[Quickstart Best for larger orgs with several managers]
Engineering Manager Changes
This guide is meant to help managers facilitate the transition of an engineer from one team to another.
Terminology * Outgoing / Current Manager: Manager of the person who is switching teams * Team member: person switching teams * Incoming / New Manager: The soon-to-be new manager for the person switching teams
If you've done this before or want a quick overview, here are the steps to remember: * Communicate directly: Make sure the outgoing/current manager and team member are the first to directly discuss the change and are on the same page. * Develop a transition plan: Have a plan for how and when the transition should happen and catalogue any responsibilities that will shift owners. * Communicate more broadly: Share with the team or organization as a whole, provide outlets for questions and feedback. * Transition: Act as if the team member has two managers for an overlapping time period to ensure things go smoothly. * Finalize: Don't forget the paperwork.
Whenever possible, the first two people that should confirm and discuss a team transition directly are the current manager and the person switching teams.
If you are the current manager, it's often the case that your team member has already discussed the transition with other people, such as their friends or even the new receiving manager. It's important to not consider it a done deal until the two of you have a direct and explicit conversation about the transition yourselves. In the end, the two of you have the most context on the team and should develop the transition plan together.
Some topics to cover: * Why is your team member interested in switching teams? * How they did decide which team they were interested in switching to? * Is there anything you can do or could've helped with in making this decision?
If you're the new manager, consider the above in the opposite direction. Don't confirm a team transition until the current manager has done so with their team member directly, make sure you know why they are interested in joining your team and why, etc.
For either side, make sure the two managers have either met or chatted directly about the transition before finalizing it.
Develop a Transition Plan
Have a shared understanding of what needs to be done to ensure a smooth transition off of the current team. This involves working through details both between the current and new manager, as well as between the current manager and their team member.
Current Manager <=> Team Member
There's a lot more that goes into a transition than simply a manager or org change. Work together to agree on what and how responsibilities should be transferred and on what timeframe. A transition plan is ideally shared and written (can just be an email), and should answer the following questions:
* When is the transition happening? This should take into account current projects in flight or other needs on either team. Note that transitions can also be planned far in advance, e.g. "transition will happen after
Here are some responsibilities to keep in mind for engineers: * Run / oncall * Code reviews * Interviews (especially for specialists e.g. ML/FE/Mobile) * Critical in-flight projects
Current Manager <=> New Manager
In addition to working out a project or work-based transition plan for your team member, you should also put in time to ensure a smooth transition for mentorship and career development. Share and get as much context as you can on your team member, and don't hesitate to continue asking questions as they come up, even after the transition or months later.
Some topics managers should cover together: * Overview of time on current team and potentially at the company so far: projects, team relationships, interests, etc. * Career goals, both long-term and short-term * Strengths and areas for development: share past performance reviews or written feedback * Any other things learned from being this person's manager: preferred management style, 1-1 cadence, etc.
Performance Feedback & Reviews
One question that may come up is how you should share any past performance-related feedback or written reviews. These should be shared proactively and openly, to make sure all of you are on the same page and ensure continuity of development. You can do this over email by sharing a written digest of past feedback or even do it together in-person—a transition “1:1:1” (old manager, team member, new manager) can be used to walk through feedback together.
Communicate More Broadly
Communicate widely, in increasing waves corresponding to who would be most affected by the change first.
With everyone (current manager, team member, new manager) on the same page, and a transition plan in place, it's time to share this upcoming change with more people. Since every team is different, it's up to you to decide what makes most sense.
Potential sharing steps: * Share with the immediate team first, either through 1:1s or in-person at your next team meeting. The person changing teams should feel free to tell people themselves, of course. Also, ensure that people feel like they can ask questions, just by offering. (E.g. Call out "feel free to ask me if you have any questions about this transition.") * Share with partner teams next, or go for broader open communication (e.g. email lists)
In general, it’s best for the current manager to share the news, but you can tailor this to your own circumstances as needed. (E.g. current manager is no longer with the company, or out on parental leave, etc.)
Ensure a smooth change by co-managing actively throughout the transition plan.
With the change well-communicated and a transition already underway, continue to support your team member through the end of the plan. Any new relationship takes time to develop, so it's important for your team member to feel supported by both the current and new managers, and to feel they have an outlet to give feedback in either/any direction. The amount of time you spend in this co-managing state depends on the situation, but a general suggestion would be to consider ~1 month of co-management.
Example management timeline (in parallel to the work transition plan):
* The transitioning person begins having 1:1s with both managers, with the expectation that they'll formally end with the current manager after
Finalize the Manager Change
Make it org-official and take care of logistics.
Don’t forget to dot the I-s and cross the T-s by finalizing logistics and organizational changes at the end of the process. Some may have already happened as part of the transition plan (e.g. seating changes often happen early), but it's good to double-check and make sure everything is handled.
Logistics: * Transfer the person officially via HR/Payroll * Update seating charts and internal profile accordingly * Adjust any relevant oncall/run rotations or team groups and channels
Questions & Feedback?
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