Being passive is not the goal.
We were recently discussing this article in a tech group I’m part of. For those who haven’t read it, the blog post describes a manager’s weekly schedule and demonstrates how hard it is to do anything proactive, given you are always in meetings.
The article struck a chord for many of us, and we decided to do a quick analysis of our schedules for comparison. The data above is from our group of managers, all in technology. There are examples from startups, big tech, consulting, and a few countries.
- Engineering Director, five teams with 23 total reports. Thirteen hours of focus time in a week.
- Engineering Manager, one team with ten total reports. Fourteen hours of focus time.
- Engineering Director, two teams with ten total reports. Seventeen hours of focus time.
- Engineering Manager, one team with eleven total reports. Ten hours of focus time.
- Engineering Manager, one team with ten total reports. More than twenty hours of focus time.
- Sr. Engineering Director, fifteen teams with 135 total reports. Eleven hours of focus time.
While engineering management is a complex role with little definition, we have been doing this for long enough to have some patterns to follow. And one of them is that focus time is necessary. You need to reflect, think and act on the systems you manage to get results.
Hopefully, the data above helps to show that it is also possible.