Enterprise Engineering Management 102

4 hours, 26 minutes CC
Enterprise Engineering Management 102

Course Description

Learn the keys to leading high-performing technical teams from Ryan Burgess, Senior Software Engineering Manager at Netflix. Set up your teams for success by developing OKRs and KPIs, team charters, hiring processes, and fostering strong partnerships. You'll discover the importance of giving and receiving feedback and navigating change management to improve your teams. See real-world examples, interactive exercises, and expert discussions that will enhance your leadership skills!

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Course Details

Published: January 15, 2024

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Table of Contents


Section Duration: 13 minutes
  • Introduction
    Ryan Burgess introduces himself as a software engineering manager at Netflix and discusses his experience in management. He mentions that this course, "Engineering Management", is a continuation of the previous course, "Intro to Engineering Management", taught by Jem Young. Ryan explains that this course will cover topics such as setting your team up for success, hiring, building partnerships, giving and receiving feedback, and change management. He also emphasizes the importance of seeking different perspectives and experiences in management.

Team Success

Section Duration: 27 minutes
  • Team Success: OKRs & KPIs
    Ryan discusses the importance of setting up a team for success as a manager. He talks about the team vision, which outlines the high-level goals and purpose of the team, and the roadmap, which is a more detailed plan of the work to be done. This lesson also introduces the concept of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as ways to measure the impact of the team's work and track progress towards goals. Finally, Ryan emphasizes the importance of involving the team in setting these metrics and goals to ensure buy-in and leverage their insights.
  • Team Charter
    Ryan discusses the importance of creating a team charter or vision statement, and how a team charter helps bring clarity and alignment to the team's mission and goals, and helps stakeholders and partners understand the team's purpose. Ryan then guides the audience through an exercise to brainstorm and create their own team charter, emphasizing the importance of clarity, conciseness, and collaboration within the team. After the exercise, the Ryan facilitates a discussion where participants share their thoughts and experiences with creating a team charter.
  • Using the Team Charter
    Ryan discusses what to do after creating a team charter, emphasizing the importance of sharing the charter with the team, leadership, partners, and customers to ensure clarity and alignment. He also recommends revisiting the charter one to two times a year to make adjustments if necessary. The lesson includes insights and experiences shared by participants.


Section Duration: 1 hour, 13 minutes
  • Hiring & Recruiting
    Ryan discusses the importance of hiring the right people for a team. He illustrates the need for managers to be heavily involved in the hiring process and to consider the skills, experience, and diversity that would be beneficial for the team. Ryan also highlights the importance of team dynamics, culture fit, and the ability to up-level the team in certain areas. Finally, he encourages collaboration with the team and recruiting to ensure a successful hiring process.
  • Job Description
    Ryan discusses the importance of creating a clear and concise job description. He also emphasizes the need for accurate job titles, a concise job summary, specific responsibilities and qualifications, and highlighting company culture. Also discussed is the potential inclusion of salary ranges and the importance of avoiding bias and using inclusive language in job descriptions. Finally Ryan suggests leveraging tools and getting feedback from others to improve job descriptions.
  • Interview Panel & Process
    Ryan stresses the importance of being prepared for interviews and emphasizes the need to create a panel and outline the responsibilities of each interviewer. He also discusses different types of interview exercises, such as live coding and take-home exercises, and the importance of providing a suitable coding environment for candidates. Additionally, discussed is the importance of setting expectations in job descriptions and providing additional information to recruiters and interviewers to help them understand the role better.
  • Candidate Experience
    Ryan discusses the importance of providing a positive candidate experience during the hiring process. He emphasizes the need for transparency, timely communication, setting clear expectations, and providing feedback to candidates. The value of networking and building connections is covered, even when there are no immediate job openings.
  • Networking & Dream Hire List
    Ryan discusses various tools and strategies for networking and finding potential hires. He mentions using LinkedIn to view people's resumes, leveraging search terms, and connecting with others on Twitter. Ryan also suggests attending conferences, meetups, and events to network and get to know people in the industry. Additionally recommended is engaging in Slack communities, looking at open-source projects, creating tech blog posts, and sharing updates on social media platforms. The lesson concludes with an exercise for creating a dream hire list and maintaining connections with potential hires.
  • Sourcing
    Ryan covers the topic of sourcing candidates for job roles and has a discussion with Jem where they discuss the importance of being proactive and creative in finding potential candidates, such as attending events or meetups, looking at past candidates, and seeking referrals. Their conversation also highlights the value of building a strong network and maintaining visibility within the company to make sourcing easier.
  • Building Partnerships
    Ryan emphasizes the importance of building partnerships as an engineering manager. He highlights the key elements of a healthy partnership, such as mutual trust, collaboration, transparency, and shared responsibility. Ryan also encourages audience participation and shares examples and suggestions from the audience on how to strengthen partnerships, including maintaining a backlog of potential candidates for different roles and promoting cross-team communication and collaboration through guild meetings or centers of practice.

