2018 Andela Engineering Management Report
Today's Engineering Manager
It’s no surprise that recruiting and retaining talent is the top concern for most engineering managers, according to the 2018 Andela Engineering Management Report. But that’s hardly their only concern. They reported that their companies could better support them through communication, resources, and flexibility.
Remote Work Lives On
A mere 14% of the managers surveyed reported that the entirety of their team works in the same location. 46% of respondents reported having some of their teams working remotely, while 40% said they rely on remote workers most or all of the time.
Managers at pro-remote companies found the distributed model beneficial in terms of collaboration, communication, and productivity. However, the one in six managers who had little experience with distributed teams proved to be far more skeptical. Half of them reported a negative impact on collaboration and relationship building, although it could be that this skepticism stems from lack of experience. Remote management is challenging in theory, but when done well, it can maximize productivity.
Managers who oversee a hybrid team – meaning that some engineers are co-located and others are remote – comprised the largest segment in this year’s study. This group found the overall impact of a distributed team to be positive, with 80% citing that remote work helped productivity and 62% reporting that it improved relationship building, collaboration, and communication.
Overall, how much of your team work remotely?
How does remote working impact your management experience as it relates to the following, COLLABORATION
How does remote working impact your management experience as it relates to the following, PRODUCTIVITY
ENGINEERING TEAM MANAGEMENT
The Business Case For Overcommunication
Which best describes how often you have one-on-one meetings with your direct reports?
Which best describes how often you have performance reviews with your direct reports?
At a high level, the results showed that managers of distributed teams are better able to measure both productivity and business impact. This could be a direct result of the structure required to successfully run distributed teams. While developing a structure for performance management is generally accepted as a best practice, it’s especially necessary for managers with distributed teams.
According to the survey, managers of distributed teams are much more likely to hold daily or weekly stand-ups than their co-located peers. They are also more likely to have dedicated 1:1 meetings and a more formal performance review structure. This likely accounts for the improvement in productivity and collaboration cited by managers of fully distributed teams, as well as the 20% increase in perceived business impact and support from executive management.
RESOURCES FOR COLLABORATION
Tools of the Trade
Which of the following is the most important tool used by your team to keep remote employees in the loop of new policies, rationale behind decisions, etc.?
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The Case for Location Flexibility
16% of managers in distributed workforces said retaining talent is their top concern.
Engineering managers ranked the following as the most in-demand skill sets:
Nine out of ten respondents chose problem-solving and collaboration as the top traits to look for in hiring, regardless of the distribution of their team. Even when asked to pick the single most important characteristic, problem solving remained at the top of the list.
Managers of remote teams put a higher value on programming and documentation basics, such as testing and code review. Over 55% of remote managers said that specific experience was very important, while only 16% of co-located managers agreed. Managers of onsite teams were more likely to value culture fit and ambition.
TODAY’S ENGINEERING MANAGER
A Cry for Support
How could your company support your development as a manager better?
“Better communication and more technological based resources. We have a diverse team and that needs to continue, but communication is key.”
“Hire the right fit, and provide good packages to talents so that we can retain them.”
“My current company does not understand employee development as a process. We need to start from the ground up in making a system that supports employee development at all levels.”
“Provide better resources to hire more people and allow permanent ability to hire remote workers.”
“Provide resources to filter out recruitment and offer hiring apps to help with filtering and finding the right applicants.”