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Juan Pablo Buriticá on common engineering manager mistakes

Lead Time Chats: Season 1, Episode 4 Takeaways

March 18, 2021

In Episode 4 of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Juan Pablo Buriticá, most recently Head of LatAm Engineering at Stripe, about the common pitfalls engineering managers make at high-growth startups.

They discuss:

  • The difference between being a manager at a high-growth startup vs. a larger, more established company
  • The importance of understanding business needs in communicating about technical work
  • Why you shouldn't just copy processes from other companies wholesale (like Spotify's matrix management)
  • What it means to take a product approach to team processes

Takeaways from Juan Pablo

Invest your time in learning about the business

“One of the most illuminating moments for me was like, when I started having the language, like the cost of acquisition, the lifetime value, the cohort. When I started just spending the same time as I was reading about JavaScript frameworks as about how businesses, or at least early stage businesses worked and reading about growth, reading about market fit, reading about other things. It gave me superpowers because then I was part of the business right. I was representing engineering and I got invited to places where engineering should always be.”

Resist the urge to default to comfortably sticking close to the code

“We sometimes default to things that are really easy for us, right, that are comfortable. And when we're first-time managers, it's really comfortable and easy to stay close to the code, to make technical decisions, to not delegate all those things. But we know, well, you're now responsible for the people who are in our team and their growth, and that they understand the business and that they're actually solving those problems. So instead of spending an hour writing code, maybe you spend an hour learning about the business.”

It’s really, really hard to become a manager at a startup with no support or peers

“You have no blueprints and no support. You probably have no peers or peers in similar situations. And you also have a range of folks likely reporting to you with a broad set of experiences, some who have been with good managers, some who have never had management, some who have received feedback, some who haven't and it's really, really hard. Being a manager at a startup is much, much harder without that support framework. And you don't know what you don't know, especially if you're just getting started.”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and engineering leadership coach, and engineering leaders and other influential folks in tech.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps hybrid teams check-in asynchronously about what matters most. Know what's happening through status updates that pull from tools like Github and JIRA without scheduling yet another meeting.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team. To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

S1 E4: Juan Pablo Buriticá on common engineering manager mistakes
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