What are Managers of teams called?

Hey Peeps! 👋🏼

Lately, I’ve been quite curious about job roles naming conventions with a particular job in particular: Engineering Manager.

Now we all know that different organisations have different structures.

If you look into the topic for a bit you’ll find flat structures where there are close to no reporting lines, to complex matrix structures where the reporting lines get quite intricate. It all ends up depending on size, industry, company culture, etc.

That makes absolute sense to me, and it feeds to the myriad of companies available to work in. It’s actually fun to experience different takes on organisations and understand if there is a particular one where you thrive.

Now, something that’s been confusing me these past months is not so much the complexity of the structure but the naming of the positions, particularly when you have different names for similar positions and similar names for different positions.

Worst than that, it depends heavily on the company! Talk about fuzzy logic!

For the sake of discussion, I’d like to focus on a job role instead of a name:

A manager that leads one or more teams of individual contributors (ICs).

Here are some of the names I’ve seen it get called:

  • Engineering Manager
  • Engineering Lead
  • Team Lead
  • Another crazy name like “Lord of our Team”, “Wizard of Us”, etc that would just create confusion so I’m going to ignore it.

These are some real-life examples and definitions:

Facebook

  • Who leads a team of ICs? Engineering Managers (reference)
  • Who leads Engineering Managers? Senior Engineering Managers (reference)

Spotify

  • Who leads a team of ICs? Engineering Managers (reference)
  • Who leads Engineering Managers? Senior Engineering Managers (reference)

Farfetch

  • Who leads a team of ICs? Engineering Leads (reference)
  • Who leads Engineering Leads? Engineering Managers (reference)

Talkdesk

  • Who leads a team of ICs? Engineering Managers (reference)
  • Who leads Engineering Managers? Directors of Engineering (reference)

Focusing on FAANG ( Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), I can see that the preferential and standard name for a manager that leads one or more teams of individual contributors is Engineering Manager, so I’ll stick to this convention from now on.

It might not be the universal naming convention but it’s something that makes sense to me.

Originally published at https://aleadersmindset.com on October 3, 2021.

--

--

My goal is to teach every leader who is still starting their journey, what I learned late in mine. 🚀

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store