We’ve taken the data driven approach and analyzed over 1000 job descriptions from real job posts. We boiled down these job descriptions and distilled out the roles and responsibilities. The list is below. Furthermore, we will be working through each responsibility or role so that you can click and see examples from real, day-to-day business.
1. Team Management and Leadership
Manage and lead engineering and product teams.
Cultivate a high-performance environment.
Conduct regular 1:1 meetings and performance reviews.
Hire and build teams.
Mentor and coach team members for professional development.
2. Project and Product Development
Lead research and development projects.
Participate in the full development cycle: design, development, testing, analysis, and launch.
Ensure technical excellence in project execution.
Coordinate with internal and external stakeholders for product development.
Make key decisions for product area strategy and roadmap.
3. Cross-functional Collaboration and Strategy
Work cross-functionally with other departments (e.g., product, design) for strategic planning.
Align team efforts with company goals and upper management support.
Build and maintain relationships with stakeholders within and outside the technical department.
Contribute to key decision-making processes within the organization.
4. Operational Excellence and Process Improvement
Drive a culture of metrics-led execution with efficient processes.
Observe and improve development and management processes.
Ensure good architectural design outcomes and quality code production.
Balance speed to market with future velocity.
5. Communication and Reporting
Provide clear and concise instructions to teams.
Effectively communicate to support internal users and inform stakeholders of progress.
Participate in technical decision-making discussions and occasionally in code reviews.
This list should be fairly representative of what it means to be an EM. Honestly, it may seem too generic. Nonetheless, this is the kind of language and description that we found on real engineering manager resumes and engineering manager job posts in the wild. We will work to make each of these bullet points concrete.
Soft Skills and Hard Skills for Engineering Managers: A Point of Clarification
"Roles and Responsibilities" refer to the tasks and duties expected of someone in a particular position. On the other hand, "Skills and Experience" refer to the competencies and background a person needs to effectively fulfill those roles and responsibilities.
Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. They are usually technical in nature and are acquired through formal education, training, or on-the-job experience. Examples include data analysis, programming, and project management.
Soft skills on the other hand, are less tangible and harder to quantify. They are often personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, time management, teamwork, and leadership. In the past, people considered soft skills either innate, or learned on the job through experience (and failure!). EM Journey is working to solve that. We are using real AI simulations to allow Engineering Managers to practice, develop and improve their soft skills without leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.