In our last post we talked about technical leadership, one of the growth paths available to software engineers at Yelp. In this post we’d like to share more about engineering management, which is another path that some software engineers choose after some time in the industry. We’ll start with an explanation of what engineering management is (and isn’t), discuss our approach to management, and talk about what makes it different from engineering. We’ll also discuss how people get started on a management path at Yelp, and what we do to help our management team grow in their roles.
At Yelp, every engineering manager is accountable for the overall health, execution, and vision of their team. Managers safeguard Yelp’s culture and values, ensuring that it’s a great place to work. We expect managers to make good decisions that are best for the company and to put the interests of the team ahead of themselves. Sometimes this means handing off an interesting project to another team that is better equipped, or finding a role on another team at Yelp for a senior engineer who’s ready for a new challenge.
Each of us on the management team is a technologist with a background in doing the work, whether that be software engineering, information technology, machine learning, or something else. This background knowledge gives us the ability to understand what our teams do on a day-to-day basis, to empathize with the challenges they face, and to entrust our team with most of the decision-making necessary to build and operate our product and its infrastructure.