As I’ve passed 1 year since I became a team lead, and am approaching 1 year since I became a manager, I started thinking about my progress. Honestly, I don’t have the same sense of “I’ve grown a lot” as I did when I was starting with development. There are things I can do fairly well, like performance reviews, bonus allocations, doing one-to-ones. At the same time, I feel like there’s so much more I have to know, and my time for using an excuse of being new to the role is running out. I have to know more, but I have no clue what that “more” is supposed to consist of.
My first months at a team lead/engineering manager role were just figuring out how to do day-to-day stuff and keeping the lights on. Now that that’s all settled and I have a decent routine, I have some time to look around me and see the strategy for the team, department, and so on. I have a chance to look at our processes and redefine them where needed, but I’m not sure I have enough knowledge not to make them worse. I feel like I need to know more to do those things, but all the resources I’ve looked at so far were more philosophy-focused than giving any knowledge I could use right away. And I’m honestly very frustrated with this, because one can only start talking about the philosophy when they have a good understanding of the “mechanics” of the job, which I don’t.
Another piece to this is that there’s not really any objective criteria to measure most of your management skills. In programming, there’s a set of checkboxes you can test yourself on and get a result. Know how to make a footer always stick at the bottom of the page? Check. Know the order of parameters for cherry-picking commits from one branch to the other to succeed the first time? Check. What would you ask in management to assess your skills? Has anyone considered leaving the team yet? Lol
I’m considering signing up for some project management certification (or at least taking a route of preparing for a certification) so I would get some systematized knowledge and practical skills. Let’s see how that goes, because honestly I’m getting tired of just reading articles and books about aspirations to do something as a manager, I need to understand how it’s actually done.