What does an Engineering Manager do?

What’s the job of an Engineering Manager? You might say, run agile ceremonies and rituals. Set processes and culture. Document best practices. Hire and train engineers. They all describe the day-to-day activities, but what is the actual role?

To answer that question, let’s first explain what an Engineer does. An Engineer develops features and fixes bugs for an organization’s users. So the more tickets and issues that an Engineer completes, the more value is generated for the business. Given that an Engineering Manager manages Engineers, the role is then obvious—an Engineering Manager helps Engineers generate more value for the business.

Let’s try to explain this in another way. An IC (Individual Contributor) takes requirements and writes code. Those are the inputs and outputs. A manager takes ICs and enhances their productivity. Thus, an Engineering Manager’s output is his or her direct reports’ outputs. That’s the ultimate job of a manager—to make his or her people better. How that’s done, is up to you.

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