I started my move to engineering management in earnest last week by paying a visit to headquarters out in California. Before I left, I briefed myself on what to expect by reading a couple of management books. One common theme in both books is how busy and disoriented I will find myself in the beginning. Unfortunately, those books are right.
I spent three days at HQ. Before the first day was over, my calendar for all three days were filled with meetings. I felt like a manager already! In the past, whenever I started a new engineering job, there was always a transition period of reading documentation and playing around with the software tools before one really starts to contribute to the design effort. This time around, there will be no such luxury. I am to take over the last phases of a project and to deliver it on time, freeing up the current lead engineer to go help with another project. However, I only got two hours with the lead engineer to go over the technical details. There is still much more to learn. Besides the technical aspect, I also met with countless engineers, management peers, and superiors to get a sense of how the organization functions. I’ve never been good with matching people’s faces to names and it doesn’t help that I’ve been introduced to over 30 people in 3 days, all of which are important to my new job. I’ve started to keep a file on everyone so I don’t forget who’s who and who said what and when.
Early last week, I joked with other EngineerBlogs authors that I should be able to complete my post early this week as I’m on a business trip with no kids to tend to in the evenings. How wrong I was. My evenings were spent either in more meetings, or in trying to catch up to the technical details of my new project. But that’s just me trying to manage all this new information being thrown my way. Perhaps you know of a better way to manage such a transition. If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.
What The Flux is a semi-regular weekendish feature on EngineeringBlogs.org that follows the follies and jollies of an engineer in industry, yours truly.