Position spotlight: Engineering Manager
Leandro, Engineering Manager, details his role and the challenges and rewards that come with it in today’s Position Spotlight.
Can you please give us a brief summary of what your job entails?
As Engineering Manager, I enable our teams to define the strategy that will best impact our travelers and improve their experience through technology. I specifically work in the Discovery mission team, a team dedicated to helping different types of travelers find what they want to do while on vacation. To achieve this mission, it’s important to have an entrepreneurial mindset and an ability to collaborate with Product Managers, Designers, and fellow Engineers. As an Engineering Manager, I’m also responsible for supporting the professional growth of the Engineers on my team. Finally, as part of the leadership team, I have the chance to pair with leaders across the organization and contribute to company-level projects, such as redesigning our recruiting process for Engineers.
How has your role changed since joining GetYourGuide?
I joined GetYourGuide in November 2017, and my role has changed a lot since then. I was initially hired to lead a team and work on a project that were both still in early stages. Since the project was new and the team just-forming, my role was much more technical. The project involved building a new architecture on top of our catalog to serve different internal stakeholders, one of which was the Search and Recommendations team.
After 3 months of iterations on the platform, we realized the Search and Recommendations team was more than just a stakeholder, but rather a co-owner. So, we combined my initial team and the Search and Recommendations team to form the Discovery mission. Since then we’ve grown the team from 3 to 12 people, and we now have more ownership across the Marketplace department. Learn more about the team in Felipe’s post on being a Machine Learning Engineer.
How would you describe your team’s working style and dynamic?
I would say the key words for us are ownership and accountability. To achieve this, we need to trust each other and foster an environment conducive to giving and receiving feedback. We’re also very focused on collaboration because working together allows us to work faster. We believe the faster we learn from customers, the better we can impact their journeys. Every person on the team is empowered to make decisions and propose ideas, and then we collectively decide what's next. We try at all costs to avoid silos and we hold frequent retrospectives to improve our dynamics and learn from our mistakes. And, because life is more than just work, we’ve also made it a habit to hangout together outside of work at least once a month.
What does an average day as an Engineering Manager look like?
There is no daily routine as an Engineering Manager, but I usually start by checking in on the team. First thing in the morning, we have a stand-up where we discuss what we want to accomplish that day and any potential blockers. Sometimes I like to pair with different member of the team afterwords, plan execution, and then discuss next steps with Design and Product. I then make sure our roadmaps and plans are up-to-date and prioritized properly. I also keep an eye on company-level metrics and goals and monitor my team’s experiments. In addition to these responsibilities, I am the hiring manager for all of our Backend Engineering positions and can often be found interviewing potential candidates or discussing the recruiting process with our Tech Recruiters.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The most challenging aspect of my role is understanding the customer journey. Our business has so many complexities like seasonality, frequency of travel, and the sheer variety of things to do all over the world. A solution we build for a city in Europe might not work for a city in USA. A solution that is successful for travelers coming from South America might not work for travelers who come from Asia. I love the challenges that come with this complexity and figuring out how technology can help: How can we design experiments in a way that will help us understand the complexity and prioritize accordingly? How can we build systems in a way that allows us to maximize those learnings without under-engineering the architecture we build?
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
It's all about the human connections I make at work — what I can learn from my colleagues and what I can teach them as well. It’s rewarding to share knowledge in a safe environment, and I’m grateful I get to frequently step outside of my comfort zone. It’s also rewarding to see how we are impacting customers around the world using technology.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to work as an Engineering Manager at GetYourGuide?
Be open to learning and be prepared to challenge yourself. Resilience and empathy are the key to achieving this openness. You must cultivate your ability to listen and understand different points of view — to observe more and judge less. Mainly be mindful that, in a managerial role, you will impact others lives, and, by doing so, you will also impact your own.
What is your favorite thing about working with GetYourGuide?
By far my favorite thing is the culture. You know a work culture is solid when it remains strong even through rapid company growth. Another one of my favorite things is how the company invests in its leadership team. I had the opportunity to participate in the notable leadership training GetYourGuide offers. The training connected me back to myself, made me more self-aware, and also helped me step back and see things from different perspectives. The chance to share and grow with leaders from other departments and the impact it had on my personally and professionally made this training an experience I will carry with me forever.