Partnerships & Teams

Section Duration: 44 minutes
  • Building Strong Partnerships
    Ryan discusses the importance of strong partnerships and collaboration in achieving success, emphasizing the need for input, feedback, and diverse perspectives from partners to drive innovation. The lesson also covers building trust, effective communication, aligning expectations, being adaptable, and understanding shared goals. Ryan also addresses a question about teams that have different approaches to problem-solving and provides suggestions for finding a middle ground and fostering collaboration. The lesson concludes with additional tips on communication and the impact of team communication patterns on software systems design.
  • Building a High-Performing Team
    Ryan discusses the importance of building and maintaining a high-performing team, and defining a high-performance team as one that exceeds expectations, delivers work efficiently, satisfies customers/stakeholders, and has a positive impact on the business. He also addresses the need for continuous improvement, consistency, and open communication within the team. The lesson concludes with insights on how to address team struggles and give feedback to team members who need to improve in certain technical areas.
  • Measuring Team Performance
    Ryan discusses how to determine if a team is performing well, and mentions several indicators, such as clear goals and alignment, meeting timelines, and receiving unsolicited positive feedback. He also mentions individual growth, healthy debate, psychological safety, and the ability to learn from mistakes. Also emphasized is the importance of giving and receiving feedback in a constructive manner.
  • Bad Measurements of Performance
    Ryan discusses the pitfalls of using certain metrics to measure team performance, such as lines of code, number of commits, time-based metrics, a focus on quantity over quality, and associating card points to hours. Ryan emphasizes that these metrics do not provide meaningful insights into high performance and should not be used for measurement.
  • Ask a Manager: Measuring Performance
    Ryan discusses performance management and measuring performance with Jem Young. They discuss various ways to determine if a team is performing well, such as team members pointing out problems and offering solutions, team members feeling comfortable giving feedback and suggesting improvements, and the team setting their own objectives and key results. They also discuss the importance of engagement, autonomy, and avoiding ineffective metrics like lines of code or relying solely on visible projects for measuring performance.


