EM ⇔ E
I absolutely love this by Charity Majors:
The best frontline eng[ineering] managers in the world are the ones that are never more than 2-3 years removed from hands-on work, full time down in the trenches. The best individual contributors are the ones who have done time in management. And the best technical leaders in the world are often the ones who do both. Back and forth. Like a pendulum.
Having been through a full swing, this clearly resonates with me. In the process, I’ve learned that the ‘performance satisfaction gap’ that Lopp talks about, which I’ve discussed before, wags both ways. Doing time as a team-lead taught me the valuable lesson of why people skills matter, because unlike engineering, managing people cannot be done in iterations; it doesn’t end well. As Charity says it best:
Management is not a promotion, management is a change of profession. And you will be bad at it for a long time after you start doing it. If you don’t think you’re bad at it, [then] you aren’t doing your job. Do it as long as it makes you happy, and the people around you happy. Then stop. Go back to building things. Wait [un]til you get that itch again.
I am back in the trenches full time and loving it again.