The tech industry has experienced turbulent times over the last year. To help you navigate the new normal, this year's conference content will focus on the following themes to help you navigate the challenges and lead your teams to success.
Leading a company that hasn’t experienced a recession
For the past 15 years, the tech industry has been going through a phase of substantial growth. However, the recent economic climate has brought significant challenges that engineering leaders face in their roles. Companies are dealing with the aftermath of lay-offs, leaving teams with reduced headcount whilst leaders are asked to focus on profitability and keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation. For the vast majority of folks who work in tech, this feels completely new! They joined in times of excess and they don't know what to do.
For leaders, it means adapting to this new paradigm that requires a huge change of mindset for themselves and the teams they manage, helping newer members of the workforce understand the realities and challenges of management.
Measuring infrastructure and enablement investments
If you look inside a company these days, chances are you'll see leaders having to let go of their employees for financial reasons, teams being pressed with delivering more, hiring freezes, and highly scrutinized budgets. However, outside of this customers expect innovative products, new features, and improved levels of service. Prioritizing technical or platform goals versus customer needs is even harder and severe tradeoffs have to be made.
Effectively measuring investments in infrastructure and enablement is an area where engineering leaders need to spend more time. This requires them to develop a good understanding of the business side (P&L) and commercial tradeoffs.
Avoiding the priority zero trap
One of the biggest challenges that engineering leaders face is prioritizing the work that matters. Leaders have a lot of responsibilities to juggle and are oftentimes dealing with a constant stream of new initiatives or requests. However, companies that are dealing with a reduction in workforce haven’t necessarily adjusted to it yet, and with employees feeling the pressure to deliver in order to keep their jobs, everything seems extremely urgent.
But prioritization during a time of constraints means balancing work that keeps the lights on with projects that deliver the most business impact. It can lead to difficult decisions and good strategy is about saying what you're not going to do. So how do you prioritize work when everything is urgent?
Managing expectations around promotion and development
In the context of economic growth the tech industry has seen in the last 15 years, companies were in constant need to build new and better products faster to sustain customer needs and stay abreast of competition. The answer to that was hiring, creating space for new leaders to grow and get promoted.
In the current economic environment, this is sadly no longer the case. Increased pressure and a focus on profitability led to slower hiring and fewer opportunities for advancement. Leaders need to scale up their teams and get more capacity out of the team that they have rather than constantly hiring. They are now thinking about how to develop the people they have in their team whilst not having as many growth opportunities as they might have had in the past. Leaders need to figure out how to redefine success and productivity, set more realistic growth targets, and address concerns about scope and performance reviews.
Submit a proposal to speak at LeadingEng New York 2024
Do you have a story to tell or a talk that fits with one of our key themes? Our call for proposals is now open. The deadline for submissions is October 16, 2023.
Meet the LeadingEng New York programming committee
Take a look at the fantastic group of engineering leaders helping bring you the best content possible. They're coming together to discuss the key issues senior engineering leaders need to be tackling, sharing crucial information from on the ground in New York.