Section Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Growth Plans
    Ryan asserts the importance of having growth conversations with team members as a manager and discusses the need to set aside time for these conversations and establish baseline expectations. He encourages working on a growth plan with individuals on the team and providing constructive feedback and positive signals to support their growth. Additionally highlighted is the role of the manager in finding opportunities for team members and advocating for their achievements to the leadership team.
  • Growth Reflection Exercise
    Ryan discusses the importance of growth reflection exercises for their team, explaining that they provide their team with a set of questions to reflect on their own growth and then have a one-on-one conversation to discuss their responses. The speaker also shares a framework called GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will) that can be used to guide the conversation and help identify areas for growth. The lesson concludes with the speaker answering questions about good growth questions to ask and emphasizing the importance of understanding an individual's unique definition of growth.
  • Dealing with Conflict
    Ryan examines how managers can deal with conflict in the workplace by providing scenarios. He also discusses highlighting different approaches to handling conflict, such as approaching it with curiosity, understanding different perspectives, and finding common goals. Ryan also emphasizes the importance of effective communication, documenting changes, and following up with individuals involved in the conflict.
  • Dealing with Conflict: Audience Discussion
    Ryan asks the audience how they would approach various scenarios he covered which highlight the challenges of different types of conflicts, parties involved, power structures and dynamics that arise at work. Ryan finishes with guidance on how to create physiological safety which can de-escalate conflicts.
  • Giving Feedback
    Ryan examines the challenges and importance of giving feedback. He emphasizes the need for both positive reinforcement and constructive criticism and differentiating between general growth feedback and critical feedback. He also shares their approach to receiving feedback from team members and the importance of giving feedback in a private setting rather than in a group or through Slack.
  • Critical Feedback
    Ryan discusses how to approach giving critical feedback and having conversations about it, affirming the importance of creating a conducive space for feedback and considering the recipient's readiness to receive it. Also highlighted is the need for clear and concise feedback, framing it as an observation and providing concrete examples. Additionally stressed is the importance of empathy, patience, and open dialogue in these conversations.
  • Avoiding Feedback Mistakes
    Ryan reviews common mistakes to avoid when giving critical feedback. He emphasizes the importance of not overwhelming the recipient with too much feedback at once, avoiding harsh or hurtful language, and not making the feedback personal. Also stressed is the need for clear and concise feedback, and the importance of addressing issues in a timely manner rather than waiting too long.
  • Feedback Support and Follow-up
    Ryan considers the importance of giving critical feedback and how to handle it effectively. He covers the need to give the person time to reflect and digest the feedback, provide written feedback to ensure clarity, and encourage the person to outline a plan for improvement. Ryan also talks about the importance of ongoing feedback and discusses the role of managers in receiving feedback from their team members.
  • Receiving Feedback
    Ryan provides tips on how to best receive feedback, such as assuming best intent, being an active listener, and avoiding becoming defensive or making excuses. The lesson concludes with suggestions on how to engage feedback from the team and the importance of thanking people for their feedback.
  • Giving Feedback Scenario
    Ryan sets up a scenario where Jem, playing the role of a direct report, gives feedback to Ryan playing the role of a manager. Jem expresses frustration with a decision made by the Ryan and provides him constructive feedback. Ryan responds by seeking to understand the issue, asking clarifying questions, and offering potential solutions. The lesson emphasizes the importance of effective communication and empathy when giving and receiving feedback.

Change Management

Section Duration: 17 minutes
  • How to Approach Change Management
    Ryan discusses the topic of change management in engineering management, and explains that change management involves transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state to achieve business goals. He also provides advice on how to approach change management, including the importance of understanding the changes, communicating them clearly to the team, involving the team in the process, and addressing any concerns or questions they may have. Additionally, Ryan addresses a specific scenario where a manager is moved to a different area of the business and may not have as much technical expertise, offering advice on how to handle that situation.
  • Ask a Manager: Handling Change Management
    Ryan and Jem discuss their experiences and advice on dealing with change management. Jem brings up addressing the difficulties due to his lack of experience and the numerous changes he had to navigate, such as layoffs, reorganizations, and hiring new leaders. Jem emphasizes the importance of getting context from his manager, being transparent and open with his team, and documenting his experiences to reflect and learn from them. This discussion also highlights the value of having a supportive network of experienced managers and peers to lean on during challenging times.

Wrapping Up

Section Duration: 4 minutes
  • Wrapping Up
    Ryan recaps the topics covered in this course, which include setting up a team for success, creating roadmaps and setting a vision, hiring and interviewing practices, building partnerships, giving and receiving feedback, and change management. He also shares a list of leadership resources, including books like "Radical Candor" and "The Manager's Path," as well as a parenting book that can improve communication skills.
Engineering Management 101 and 102 are amazing, funny, humbling retrospectives on the day-to-day of an Engineering Manager. I wish these existed years ago!
Ryan Yogan

Ryan Yogan


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