Each team has its own story and challenges. In order to share problems, find solutions together, and prevent silos, EMs periodically chat in a peer-level meeting.
The Engineering Managers team
Leaders who are strong team players understand that the people who report to them are not their first team. Instead, their first team is their peers across the company. This first-team focus helps them make decisions that consider the needs of the company as a whole before focusing on the needs of their team.
— Camille Fournier, “The Manager's Path”
While life as an engineer is deeply rooted in getting feedback from your peers, an Engineering Manager may sometimes feel lonely.
The peer-level meeting acts as a support group in which you can share your management problems and gather feedback on the solutions you're planning to employ. In such a setting, any recurring solutions or problems also have a chance of being recognized as a pattern and addressed at a company level.
The peer-level meeting also increases your sense of belonging to the "Engineering Managers" team, allowing you to get to know the other EMs better, both personally and professionally.
The meeting usually lasts in the 30 minutes-1 hour range and is held weekly. The agenda is not fixed, and anyone can bring up a topic. Common discussion points usually include:
- a call for help with a challenge currently faced by a specific team;
- a discussion on how other teams are approaching a particular problem;
- brainstorming on how to improve a process or which tools to adopt.
A journal is then updated by one of the attendees reporting the date, participants, and the main topics or solutions that were discussed.