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The 5 Pillars of Great Engineering Leadership

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As engineering leaders, our job is to know how we can set up our organization for success and how to deliver impact to our end customers.

*This means being able to juggle multiple areas within the organization.

From our chats with hundreds of engineering leaders, I see five topics that are consistently on their minds: *Organization, Velocity, Quality, Outcome, and Impact. *

1. Organization
All organizational questions stem from “are we set up as an organization for success?” You should be asking yourself this question all the time, but mainly as you grow. Another key one is: “Are the engineers happy?”

2. Velocity
"How fast do we deliver?"; "Where are the bottlenecks?"; "How do we improve?" No matter if you're an engineering manager, team lead, or CTO, these questions need to be on your mind.

3. Quality
"What's the quality of the software that we deliver to our end user?" Everything that impacts the experience for the end-user: From bugs reported and how fast they're fixed to your uptime, performance, and reliability.

4. Outcome
"What are we actually delivering?"; "Where are we investing our time?"; "Are we dedicating 20% to paying down tech debt?".

5. Impact
"What is the business impact of what we deliver?" - This is relevant for all engineering leaders, but usually, the amount of control that you have on impact gets smaller the closer you are to being an individual team member.

In the full blog post "The 5 Pillars of Successful Engineering Leadership", we go deeper into this topic because we've seen the best organizations struggle with quantifying business impact for engineering.

We also talk about which areas to prioritize depending on what stage of growth your company is in, and what happens when you don't answer these questions.

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