(In-person) Engineering Manager Essentials

What is it?

This Engineering Manager Essentials workshop is a course for people who lead and manage software engineering teams. This course focuses on practical engineering manager skills through discussion, theory and practical exercises. We explore the unique combination of skills and experiences that make an “Engineering Manager” successful.

Who’s it for?

This course is ideal for people who are transitioning from being an individual contributor (e.g. software engineer) to lead and manage a technical team and those who are currently responsible for leading/managing a software team. Your title might be Tech Lead Manager, Engineering Manager, or Team Lead. This course will be most useful for those with the opportunity to apply their learnings immediately, or to experiences they can relate to.

What will participants learn?

  • Definition of an Engineering Manager
  • What does success look like for the Engineering Manager?
  • Core leadership skills required for an Engineering Manager
  • The common challenges (and how to overcome them) for first-time Engineering Managers
  • The overview of people management responsibilities
  • How to run effective 1-1s
  • How to give effective feedback
  • Coaching skills for technical people
  • Building a high-performing team
  • Building an environment for a productive team
  • Managing outwards, upwards and downwards

Participants will leave the course with a clearer understanding of the role, new tools and mental models for the Engineering Manager role, with experience applying some of these tools with feedback and a network of other peers to connect with.

What background should participants have?

Participants will have had some experience working on a variety of teams, possibly tried facilitating several meetings and has had some experience with different parts of the software lifecycle (e.g. story writing, build and release infrastructure, development and test, release and/or iteration planning and production support). Ideally, they have played a leadership/management role for at least one team, however, even experienced Engineering Managers will learn something from this course.

How it will be delivered?

The course runs over two full days using a combination of training techniques that includes presentation, discussion, video, interactive exercises and storytelling. It is assumed all participants will be co-located to maximise the discussion, storytelling and relationship building opportunities and learning experience.

Alternative formats are also possible in consultation including a shorter/less comprehensive 1-day session, or a half-day (over actual days) format​.

Below is an indicative timetable of how the course runs.

Day 1Day 2
Hopes & Concerns
Exploring the Engineering Manager role
Common Engineering Management Traps
Mental model transitions for an EM
People and Team Management including
– Breadth of people management responsibilities
– Running effective 1-1s
– Coaching skills
– Building high-performing teams
13:30Core Leadership skills including
– Time management
– Delegation
– Feedback
– Prioritising
– Decision-making
Quality management
Expectation management
Hopes and Concerns Recap
17:00Wrap UpWrap Up

What do you require to run the course?

The course requires a training room complete with:

  • Projector + Screen or Large TV/Monitor
  • Sound system (e.g. Portable Speaker or Stereo System)
  • (Per Group of 4-5 people) 1 x Flip charts per 5 participants + 1 for the Trainer (with at least 30 pages – 3M sticky flipcharts preferred)
  • (Per Group of 4-5 people) 5 fresh packs of sticky notes (3M brand preferred) + marker pens (e.g. Sharpies) and ballpoint pens (enough per person)
  • Space to hang flip charts around the wall
  • Moveable tables/chairs (ideally Cabaret-style table seating to facilitate group discussion and group work) or as shown below
Cabaret Style Room Layout for 15 people

Anything else I should know?

  • Size – This course is best run with 12-20 people. 10 people recommended minimum due to its interactive and discussion format. 30 people is absolute maximum. Group work, discussion and role play form part of the training, and is less effective when the group is too small or too large.
  • Background – A mix of experiences is best to share lots of different stories (inexperienced + semi-experienced Engineering Managers). Even those who have been a Engineeering Manager for a long time has been very useful for them because they rarely get to think and reflect on this
  • Project – People from the same/different project/company doesn’t make a really big difference between to the course – both options brings different perspectives.

I’m interested. What next?

Right now, this course is offered to companies who are interested in having this training run on-site. If you are an individual, looking for this content, please raise this with your management and HR/People team to see if you can organise this for your company.

If you’re looking at organising this for your team/organisation, please get in contact with me, tell me more about your situation and what you’re looking for.

Can I join as an individual or small group?

This workshop includes many discussions and exercises that require a minimum number of people. Most courses are organised on-demand for a particular company. However a modified version is sometimes offered as a public workshop where individuals or a small group can join in.