How to Mix Engineering and Management at a Fast-Growing Company

When aspiring entrepreneurs envision their future companies, they tend to think about the products they will build. Not too much time is spent thinking about the fact that if the company grows, they will have to introduce a management layer into the organization. These changes introduce many new levels of complexity into company-building, so a recent KPCB Engineering Meetup gathered Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering at Airbnb, Jeff Huber, SVP at Google X, and Alex Roetter, VP of Engineering at Twitter, on a panel moderated by KPCB Partner Mike Abbott to share tips and tricks from those who have been through the process.

How do you climb the parallel ladders of engineering and management?
As startups grow in size, engineers often switch over to the management track in order to help scale the business. This is often a difficult transition for companies and individuals alike. In this clip, Mike, Jeff, and Alex discuss how the parallel ladders of developing both engineering and management skills are handled at Airbnb, Google, and Twitter and what their tips are for those hoping to make the transition.

How to Give Recognition to Your Engineers – and What Not to Do
In this clip, Mike, Jeff, and Alex weigh in on some lessons learned about how to give recognition to engineers at their respective companies. There are proven successful strategies, like creating public forums in which teams can share their learnings, and then there are failures, like accidentally creating a culture in which projects are recognized that demo well but don’t necessarily have an impact on the user.

The Tricky Business of Managing Out Low- and Average-Performing Team Members
In an ideal world, all team members carry equal weight as a company grows. However, in reality it often becomes important for engineering leads to evaluate which team members may be dragging down the overall performance of the team. Mike, Jeff, and Alex all have different approaches to making these difficult decisions, which they share in this clip.

Is It Better to Have a Functional or Product Unit-Specific Business Structure?
Some organizations have leadership overseeing all different aspects of the business, whereas others are grouped around product units that operate individually. There are pros and cons to both approaches, as the panelists illuminate in this clip.

How Do Airbnb, Google, and Twitter Onboard Senior Managers?
Onboarding senior leaders tends to be a difficult path to navigate. In this clip, Mike, Jeff, and Alex discuss their respective companies’ approach to the task.