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2022 | Buch

Remote Engineering Management

Managing an Engineering Team in a Remote-First World


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Managing an engineering team is hard, managing a remote engineering team is even harder—but dedicating effort to setting up a proper remote-first environment will allow for your team to thrive. This book breaks down the most important processes in engineering teams, and demonstrates how to make them work effectively in a remote organization.

How do you organize code deployments, onboard new hires, give feedback, and stay up to date with your team when you can’t see each other in person every day? This book looks at how building connections and working together to solve problems comes naturally when a team is co-located, but can feel almost impossible when everyone is working remotely and communicating over video calls and messages.

Whether you’re an experienced engineering manager or just getting started, you’ll learn why copying in-office practices to the remote office doesn’t work, the communication issues behind the scenes you may not even realize are happening, and how to make every aspect of remote work better for your team. From learning about how to remove new remote-specific biases from your interview process, to understanding what the team really thinks about those daily status update meetings, this book will be your guide in creating the best and most inclusive version of your engineering team.

What You’ll Learn

Recognize where current remote processes are falling shortBuild up best practices to lead a team with a people-first and empathetic approachCommunicate effectively in a remote organization

Who This Book is For

Engineering managers, team leads, directors, and those hoping to move into a lead role, will get the most value out of the book. Many of the learnings around communication will be applicable to any position in an organization, but there’s a focus on processes and job duties most relevant to engineers.


Chapter 1. Hiring
Before joining your team, every engineer likely experienced the same first few steps: the hiring process. The way that communication with candidates happens and the structure around interviews set the tone for what the work environment will be like, and how they will be treated—far earlier than what might be thought of as someone’s first interaction with the company, onboarding.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 2. Onboarding
Back when I started my very first job as a software engineer, I had no idea what I was doing.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 3. Meetings
When a previously office-based team moves to remote work, a common way of adapting is to fill everyone’s calendars with so many meetings that no one actually has enough time to get any “real” work done during the week. There’s a thought that if you can’t see work being done, no work is being done.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 4. One-on-Ones
The one-on-ones that I have with my team are some of my favorite meetings of the week. I get to hear about what’s going on in their lives, support them through decisions or issues they’re facing at work, and coach them to help them reach their career goals. They’re extremely valuable and enjoyable meetings, but they weren’t always like that.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 5. Deploys
Code deploys are among the most common and process-oriented tasks that an engineer will take on. Long gone are the days where most software is distributed on physical CDs and needs to be in near-perfect condition because of the incredible cost to shipping (literally) corrections. Nowadays when you work in tech, you’re likely working in a SaaS environment where the product is some form of web-based application and updates can go out at any moment—even if you’re working on software for hardware-based products like cars, watches, thermostats, or fridges, these devices are all internet connected, and the burden of updating them is so minor compared to the undertaking that it was before.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 6. Communication Strategies
For people who haven’t embraced the incredibleness that is remote work yet, one of the biggest concerns that’s often brought up as holding them back is the fear that there won’t be enough communication between people.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 7. Feedback and Promotions
Giving your team members feedback on a regular basis is a major part of your job as a manager. When done right, feedback is a gift that can help your direct reports grow in their careers and work toward their long-term goals. It’s equally important to give both praise for work that has been done well and constructive feedback to help guide people toward continuous improvement. And while feedback is so critical to both teams and individuals, it can be very difficult to give meaningful feedback, and can also be extremely difficult to receive in a way that encourages people to give even more in the future.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 8. Burnout
When working in an office with someone in person, over time you start to understand their typical mood patterns and learn to pick up on certain behavioral cues that convey their current mental and emotional state. For example, you might recognize when they’re stressed out or tired because of the subtleties of their interactions with others or the amount of coffee they’re drinking; or you might notice when something must be going really well in their lives too. When working remotely, those cues don’t exist in the same way and are much more subtle: you typically aren’t seeing how someone carries themselves throughout the day, and interactions are limited to text-based messages or meetings. This can be a very good thing, especially for those who don’t necessarily want to be sharing how they’re feeling with those around them at work or bring attention to themselves if something is wrong. But it can also have its downsides, because when we aren’t able to pick up on the fact that something is going wrong, we can’t help out.
Alexandra Sunderland
Chapter 9. Saying Goodbye
The book opened with the initial phases of the employee lifecycle—hiring and onboarding—so it’s only natural to bookend it with this last chapter: Saying Goodbye, when people leave the company.
Alexandra Sunderland
Remote Engineering Management
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Alexandra Sunderland
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