September 19–20, 2016: Training
September 20–22, 2016: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Introduction to engineering leadership: Building better people ops

Marcus Blankenship (
9:00am–5:00pm Monday, September 19-Tuesday September 20
Sutton Center
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 3 ratings)

Participants should plan to attend both days of this 2-day training. Training passes do not include access to tutorials on Tuesday.

What you'll learn

  • Understand why the manager–engineer relationship is key to employee productivity and satisfaction
  • Learn how to conduct one-on-one meetings with team members that build great relationships
  • Discover how to give honest, direct feedback to team members
  • Learn how to create an environment that invites honest feedback from team members
  • Learn how to create feedback loops, allowing you to improve and create the environment your team needs
  • Understand how to conduct zero-surprise employee evaluations
  • Understand how to promote the team's work to your boss, clients, and partner groups
  • Learn how to discuss and manage your boss’s expectations of your activities and the team's performance
  • Description

    Engineers who become managers are experts at the technical aspects of their job, but they are often unprepared for the human and political challenges they face. This lack of training results in poor team performance, high turnover, and the engineering leader “retreating” back to the technical work they left behind.

    Leader–Member Exchange Theory proves what we all know: people join companies but leave managers. In fact, a recent Gallup poll reveals that 50% of us have left a job to “get away from a manager.” This crisis of poor management effects software development activities, even when Agile processes are used. Using hands-on individual and group activities, Marcus Blankenship offers an introduction to Leader–Member Exchange Theory, teaching engineering leaders a framework for building strong relationships with their teams, creating a driven culture, and communicating upward and outward to benefit their teams.

    Course outline:

    Day 1

    • Introduction and course overview
    • Introducing LMX Theory: Why good relationships matter (lesson)
    • Reflection on best/worst bosses (activity)
    • Using one-on-one meetings to build great relationships (lesson)
    • Components of one-on-one meetings (lesson)
    • Reflection on communication habits (activity)
    • Creating a feedback culture (lesson)
    • Reflection on current culture (activity)
    • Q&A

    Day 2

    • Introduction to Day 2
    • What your team needs from you (lesson)
    • Reflection on what your team needs (activity)
    • Zero-surprise evaluations (lesson)
    • Reflection on evaluation process (activity)
    • Promoting the work your team does (lesson)
    • Reflecting on your upward communications (activity)
    • What your boss expects (lesson)
    • Reflecting on your relationship with your boss (activity)
    • Q&A
    Photo of Marcus Blankenship

    Marcus Blankenship

    Marcus Blankenship is an author, trainer, and consultant who helps companies improve their software delivery teams and processes. Fifteen years ago, he made the leap from a senior programmer/architect designing product configuration expert systems to leading teams and departments, and he has done so at global enterprises and his own software consultancy. Marcus has worked extensively as a consultant and trainer with manufacturing, digital agencies, and SaaS companies. Marcus is also the author of 7 Habits That Ruin Your Technical Team.