Engineering Management Trends in 2022 by@gabor-zold
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Engineering Management Trends in 2022

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This post is based on research data from the State of Engineering Management 2022 report. In this post, I am highlighting some of the most interesting findings, such as the most popular hiring methods, employee retention secrets, and success metrics for engineering managers.
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@gabor-zold

Gábor Zöld
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Software engineering is constantly evolving. New technologies, methods and philosophies arise every day, not just in development, but in engineering management as well. 

I am a firm believer of role models and learning from others’ successes and mistakes. By presenting the current management trends in tech to you, I hope I’ll give you ideas on how you can improve as a leader. 

This post is based on research data from the State of Engineering Management 2022 report. Here, I summarize the most important takeaways, including the differences between hiring  engineering managers and developers, keeping employees motivated, and using the right success metrics in a position that is complicated to measure. 

Hiring 

Hiring has always been the top challenge for leaders in the tech industry. According to the report, companies prefer different strategies when hiring developers compared to engineering managers. 

Top methods for hiring developers are…

  1. employee referrals,
  2. professional connections,
  3. in-house recruiters, and
  4. third-party recruiters.
  5. image

Research shows that employee referrals help you find hires who are on average better in every dimension.

This order changes when hiring engineering managers. Here, the most efficient methods are…

  1. professional connections,
  2. third-party recruiters,
  3. employee referrals, and
  4. in-house recruiters. 

This points to engineering leaders seeing the most success when hiring acquaintances or relying on the expertise of outside sources. The latter explains why engineering leaders receive so many outreach messages on LinkedIn.

Retention

Using the right motivation strategy is the first step to keeping a high retention rate.  This applies to developers and engineering managers alike.

Motivating Developers

Team came out as the key factor almost everyone focuses on when it comes to making sure software developers stick around at their company. Team spirit is important when it comes to attracting talent, but it becomes even more important when you want to retain talent.

Challenging work is equally important, both when attracting and holding on to talent.

Based on the numbers, autonomy is key to making sure that your software engineers stick around. Interestingly, it tends not to be an essential selling point when you’re hiring individual contributors.

On the other hand, money tends to take a backseat when you want to motivate software engineers. It’s an important aspect to get them in the door, but according to our respondents, engineers are far more likely to stick around for the people and the mission over the money.

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Motivating Engineering Managers

The motivation of engineering managers seems to only differ slightly from software engineers.

Challenging work is the biggest factor behind their motivation. According to the numbers, your best bet to hold on to your engineering leaders is to make sure they don’t get bored on the job. 

Team came in as the second biggest factor. Interestingly, the team is a less important selling point when you’re hiring managers, but it’s almost at the top when you’re looking to retain them.

Autonomy is roughly equally important, both when recruiting and when retaining management talent. It’s a good idea to focus on figuring out and communicating the degree and the limits of their autonomy from the moment you define the position and make sure to keep acting it out in the long run.

People Management

Measuring the impact of management is a complicated matter; there aren’t any widely accepted metrics for it.

The top two most widely used success criteria that our respondents utilize are working software and on-time delivery. The former is the top choice among top performer teams, while the latter is more widely popular. It’s an interesting discrepancy. You might want to give it some thought within the context of your own team.

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Top performing teams are a lot less likely to avoid measuring any success criteria for engineering managers compared to all teams across the board. This suggests that putting effort into measuring your managers’ performance based on any metric could yield better results than not even trying.

Conclusion

All in all, tech leaders are facing many challenges in 2022. Hiring, keeping employees and finding the right success metrics for engineering managers are just a few of them.

To have a better insight on the current state of engineering management, read the full report, which touches on a wide range of aspects, such as personal development, diversity and inclusion, and even book recommendations on leadership. 

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