on a Github issue, or a Slack message.
I encourage you to write down some things you want to chat about ahead of time, because they can be hard to think of or bring up in the moment. If you struggle with bringing them up, feel free to send me a vague agenda ahead of time. If you don't know what to talk about, say so. We can use that as a topic.
I strongly believe in a healthy work–life balance. Let me know if you need any help to make this work. I don't want you working ridiculous hours, and I don't want you working at the expense of your family/health/beliefs/etc.
If you are unhappy, please let me know.
I will give you feedback on how you're doing in our one-on-ones. If I'm worried about your performance, I will let you know. If you worry that I'm worried about your performance, please let me know.
If you need something
Some weeks, my schedule can be pretty full. Other weeks it's not so bad. If you need to chat I'll always find some time to talk with you, you just need to let me know you need it.
- Snag me at my desk.
- Throw something on my calendar.
- Slack me or email me. Even if you want an in-person meeting, just message me to let me know you want to talk and I'll make time. If you would rather talk about something over email or message, that's fine too.
Take this document with a grain of salt, I strive to be consistent with everything here but utlimately this is a point-in-time snapshot of my thoughts. My thoughts will continue to evolve and I'll try to continue to update this.