9 episodes

Level-up Engineering reveals actionable management secrets from some of the most successful tech leaders. This podcast brings you key insights from fellow engineering managers and tech leaders to level-up your management skills and to take your developer team to the next level.

The podcast covers the biggest challenges engineering managers face, showing exactly how others overcame these challenges. Learn the best practices on engineering management to understand people and organizations as much as you understand code.

We interview tech leaders and dive into the fundamentals behind hiring and retaining developers, motivating developers, scaling dev teams, mentoring developers and much more!

The episodes are brought to you by Coding Sans, a software development agency building serverless web and cross-platform mobile apps. Check them out on https://codingsans.com.

If you have any feedback or would like to be featured on Level-up Engineering please, drop us a line at levelup@codingsans.com.

Level-up Engineering Coding Sans

    • Technology

Level-up Engineering reveals actionable management secrets from some of the most successful tech leaders. This podcast brings you key insights from fellow engineering managers and tech leaders to level-up your management skills and to take your developer team to the next level.

The podcast covers the biggest challenges engineering managers face, showing exactly how others overcame these challenges. Learn the best practices on engineering management to understand people and organizations as much as you understand code.

We interview tech leaders and dive into the fundamentals behind hiring and retaining developers, motivating developers, scaling dev teams, mentoring developers and much more!

The episodes are brought to you by Coding Sans, a software development agency building serverless web and cross-platform mobile apps. Check them out on https://codingsans.com.

If you have any feedback or would like to be featured on Level-up Engineering please, drop us a line at levelup@codingsans.com.

    Handling Conflicts, Giving Feedback: Tom Bartel (Engineering Manager at Trivago)

    Handling Conflicts, Giving Feedback: Tom Bartel (Engineering Manager at Trivago)

    Handling conflicts and giving feedback are two of the most important things a manager needs to do. It has to be a given to lead a productive developer team. So we interviewed Tom Bartel, Engineering Team Leader at trivago to share some of the tips he picked up over the years he spent as a manager.


    In this interview we're covering:


      Common conflicts in an engineering team


      How to step in and handle conficts as a manager?


      Steps to prevent conflicts


      Rules for giving feedback


      How to give feedback to help improvement?


      Common mistakes at giving feedback


      Bonus advice


      How to get feedback as an engineering manager?


    Excerpt from the interview:


    "At one point I had a new developer join a team of senior developers. The new guy was a junior both in skill level and age. The senior team members were used to each other and worked very well together, but the new guy didn't fit in well.


    It was partly the new developer’s fault. Sometimes he joked around in ways that would annoy the others, and didn't take the learning opportunities seriously enough. When his first round of feedback came, it was mostly bad. He didn't see it coming and he was devastated.


    I did what I talked about earlier, and got them all in the same room. We had a painful and awkward but ultimately healthy conversation. Everybody got to name what they didn't like about the situation, let it be behaviors or anything else. It resolved some misunderstandings too, because often problems are just that.


    I also had a one on one conversation with the new engineer. My expectations were clear: he had to stop with certain behaviors, and he had to take some things more seriously.


    To my surprise, he did everything I asked, and turned himself around. He applied himself, and improved the situation dramatically..."

    • 22 min
    Engineering Productivity: Camille Fournier (Managing Director at Two Sigma)

    Engineering Productivity: Camille Fournier (Managing Director at Two Sigma)

    In software development when capacity is the problem, most managers think they need to hire more developers. But you can push engineering productivity higher by creating the right context for your existing developers.


    We interviewed Camille Fournier on the topic of productivity, to learn what she's been doing as a tech leader to keep it high in her developer teams.


    In this interview we're covering:


    Defining engineering productivity


    How to measure engineering productivity


    Challenges for managers with engineering productivity


    On-boarding for maximum engineering productivity


    Effects of mentoring on engineering productivity


    Keeping engineering productivity high


    How to improve engineering productivity


    Excerpt from the interview:


    "Many engineering managers struggle with setting goals. They think about goal setting in a way that’s inspiring to their team without making it easy or pushing too hard.


    Some managers say the way to build a productive team is to hire smart people and get out of their way. I have never seen that work. It might work in theory if you have clear goals and if you motivate people to achieve those goals.


    Most managers aren’t good at setting clear goals. When you're always adjusting your goals, you can’t expect to just hire smart people, get out of their way, and watch them be productive.


    Most engineers don't learn how to be productive on a team without having experienced it. If you've never been an engineer on a hyper-productive team, you won’t know what it’s like or what you could do to make a productive team happen."

    • 31 min
    Scaling Distributed Engineering Team: Juan Pablo Buriticá (ex-VP of Engineering at Splice)

    Scaling Distributed Engineering Team: Juan Pablo Buriticá (ex-VP of Engineering at Splice)

    Scaling is a massive challenge for an engineering manager to overcome, let alone scaling in a distributed environment. Juan Pablo Buriticá had done it, and in this interview he shares how he managed to pull it off. You'll get his insights and actionable tips to overcome all the issues a tech leader will face when scaling distributed engineering teams.


    In this interview we're covering:


    Challenges of scaling distributed engineering teams


    Steps of scaling distributed engineering teams


    Difference between scaling from small to medium, and medium to large size


    How did you scale distributed engineering teams at Splice?


    How to change a process while scaling distributed engineering teams?


    Your key takeaways from scaling distributed engineering teams


    Bonus advice for scaling distributed engineering teams


    Excerpt from the interview:


    "Scaling an organization requires a lot of work with no tangible output. It’s about building a culture and processes; it requires a lot of attention, moderation, curation, and loads of conversations with humans. Humans can be exhausting with insecurities and all the stuff we bring with ourselves, because we're not machines.


