New day, new team

Today I logged into the system and saw that the team I’ve been leading for a few weeks now is formally now reporting to me.  I didn’t write about the change for the same reason I don’t write about a lot of my day-to-day issues as an engineering manager: it’s hard to make the content interesting while still respecting the privacy of the people involved.

My responsibilities aren’t changing, not in the grand scheme of things.  I’m still leading a team which is responsible for doing a lot of the “guts” type work in the SRM Suite, which includes functionality from ProSphere, Watch4Net, and Storage Compliance Analyzer … and unless you’re a customer or a fellow ASD employee, I don’t expect that means anything to you.

The people doing the work are changing, though.  I’m keeping three of my previous engineers, giving up three, and gaining four to replace them. Of those four, two are remote, and two are local.  Of course, that’s not what it looked like a month ago.  A month ago, I was only supposed to keep one of those engineers.  This is the reality of what it means to be a manager in a place like this, where change is constant.

(I won’t tell you how much the chain above me has changed … that’s a whole separate story!)

When I first was doing any kind of leadership work and was first approached about being a manager, I was worried about getting “sucked into politics.”  I always tell people, though, that once you’re involved at a certain level of leadership (technical or otherwise), you either get sucked into politics or you aren’t doing your job well.  To fine-tune my team from the people it originally was scheduled to have, to the people it has now, required a lot of discussion.  It didn’t happen overnight and it couldn’t have happened without the senior technical people in the organization standing up and supporting some of the statements I was making.

Whether you like it or not, your organizational agility and effectiveness has a huge impact on the day to day life you lead inside the corporation.  It’s not about shady back room deals and getting dirty, but it also isn’t anything you learned in engineering school.  It’s something everyone should invest in, and it’s hard to teach.