Any current or former HBO-Seattle employees, what should I know before considering a SDM (Software Dev Manager) role there?
How is the leadership team?
How is the quality of engineers (say compared to Amazon, Google, FB)
What are the biggest challenges?
What is the best thing about working there?
Any interview tips?
Engineering, for the most part, has been isolated from the upheaval seen in product and design. We have our own set of problems.
One big challenge we are dealing with is that we have is a complete vacuum of qualified managers. To be blunt, our engineering management is a complete mess.
Nearly every engineering manager at HBO Seattle is a recently promoted IC with no real experience in management. People who are great at slinging code, but terrible at motivating people or leading personal growth.
I don’t know of a single engineer who actually believes we are going to launch the HBO Max beta on time, nor do I know of a single engineer who cares about the fact that we likely won’t make it.
While part of this is due to some really poorly thought out recent technical decisions, most of it is simply because we don’t have any qualified leadership who knows how to motivate and inspire their employees.
The constant complaint from
engineering is that they don’t feel valued. They don’t feel motivated. They don’t feel like there is any career growth. All things which could easily be fixed with better management infrastructure. Instead we just keep bleeding all of our ambitious talent.
HBO internally is aware of these problems and is making a concerted effort to fix them... with mixed results. It will get better but probably not for awhile.
With that said there are some good things about HBO. The engineering talent is great. While not as ambitious as the engineers I knew when I was at Amazon, definitely just as talented.
There is a great spirit of collaboration. People are willing to drop everything to help each out. People are great. It’s the one thing keeping me here.
And while this is probably going to change, the WLB is seriously some of the best in Seattle.