We now have a new vice president in charge of both engineering and product, and I am the engineering manager for the company. What should I include in the PPT when he asks each manager to submit an onboarding presentation?
I manage engineering, but I’m not entirely sure what a product manager who oversees both engineering and product should prioritize.
As a background, we have a b2b product, rank #2 in our market, and are attempting to overtake the clear leader while fending off rivals to our rear.
Some subjects were listed as
- how many people are on our team?
- our collective vision and goals
- what sway we have and who our allies are with regard to the larger group
- recent achievements of the team
- future-oriented plans
Naturally, I don’t want to oversimplify things with technical jargon or say things like, “We fixed x number of issues,” which have no meaning outside of their context.
My instinct tells me that I should simply list which of our projects are assisting our major clients.
The majority of our work, however, is for internal tools for internal clients because we are also an infrastructure team. The remainder is only for our largest clients.
Any guidance would be appreciated!
He’s new to the company, right? If so, I would list all the technology and systems you employ, give a general overview of the architecture, and describe how data is managed. You also need to mention your future plans.
In addition, I would describe how you obtain the requirements and priorities for those products, as well as who in the organization you support and how much of your resources are used to support internal versus external customers.
Yes, I can do that @FlaviaBergstein. However, I sense that he is very product-focused. There have been numerous messages about how to increase market share, keep customers from leaving, etc.
The architecture can be used to highlight some of the product’s successes and difficulties, such as “our architecture does XYZ, we’ve heard the customer feedback that to catch up to #1, we’d need to [address problem X], which is [easy/hard] because of the way our systems are set up today,” etc.
I don’t think you need to make all of those connections right away, but giving him a sense of the architecture landscape, what tech debts there are, what data we currently capture or don’t, how simple or complicated it is to pull and act upon, etc. can lay the groundwork for further fruitful discussions.
Here is my idea for a presentation;
- introduction to you and the team
- your teams mission/purpose; why it exists
- outline of the problem your team is solving
- how you and the team solve this for internal stakeholders
- how you and the team solve this for external clients
- data on your successes
- your vision of the future (where you see This team going)
- bonus: current challenges you face as team
- bonus: what support you need from product leadership to succeed
As an engineering manager overseeing both engineering and product, it’s essential to align your priorities with the overall goals of the company and the product team. Here are some key areas to focus on when presenting to stakeholders or reporting on your team’s progress:
Strategic Alignment: Clearly outline how your team’s work aligns with the company’s strategic objectives and the product team’s goals. Emphasize how your projects contribute to catching up with the #1 competitor and maintaining a competitive edge against those behind you.
Customer Impact: Highlight the projects that directly impact your big customers and provide value to them. Focus on how these initiatives address customer pain points, improve their experience, or meet their specific needs. Be prepared to share success stories or testimonials from satisfied customers.
Innovation and Improvements: Discuss any recent innovations or improvements that your team has made to the product or the internal tools. Demonstrate how these changes have positively affected performance, efficiency, or user satisfaction.
Differentiation: Showcase the aspects of your product that set it apart from the competition. This could be unique features, exceptional customer support, or any other factors that make your offering stand out.
Competitive Analysis: Provide a brief analysis of the current market landscape, focusing on what the #1 competitor is doing differently and how you plan to bridge the gap. Understanding the competition can help guide your team’s priorities.
Roadmap and Future Plans: Outline your team’s roadmap for the future, detailing upcoming projects and initiatives. Address how these plans will help achieve your objectives and how they align with the broader product strategy.
Metrics and KPIs: Include relevant metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to support your claims and demonstrate progress. These could be related to customer satisfaction, product usage, adoption rates, or any other relevant metrics.
Collaboration with Product Team: Highlight how your engineering team collaborates with the product team. This could include joint planning sessions, regular check-ins, or any other practices that foster a strong working relationship.
Internal Tools Importance: While half of your team’s work is focused on internal tools, emphasize the significance of these tools in enabling the product team to deliver a better customer experience. Show how they contribute to increased productivity, faster development, or improved product quality.
Challenges and Mitigations: Acknowledge any challenges or roadblocks your team is facing and explain the steps you are taking to address them. Being transparent about the hurdles shows that you are proactive in finding solutions.
Remember to present the information in a concise and easily digestible manner. Use visual aids like charts, graphs, or infographics to illustrate your points effectively. Focus on the big picture and how your team’s efforts align with the overall success of the company and the product.
Excellent post by @DhirajMehta. Nothing could be better his comment. A detailed step by step guidance.
When I had to do this, no one was able to give me a straight answer. So I made my set of slides (early) and sent it to my boss. Then I got some great direction.
If they don’t know how to guide you. Give them something to evaluate. So you have something to kickoff.
Hope that makes sense!
Agree with @TerryAnthony. As an engineering manager, taking the initiative to create a set of slides outlining your team’s progress and priorities was a proactive and effective approach. It’s not uncommon for stakeholders to struggle with providing specific guidance, especially when they might not be intimately familiar with the technical aspects of your work.
By presenting your set of slides early, you demonstrated leadership and a commitment to transparency. This allowed your boss to have a clearer understanding of your team’s efforts and provided a basis for meaningful feedback and direction.
