Thursday, May 24, 2018

Lessons Learned on Two First Weeks as Manager

A few weeks ago, after a long battle, I gave in and applied for a new role: Senior Manager, Windows Endpoint Development. That means I work with two full development teams, handling their line manager duties.

When considering the shift (actually, when looking for reasons to not make the shift) a friend reminded me:
You have always job crafted your tester role to barely recognizable. Why should this manager role be any different in how you end up doing it?
I almost understood what they meant. Now I understand fully.

I've been now in this new role for two weeks, and I barely see any difference. That is how much I had crafted my previous role.

I still test and I still love it. I'm still finding time boxes to test whatever I feel like, and I'm still not taking  tasks from "the backlog" but identifying the most valuable thing I could be doing.

I still look at systems beyond the perceived team / components divisions, following all flows of change into the system we are building.

I still guide us all in doing things incrementally, and the testers perspective is perfect for that.

I still listen to my team mates (now direct reports) for their concerns and walk with them to address things. 

I was as powerful as a tester (with my network of people to do the work with). I might claim I was even more powerful, because I did not have to deal with the "yes, manager - of course we do what you asked" and got to dig into the best solutions defending my perspectives, turning them reality without assigned power.

I never cared for the hierarchy when getting things done. If I learned something now, I learned that others should learn to care less about hierarchy. And that "escalating through hierarchies" is an organization worst practice on the level of actual practical work. I thought others also saw problems and felt they could just go solve them, seeing all obstacles they can get through as potential things for themselves to do.

I always knew many people's salaries. Because I talked with people one on one and made sure it was fair. Well, I told people joining the company my salary for them to know what they can try negotiating on. I also have moved my own bonuses on others who in the bigger scale of things deserved it more because that is what my sense of justice told me to do. I have fought for other people's raises, as well as my own before.

The only thing that is sort of new is the many quirks of recruitment - relocation processes and the work managers do there.

I'm surprised that my new job is my old job.

And talking with the friend again:
I told you you were already doing that job.