Amazon SDMs: what’s Advice you wish you knew before you started

Microsoft / Eng
rvnN27

Microsoft Eng

BIO
Eng manager
rvnN27more
Sep 6 13 Comments

Starting as an SDM soon @ amazon

seasoned and successful SDMs: what good advice , stragety, surivial advice you wish tou knew before you started ?

TC:~440k

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TOP 13 Comments
  • Amazon / Mgmt kkbhzs2
    Learn how to win trust of others.
    Learn how to be genuinely focused on enhancing others careers
    Learn how to give up your engineering (it’s hard. You will have withdrawal symptoms)
    Learn how to unite your team so they are stronger together
    Learn how to choose the right battles that you can win.
    Be close to tech leads and PEs so they trust you
    Learn to talk about technical topics in full detail or at high level depending upon audience
    Learn how to manage top performers so they are always winning
    Learn how to manage bottom performers so they are not slacking
    Learn to play politics with other SDMs who want to take away your credit
    Learn how to be visible whenever there is an opportunity
    Learn to listen and help remove hurdles
    Trust others but keep verifying randomly
    Document. Document. Document
    Remember if it’s not being measured or tracked, it’s not gonna meet the deadline
    Every thing tends to fail and everyone has seemingly valid excuse why it’s not their fault. You need to make it happen.
    Appreciate whenever it’s justified. It’s not about you. It’s about others
    Learn when to micromanage and when not to
    Sep 6 6
    • Microsoft / Eng
      rvnN27

      Microsoft Eng

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      Eng manager
      rvnN27more
      OP
      Why is giving up engineering necessary at amazon ?
      Sep 6
    • Amazon / Mgmt kkbhzs2
      You don’t have to fully give it up but you cannot hold onto it even though you might be better at it than your team. You don’t want to shadow them. You are the engineering enabler and not the engineering function. This can be subjective but I have observed that most of the managers who hold on their engineering skills, are generally shadowing a tech lead in their team and stealing their limelight for their own benefit. Since the manager has powers, he or she becomes the center of attraction.
      Sep 6
    • Microsoft / Eng
      rvnN27

      Microsoft Eng

      BIO
      Eng manager
      rvnN27more
      OP
      You write well. I find most Amazon SDMs do. Any tips on learning up leveling this trait ?
      Sep 6
    • Amazon / Mgmt kkbhzs2
      Write long responses on blind :)
      Sep 6
    • New uRnt34
      Just write. You won't get better at something you aren't doing. Start a journal, write up notes after every meeting. Write a pitch for the project you are on. Just keep writing.
      Sep 19
  • Amazon leetboy
    Are you starting as an L6 or L7 SDM?
    Sep 6 2
    • Microsoft / Eng
      rvnN27

      Microsoft Eng

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      Eng manager
      rvnN27more
      OP
      L6
      Sep 6
    • Microsoft
      shenierb d

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Google, Amazon, Facebook
      shenierb dmore
      What location?
      Sep 7
  • Amazon Forks9
    +1 on what kkbhzs2 said and:

    1. Listen to your directs. They don’t work for you, you work for them. (Many managers forget this).

    2. Don’t micromanage. Unlike Microsoft, managers should not be prescriptive about the how. Bottom up rather than top down.

    3. Pay attention to your connection results and be transparent with your team.

    4. Eat live and breath LPs

    5. Work on your writing skills, ditch the PowerPoint and the weasel words.
    Sep 6 2
    • Microsoft / Eng
      rvnN27

      Microsoft Eng

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      Eng manager
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      OP
      Great advice. Are there internal workshops on writing skills ?
      Sep 6
    • Amazon Forks9
      Yup! There are courses on knet, videos on broadcast, and tutorials on w.amazon.com
      Sep 6

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