Great engineering and problem solving comes down to pragmatism. Lead engineers can face five major challenges.
#1 How to craft a bottoms-up culture of ownership from the top?
- Create a shared value of ownership for all employees
- Leaders should act like no problem is outside of their purview
- Keep the units as low to the ground as possible so that everyone learns to deal with complexity on their own
- Even if your peers seem to be doing good work, always ask them if there are better approaches
#2 How to motivate for tackling big problems at scale?
- Align on impact with the right metric
- Have easy to understand KPIs
- Create tokens that align with your values
- Create small objects or activities that you reward for specific behavior
#3 How to balance company goals and employee goals?
- Put the business first in the short-term and the employee first in the long-term
- If company and employee goals don’t seem to align, meet in the middle
#4 How to build teams with high humility and low egos?
- Managers should have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility
- Ask interviewees about a time they failed and see if they give a fake failure or do not discuss how they could have improved
- Don’t have traditional employee titles, instead have tech leads for specific projects
#5 How to transition to becoming a manager-of-managers?
- Be as communicative and empathetic as possible
- Keep an eye on annual goals, churn, hiring rate, pulse surveys, and KPIs
- Critique managers by looking at the percentage of green OKRs
- Silicon Valley operates at a local maximum of what great engineering could be
- There’s a big market for being slightly more efficient at building a company