As for the feedback you received - “They don’t know how to guide you. Give them something to evaluate” - it seems like your approach worked effectively in eliciting the guidance you needed. Sometimes, providing a tangible starting point like your slides can make it easier for stakeholders to provide input and steer the discussion in the direction that aligns with their expectations.
It’s important to keep this open and proactive communication going forward. Regularly sharing updates and progress reports with your boss and other stakeholders can foster a collaborative and supportive environment. Additionally, seeking feedback and guidance can help you make informed decisions and ensure that your team’s efforts are closely aligned with the overall objectives of the company and the product.
Continue to refine your reporting and presentation methods, taking into account any feedback you receive. Being proactive and proactive in communication will not only help your team thrive but also showcase your leadership skills and dedication to the success of the product and the company.
BTW, The response of @DhirajMehta was outstanding.
I would probably give something like a swot analysis. Basically an overview of where you think your engineering teams are at. What are they good at? What are they poor at? Where do you think the biggest opportunity for growth is? Where do you think there are the biggest holes in your org?
Other things I think new people would care about: Where tech debt is at, can you build new features quickly, what percent of work is taken up by specific customer requests (internal or external), how much bandwidth is available for working on new projects, how reliable has infrastructure been, how long have your teams worked together, how do you as an org judge success or failure, how do you set goals (and what are your current goals), how do you work effectively together, how are you teams structured, and how do you manage QA process (if eng owns this).
I would expect the product org to spend more time talking about process, goals, KPIs, and all that stuff so I personally wouldn’t think you should cover too much of that unless it is specifically an engineering process (like maybe how do you manage site reliability or pager duty)
My guess (though I might be wrong) is that if they are vp of both product and engineering they have some amount of engineering background. Some of the stuff I listed might be too much in the weeds. You might be able to reuse slides that have been made for other company presentations that just focus on recent accomplishments, quarter goals, and then add some stuff about how your org interacts with other parts of the company.
I’d want to know the following if I were him:
- The team’s organizational structure. What they do and who the members are? Agile groups?
- How stable is the code, has there been any downtime recently?
- How many Jira stories/tasks were technical maintenance, customer-facing features, or bug fixes in the most recent year?
- What is the most crucial technical change that needs to be made to the application right now, in your opinion?
They are looking to understand who does what and why. They want to align groups to what they feel will deliver the most value.
Easy answer is to list out exactly what it says. If that is all internal or engineering specific, then that’s what it is. Not everyone will work on customer facing applications. They probably understand that. Tell them what impact you have, who your customers are, and how you measure success.
Ultimately, you are building for the customer. Keep bringing back that you value product defining who the customer is, and what their pain points are that you are solving with code.
Customer experience, customer feedback, customer NPS scores…
@RohitKumar, Absolutely, customer-centricity is at the core of successful product development. As an engineering manager, consistently reinforcing the importance of the customer in all aspects of your work is crucial. Here are some key points to emphasize:
Understanding Customer Needs: Emphasize the significance of product teams defining and understanding the target customers. Highlight the efforts made to gather customer feedback, conduct user research, and analyze market trends to identify pain points and unmet needs.
Customer Experience: Stress the importance of delivering an exceptional customer experience. Explain how engineering decisions and product development efforts are directly tied to enhancing the overall customer journey and making interactions with the product seamless and enjoyable.
Customer Feedback Loop: Showcase the existence of a robust feedback loop between the customers and the product/engineering team. Describe how customer feedback is continuously collected, analyzed, and acted upon to drive iterative improvements and optimize the product.
Customer NPS Scores: Mention the use of customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) or similar metrics to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty. Highlight the efforts made to improve NPS scores by addressing pain points and exceeding customer expectations.
Problem Solving: Emphasize that the ultimate goal of code and engineering efforts is to solve customer problems. Demonstrate how each line of code or new feature is directly linked to addressing a specific customer pain point or fulfilling a need.
User-Centric Development: Discuss the use of user-centered design principles in the development process. Showcase how the team actively involves customers in the design and testing phases to ensure the final product meets their expectations.
Continuous Learning from Customers: Emphasize that the team is continually learning from customer behavior and interactions with the product. Share examples of how this learning drives data-informed decisions to create a better product.
Customer Success Stories: Share compelling customer success stories that highlight the positive impact your product has had on their businesses or lives. Real-life examples can effectively demonstrate the value of customer-centric development.
Product Roadmap Alignment: Show how the product roadmap is directly influenced by customer needs and market demands. Discuss how engineering projects are prioritized based on the potential customer impact and alignment with the overall product vision.
Customer-Centric Culture: Communicate that a customer-centric culture is ingrained within the engineering and product teams. Encourage collaboration, empathy, and a shared commitment to putting the customer first.
By consistently reinforcing the importance of the customer and their needs, you can foster a customer-centric mindset within your team and ensure that engineering efforts remain aligned with the ultimate goal of delivering value to customers and the success of the product in the market.
Hope this helps. Good Luck.
Thank you all for your very thoughtful and helpful insights. Each of your comments were incredibly valuable and greatly appreciated. Your diverse perspectives have shed light on various aspects of the topic, allowing us to consider different angles and deepen my understanding. Your contributions have truly enriched the discussion and will undoubtedly inform my future decisions.