    As a leader, that falls on you. I’ve done it twice, and if I had to do it again, I may use some shortcuts, but it's going to be different, and still a lot of work. That’s the first takeaway. Looking back, it was worth it, because it was exciting. It’s rewarding when you get it to work well, and I'm proud of our team.


    When scaling distributed engineering teams, be ready for a lot of work, repetition, communication, convincing and loads of complaints. Some people have followed me through teams. We agreed that when they complain, I ask, “Do you want me to solve this?” If they say yes, I do, but then they have to look for something else to complain about. We just laugh at that.


    I like complaints, because it's feedback as we're scaling. I've seen other leaders who can't deal with it."


    Follow Juan on his Twitter (https://twitter.com/buritica) !

    • 44 min
    Managing Distributed Developer Teams: Tim Olshansky (VP of Engineering at Zenput)

    Managing Distributed Developer Teams: Tim Olshansky (VP of Engineering at Zenput)

    In software development it's more likely now than ever, that as a manager, you'll face the challenge of leading a fully or at least partially distributed developer team. It's a brand new thing for everyone, but Tim Olshansky, current VP of Engineering at Zenput has faced this already. In this interview he shares what he learned on managing distributed developer teams over the years, and gives you actionable tips on making it work as well as possible.


    In this episode, we're covering:


    -Challenges of managing a distributed developer team


    -On-boarding remote engineers


    -Balancing synchronous and asynchronous work


    -Managing distributed developer teams


    -Measuring productivity at distributed developer teams


    -Giving feedback in distributed developer teams


    -Running meetings in distributed developer teams


    -Management tools at distributed developer teams


    Excerpt from the interview:


    "I don't measure productivity specifically. It’s been a struggle, because the definition of productivity is a difficult one, particularly in the software engineering world. Is fixing a hundred bugs or implementing ten features better? What if none of those features affect the company positively?


    Firstly, I start by making sure we're working on the right things. If not, I try to fix that, because all the productivity in the world working on the wrong things is not going to get us where we need to be.


    The next question: are we working the right way? Are we doing things that are going to cost us in the long run? This is a classic technical debt conversation.


    Do we have the infrastructure to support the team to be productive? Does the team have to overcome difficulties to demonstrate what they've done? I try to assess those things and remove the impediments. Then the team can focus on doing what they like, which is problem-solving, and building new things.


    When all this is sorted, I look at the individual level. There, I see that if they say they're going to do something , do they get it done? If not, why not? Sometimes, folks need to be held accountable for what they commit to..."

    • 36 min
    Training Engineering Managers: Matt Greenberg (ex-VPE at Credit Karma, current CTO at Reforge)

    Training Engineering Managers: Matt Greenberg (ex-VPE at Credit Karma, current CTO at Reforge)

    Training engineering managers doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's extremely valuable to keep and grow your own talent, rather than get all your tech leaders from a competitive workforce market. We interviewed Matt Greenberg, who has gained years of experience training new engineering managers.


    In this episode, we're covering:


    -How to make sure an engineering manager prospect is ready?


    -Challenges of training engineering managers


    -Challenges of transitioning to engineering management


    -Common mistakes in training engineering managers


    -How to build a system for training engineering managers


    Excerpt from the interview:


    "People tend to think of engineering management as an opportunity to become a leader.


    In reality, accomplished engineers are also leaders; they’re involved in everything. You get opportunities to mentor and you have a say in project leadership decisions and technical decisions, whether you're an individual contributor or a people manager.


    Being a people manager entails all the administrative aspects of leadership. So, a lot of it comes down to hiring and firing people, performance management, dealing with HR or legal issues, finance, budgets and all these other things.


    I think a lot of people want to become software engineering managers for the wrong reason. Also, many people get out of it once they realize what they're doing. You should look at the end goal. Do you want to be a senior leader managing hundreds of people, or do you want to be an accomplished person on a small team?"

    • 25 min
    Creating Psychological Safety: Dan Rummel (Senior Director of Engineering at One Medical)

    Creating Psychological Safety: Dan Rummel (Senior Director of Engineering at One Medical)

    How do you build psychological safety in your team? Why is it important?


    We sat down for an interview with  One Medical (https://www.onemedical.com/) , and he’s held engineering and leadership positions at various Bay Area startups.


    He shares this invaluable insight with you on creating a workplace with psychological safety, so you get to understand his way of thinking and pick up actionable tips you can apply at your company.


    In the interview we're covering:


    -Why is psychological safety important?


    -The difference between psychological safety and the comfort zone


    -Requirements for psychological safety


    -How did Dan build psychological safety?


    -How to promote psychological safety as a leader?


    Excerpt from the interview:


    Leading by example


    "Leading by example is often neglected. It’s a real challenge for leaders and managers because their typical personality types can take up a lot of space in the room. I think leading by example means making space for others.


    We need to actively make space for others to chime in during meetings. It also helps a lot to show vulnerability, talk about some of your challenges, or throw out the occasional wild or even silly idea. Even if you know it will likely be shot down, this lets your team know you’re fair game for debate as well.


    Perhaps the most important thing to do is to admit when you're wrong, and not make it a big deal. Just saying, “I was wrong; you've got it,” helps the healthy debate and makes it comfortable to rumble through ideas and to find the best outcomes.


    The reason healthy teams produce better outcomes is that there's a diversity of experiences and perspectives that come to the table. When people can build mental models with everyone else's experiences, your outcomes get exponentially better, and you get beautiful results from those debates."


    Read the full post here: (https://codingsans.com/blog/psychological-safety)

    • 21 min

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