Mastering delegation in engineering

How to identify tasks that can be delegated and delegate effectively without losing control

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Effective delegation is crucial for engineering managers to empower their teams and focus on strategic tasks.

  • Why it matters: Delegation allows managers to optimize their workload and fosters team growth, leading to a more efficient and skilled engineering team.

Three key steps that can make you an effective delegator:

  1. Prioritize: Identify non-essential, time-consuming tasks. Separate routine tasks from strategic ones. Hold onto the tasks that require close managerial oversight.

  2. Empower: Delegate tasks that offer development opportunities. Give your engineers the space to learn and make mistakes, and support them either directly or with the aid of a peer to successfully complete a task.

  3. Set expectations: Be explicit in a task’s requirements. Touch base with the engineer to ensure they’re on the right track. Close out a task with feedback or acknowledgement of a job well done.

The bottom line: Delegating is tough and feels unnatural, but committing time and energy to the practice will set you apart as a skilled manager. Bon courage!

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🤖 Generative AI won’t replace building an engineering team. Junior engineers bring benefits to a team that AI-generated code simply can't match.

  • Stack Overflow still has an excellent blog, even if it’s less relevant for coding help these days.

  • Charity Majors’ recent post on the topic is absolutely worth a read.

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