We're evolving engineering management at Monzo

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Engineering management at Monzo is evolving.

In the early days, we focused on individual support and development of our world class engineers (See our blog post from June 2018, Organising teams and managing engineers). Over the last 12-18 months we've shifted our focus to providing both excellent people support and technical leadership for teams and business areas.

Read on to find out more and if it sounds like something you'd like to be involved with, come talk to us!

We're part of the engineering leadership group ๐Ÿค

As leaders, we're responsible for ensuring our teams are staffed, performing and delivering. We take the lead on strategic and tactical planning, creating environments that empower our teams to make trade-offs and prioritisation calls. We act as decision makers to keep things moving and have difficult conversations where needed. We shield our teams from unnecessary distractions and communicate organisational context. Sometime this can be difficult, we voice our opinions, consider others and commit to a decision... even when we don't fully agree.

Ultimately as leaders in the business we are expected to be role models, hold ourselves and others to the highest standards and, act as bar raisers for engineering culture at Monzo.

Finding balance and delivering impact ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ

One of the key drivers for the shift in responsibility towards teams and delivery was that our organisational design had meant we had become too far removed from the day-to-day work of our engineers and teams. This made it difficult to reason about individual performance and gave us little opportunity to improve what teams were doing or how they did it.

Now we're part of the team, working closely with our engineers and other discipline leads to prioritise, plan and deliver work, balancing the needs of our customers, Monzo and system health. Our work contributes towards making money work for everyone.

Team health, performance and working practices ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ

To deliver the incredible customer experiences Monzo is known for, our teams have to be functioning as high performing units. This means they have healthy team dynamics (high levels of trust, psychological safety, healthy conflict etc), deliver operational excellence through continuous improvement and demonstrate a consistent focus on setting and achieving challenging goals.

It is the responsibility of engineering managers to understand how teams are performing and where improvements can be made. When our teams are performing well, we aim to maintain and improve where we can. If a team is not performing, we must dig in and work with the team to identify and fix any performance issues as a priority. Coaching, encouraging and celebrating wins along the way ๐ŸŽ‰

High performance requires good team health. Engineering managers measure, monitor and work with teams to maintain good health. Working to create environments where individuals can feel safe to be themselves, can rely on their team mates, have clear goals, expectations and a strong sense of purpose.

We're always observing how teams and individuals work and interact, offering suggestions, feedback and working with others to create a culture of continuous improvement and high performance. We attend team rituals, we plan, prioritise and unblock, minimise disruptions and encourage focus. Doing what needs to be done so teams can meet their goals.

We're excellent people managers โค๏ธ

Supporting and developing the skills and careers of Monzo's world class engineers is a huge part of what we do... and we do it well! We're excellent people managers and have helped shape and define the bar for people management at Monzo.

Much of the work we do in this area hinges on our ability to build trusting relationships with the engineers we manage. We do this by caring about them as individuals, by understanding their motivations, helping them develop their skills and experiences and achieve their aspirations. We have regular one-to-ones, give feedback, have career conversations, set development goals and provide coaching and/or mentoring when needed. We're advocates for our engineers and the first point of contact for any questions, concerns or issues they may have.

We set a high bar for engineering performance at Monzo and it is our job to provide engineers with all the tools they need to meet and exceed these standards. We set clear expectations for all our engineers and have regular performance and goal check-ins with them. Every 6 months we run a formal performance review cycle that we use to recognise and reward high performers and provide support to those who need it.

To code, or not to code, that is the question ๐Ÿค”

Manager schedules tend to be interrupt driven, this can make coding and hands on engineering work for managers difficult. For this reason, engineering managers at Monzo generally don't contribute to their team's goals by writing code or designing systems. There is nothing to stop us from doing this, but there are often better uses of our time.

An engineering manager's role is technical because we must be able to understand and represent the nature of our team's work, communicating the challenges and complexities to other stakeholders, and helping to ensure our teams are making good decisions about where to spend their time and effort. We contribute technically in other ways, for example writing and commenting on technical proposals, participating in design sessions, interviewing and onboarding new engineers and managing incidents ๐Ÿค“

Talk to us about engineering management ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Like everyone else here at Monzo, we're always thinking about our mission to make money work for everyone. For us engineering managers, this means using our technical and managerial experience to be leaders within our teams, to support our engineers and create a high performance environment focused on prioritising and delivering excellent customer experiences.

Weโ€™d love to hear any questions or thoughts you have or maybe tell us what you do in your organisations to have an impact as an engineering manager. Let us know whatโ€™s worked for youย in the community!ย ๐Ÿ“ฃ

And if youโ€™re interested in joining us as an engineering manager, working with world-class engineers to make money work for everyone, we're hiring! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Thanks for reading, for more insights behind-the-scenes of building a bank, follow @MakingMonzo ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ๐Ÿฆ