· 3 min read

Engineering leaders' challenges unveiled from Oct 2022 survey.

We asked engineering leaders what their primary challenges were in Oct 2022. Here are the results.

We asked engineering leaders what their primary challenges were in Oct 2022. Here are the results.

I keep talking to engineering managers and CTOs regularly to get a pulse of the market. I conducted a survey in the month of October 2022 to find out some of the biggest challenges faced by them. I thank all the poll participants for spending time and giving thoughtful feedback.

As promised to the poll respondents, I’m making the results public without disclosing the company and the industry.

Poll participants’ profile Country: USA Industries: Diverse Designations: Founders, Engineering Managers, and CTOs Company Size: 50-500 Time: Oct 2022

For all the problems below, I have tried to provide my own perspective and solution. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the poll.

Problem #1: Hiring and retaining talent

This is an eternal problem. No surprises here. Just the severity changes from time to time. One of the main reasons behind setting up Booleanwork was to address this gap and build remote teams for tech companies based out of the US.

70% of the respondents reported this as the No-1 problem for their engineering organization.

Problem #2: Retaining senior talent

Although this is the same as the earlier point, retaining senior engineers is a different ball game altogether. Apart from total compensation, work-life balance, meaningful work, engineering culture, and reporting managers influence the decision to stay/leave.

Problem #3: One culture - one vision

Building one culture and communicating one vision is hard. And when your team is “100% remote”, this becomes even harder. Engineering managers are finding innovative ways to build a sense of “one team” like using rewards and recognition apps, praising apps, monthly meetups, etc.

Problem #4: Knowledge silos in distributed teams

”100% remote teams” come with some pre-conditions. You gotta have a certain amount of time spent documenting stuff. With micro-frontends and micro-services, it is technically possible to not worry about what is happening in the rest of the system.

Problem #5: Ignoring noise and build features that matter in MVP

PMs are always under pressure to build one feature after another. One trick is to launch MVP asap with 1-2 core flows and reach the market fast. Any additional feature requests should pass leadership/investors’ advice (growth vs profitability) and unit economics.

Problem #6: Transitioning MVP to production quality app

There is really no quick fix to this. This is a multi-quarter effort when done right. In fact, this is a good problem to have. If you are thinking about making the app “production grade”, it means that you have the revenue/users to back this decision. I would recommend having a separate “engineering backlog” that runs along with the regular “product backlog”.

Execution sequence: monitoring, logging, microservices, infrastructure

Problem #7: Scrum accountability

This is a tough one. On one hand, engineers can not accurately estimate the effort for tickets and on the other hand, businesses promise features to their customers within certain timelines. Expecting engineers to give accurate estimates will lead to problem #1.

I would recommend switching to story points instead of hourly effort and over a few sprints, you’ll know the “velocity” of the team (the number of story points that your team can complete in a sprint). Story points are easier to assign.

My personal takeaways

  • It is interesting to see that on one hand we have large companies laying off software developers and at the same time it has not become any easier for companies to hire and retain talent.
  • Remote is the new normal. But, “100% remote” culture definitely has its limitations. Meetings have become more transactional and “to-the-point”. The time is ripe for apps that address employee engagement and communications.
  • Largish organizations generally have people problems (they have figured out the process and they just need more people). Smaller organizations have technical/product problems.
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