The joy of managing Engineering Team AKA The Craft Conf 2022

The joy of managing Engineering Team AKA The Craft Conf 2022

Maryam Umar Rezolve Limited |Craft Conf. Budapest (May 31-June 3,2022)


This is the second conference related to the software industry that I got a wonderful chance to attend. All thanks to Miki Szeleswho interacted with the organizer of The Craft Conference to give the participants of giveaway contest a chance to attend this conference and share their experience.

I was occupied with some personal commitments in the month of May 2022 because of which I had a slim chance of participating in this giveaway contest but deep down, I didn't want to let this golden opportunity slip away from my hands for many reasons. First, it was a global event organized in hybrid mode. That means some events were online and some were offline. Even though I couldn't attend offline events but still I still could get the luxury of attending offline events in the comfort of my room. Second, there would be distinguished and experienced speakers from all around the world to share their experiences which will definitely be beneficial for a beginner like me.

Luckily, the deadline of the contest got extended by a week and I was able to submit an article before the deadline.

Yay! My mission was accomplished!

About The Craft Conference 2022, Budapest

On 28th May , I received the ticket of the conference and I was super happy about it. So, many thanks to Miki Szeles who also sent me a mail double checking if I received the ticket or not. So kind of him!

craft conf ticket.png

Craft Conference was an international event about software delivery craft being organized in Budapest,Hungary in the month of May and June,2022. It comprised of Hackathon(May 6-8), Workshop (May 31- June 1) and Conference ( Jun 2-3) for attendees. You can check their official website for more info.

Important family function collided with the schedule of this conference because of which I could not attend this conference live. I was assured by the organizing committee that the recordings of the sessions would be available to me which made me elate.

About the Speaker

The talk about which I will be covering in this post is "The Joy of Managing Engineering Teams" ,as you've already guessed it from the title of this post, by Maryam Umar.

Maryam Umar is the Head of Quality Assurance , Rezolve Limited which is a digital retailing company based in UK. She started her career as Software tester or software test engineer, later realized that QA was suitable for her. In her career of 16 years ,She has worked in the QA department as Engineer, Manager ,Head. She has also worked as Engineering manager for some time.

Motivation Behind choosing to write on this talk

Out of several talks, I picked up this one because I have always been very curious to know about how managers work to achieve the goal of the team. When the topic is specifically about the Engineering team , I feel more connected for having been part of such teams in my career. Their role is more about managing ,motivating and influencing the team members for achieving the goal of the project collectively. In my short working career ,having been worked under different managers in different cities, countries and working culture, I have deeply been influenced by them but I am sure I will be exposed more learning experiences in days to come.

Talk: The joy of managing the Engineering Team

Now, it's the time to delve into the talk.

The speaker, Maryam Umar walks the listeners through her experiences of Managing Engineering teams. She beautifully explains in details about the roles, responsibility and challenges that she has faced as a Manager in her career and how those mistakes can be prevented by others.

Being Manager - An intense role

She feels that being manager is an intense role where the manager's reward is based on the success of the team. When she took up her first managerial, she didn't have enough guidance about it and she felt leading people to be a difficult job. For a manager, the execution of the idea is through the team mates who use technology not directly with the technology. The success of a leader is always measured through the business impact of his team. A manager should let his team make mistakes so that they learn from those mistakes and all these should be done within the deadline.

Her experience of first managerial role that she took up

When she took up her first managerial role, she was unaware of many things as a newbie. She feels that a manager should give time for all the following areas and strike a balance between them.

challenges in Year 1 as manager.png

Sharing her experiences as stories

Story 1; Lesson Learned- To document everything!

Once the timing issue was reported by one of the team mate when Maryam was acting as the Engineering Manager. The team mate requested Maryam to allow her to shift her time schedule to earlier i.e to start her day early and end early. Maryam couldn't deny her request as the team mate was a high performing one. Later , she came to know about the team lead that the team mate was deceiving her by not working in her requested schedule. Maryam had not sent any intimation mail or documented the change in the working schedule of the teammate.

Story 2; Lesson Learned - To organize Regular One to One Meetings !

While she was working as a manager, she came across a situation during performance review when she had to deny the pay raise for some of the members of the team which infuriated them. Their tome of discussion changed and they started to avoid her. It's then she realized how important it is to organize one to one meeting regularly to communicate effectively with the team teams.

A manager's role is not just confined to look into people's progression only but also to know himself. Following plot describes to identify your shape as a manager and do the needful.


Creating a Team Vision

It's very hard for any individual or organization to work without any vision. For working efficiently, a manager should create a team vision, not by himself, but by including the point of view of all the team members. This can be done by regularly holding meetings and creating a healthy environment for discussion and engagement. This should bring a sense of belongingness among the team members.

Implementing the team vision

For creating the team vision, it's very important to involve everyone in the journey so that no one feels left out. There should be enough transparency and healthy interactions. The manager should become the voice of management to the team as well as voice of team to the management , thereby acting as a bridge between the management and his team.

The MOST Framework

Maryam came across MOST Framework during one of many Management Training Courses that she took to improve her skills.

MOST is the acronym for Mission, Objective,Strategies, Tactics.

Mission - The big thing that you want your company to achieve

Objective - What we need to achieve to deliver on our mission

Strategies - How will the objectives be achieved

Tactics- 5 - 10 things that should be done now

There's no particular roadmap for success but with discipline, consistency and improvements , it can be achieved.

Building a Team

Building a Team.png

Building the team is the most difficult task for a manager especially when he's building it from the scratch within a stipulated timeframe and budget.

For building a team , there involves

  • Building the right thing

  • Building the thing right

  • Building the right organization

For building the right thing, business objective should be clear at the first place. There should be absolutely no confusion about it. When you know what to deliver, it becomes easy to figure out how to deliver.

Being busy is not always the productive notion but being creative is. There should be innovation involved in the task.

Building the right organization requires developing the correct skill set for the team. These skills need not be always be technical skills but soft skills. While working with different clients remotely comprising of a global team in different time zones, countries and cultural set up , she realized that English was not the first language of many of them. So, communicating in English might not be smooth for them.

Prioritization and delegation are very important to get things done in the deadline. Prioritization enables one to take up tasks based on their level of urgency of delivery whereas delegation helps in distributing the workload of the tasks among the team members based on their skill sets.

Following is the famous Eisenhower Matrix for for prioritizing the task based on importance and urgency.


My Takeaway from this talk

I got to learn a lot from this talk about the journey of a manager and the struggle that he goes through. It has cleared lot of confusions from my mind regarding the role of a manager.


Last but not the least , I am so grateful to entire team of The Craft Conf. for providing me a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this event. I am also very thankful to Miki Szeles for informing everyone in Hashnode about this event. I am definitely going to watch other talks in the recorded playlist of The Craft Conf. and share my experiences here. I am unable to do so right now owing to my busy schedule and other personal commitments.

I hope that all of you had a great weekend!

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