FAANG employees are you assigned work by your manager or team?

Jun 8 43 Comments

I have been fortunate enough throughout most of my career to work in teams where the manager does not assign me any work, or even knows what the hell I'm working on for the most part. I've only been on one team where a manager was part of the team. How many of you are in situations where your manager just gives you tasks and treats you like an order taker at McDonalds? I would imagine this is less common in product teams than say infrastructure, unless the manager also happens to be the tech lead, as is the case with Netflix. Can someone from Netflix shed some light on this?

Poll options explained:
Manager - my manager controls everything I work on and assigns me work in an ad hoc fashion. My manager is free to send me on a wild goose chase due in one week, then add more work and move the deadline of the first task two days earlier. Pip pip hooray.
Team - the team is autonomous and decides what to work on (with the pm's involvement probably, there is still a roadmap) without any manager involvement and chooses how to split up the work as a team. During sprint planning, a designated person may assign tasks to engineers, or the engineers may decide among themselves.
Self - Someone sets the context and I get to work on whatever the hell I want. What's Jira?

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TOP 43 Comments
  • Oracle simple3
    I don’t understand this. Isn’t it manager who determines the roadmap for the team?
    Jun 8 15
    • New / Eng JexD77
      When there are projects to tackle then you recruit. And being responsible for roadmap it doesn’t mean there is no Jira and everything is in dev’s head. Responsible devs do use/like Jira.
      Jun 8
    • Oracle simple3
      Okay I’m actually not sure what you are asking about. If you are saying micro management is bad, yes I agree.
      Jun 8
    • New / Eng JexD77
      Yes. :) And engineers are capable of managing projects, they can even ask managers for help (more people) if they see it’d benefit the project/outcome.
      And managers are for managing people. It’s just in our industry, due to some reasons, managers don’t come from management school but from engineers, and they forget to let it go and focus on their job. Some even imagining themselves to be some kind of architects – worst thing ever.
      Jun 8
    • OP
      The worst is managers who try to play the tech lead role when they can't code their way of a paper bag filled with dog shit and haven't kept up with technology for many many years. Go use your people skills to get the team bonuses so they don't all leave, and stop trying to cling to engineering. Nuff said.
      Jun 8
    • Microsoft / Product
      Brazuka

      Microsoft Product

      PRE
      Bain & Company
      Brazukamore
      Around here EMs decide quality/reliability/maintainability work and PM decide on new features
      Jun 8
  • Monster unholy!
    Designer here. My PM assigns "tasks." Typically it's a conversation, lots of push and pull, not "do xyz now." Actual manager just makes sure we're allocated to silos/projects in efficient manner.
    Jun 8 4
    • New / Eng
      Ama B.O

      New Eng

      PRE
      Amazon, Google, Facebook
      Ama B.Omore
      Is this efficient and effective and are you happy with these methods
      Jun 8
    • Monster unholy!
      Works for me, personally. I like to manage my own projects.
      Jun 9
    • New / Eng
      Ama B.O

      New Eng

      PRE
      Amazon, Google, Facebook
      Ama B.Omore
      So typically what do you like your managers to do for you?
      Jun 9
    • Monster unholy!
      Handle all the stuff I don't want to do, like C-level politics and team budget stuff 😴
      Jun 9
  • Netflix equipe
    Netflix is very self directed, manager's job is give you the context to make right decisions about the work to choose.
    Jun 9 6
    • Netflix equipe
      I can't speak for every team. But I can think of a few managers that run two teams or teams that report to a director directly without a manager. I'm not sure what you mean by team lead. When everyone is equal, why would have a lead?
      Jun 9
    • OP
      Oh yeah I forgot Netflix doesn’t hire team leads or even have the concept of them. When two engineers have a dispute, do they bring the manager in to arbitrate, or is this looked down upon (you should be mature enough to resolve any conflicts yourself)?
      Jun 9
    • Netflix equipe
      There's not much to dispute. You have the freedom to do your job the way you see fit. You just have to take responsibility for those decisions.
      Jun 9
    • OP
      Sounds like a dream come true. I know someone who recently interviewed at Netflix and decided not to take the offer because the team was under staffed and seemed to have a lot of turn over. Aren’t managers with high attrition rates fired at Netflix? Also odd that the manager was doing the recruiting himself and contacted him directly.
      Jun 9
    • Netflix Nqac32
      At Netflix, managers are expected to take an active role in recruiting/hiring. And yes, a manager is held responsible for the health of their team and a high attrition rate is generally not a great sign.
      Jun 9
  • New / Eng JexD77
    Depends on the manager.
    Jun 8 0
  • ConocoPhillips ankshus
    Why would you want to be on a team where your manager doesn’t know your work?

    Harder to show value / get promotions
    Jun 8 2
    • OP
      That's what one on ones and sprint demos are for.
      Jun 8
    • New / Eng JexD77
      1:1s are not for that :) but of course there should be visible roadmap and progress for whole team to see, including manager.
      Jun 8
  • New / Eng
    Ama B.O

    New Eng

    PRE
    Amazon, Google, Facebook
    Ama B.Omore
    I don't understand what is it that you're asking?
    Jun 8 1
  • Oracle simple3
    On a high level my manager tells me what to do but good managers don’t micro manage
    Jun 8 0
  • Netflix Nqac32
    My team is very much self directed.
    Jun 9 2
    • OP
      Do the teams follow some agile process or is it more ad hoc?
      Jun 9
    • Netflix Nqac32
      Some do, but not necessarily. It depends on the nature of the work.
      Jun 9
  • Facebook / Creative
    I come up with ideas what I should work on myself.
    Jun 8 1
  • Proactis / Eng
    MacGamerK👨🏽‍💻

    Proactis Eng

    PRE
    Harris
    BIO
    Software Test Engineer attempting to transition to iOS Engineer.
    MacGamerK👨🏽‍💻more
    During the planning meeting at the beginning of a sprint ICs will pick tasks based on story points. If you complete all of your tasks before the sprint ends you just take the next task in the queue.
    Jun 8 0
  • Microsoft P Zezima
    Self / Team. I get projects (possibly multi months) and then I, along with others on the project, decide planning, distribution, execution, release, retrospect.
    Jun 8 0
  • Booking.com cocoaster
    True for me
    Jun 8 0