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what would you focus on when hiring engineering vp for a team of 10?

Liran Tal
🥑 Developer Advocate @snyksec | @NodeJS Security WG | @TheSecureDev team | @jsheroes ambassador | Author of Essential Node.js Security | Let's talk! 😉 ❤️
・2 min read

Let's assume you are tasked with hiring a VP Engineering for a relatively small team, say 10 engineers, which is on a growth trend as the company gets bigger.

What topics and areas would you expect to cover?

Here are my raw thoughts on the subject:

  • An Engineering Culture: responsible for shipping quality products (dev owns quality), clean code/clean architecture, opposed to quick&dirty or delivering fast due to deadlines and product pressure. Automation as much as possible (i.e: no manual deployment of servers, no manual QA), designs and architecture that allows scale and growth, but not handling imaginary problems such as a premature optimization where you get lost in building for 1M while you only have 1000 users.

  • Continuous Improvement: delivering features and products is nice, even if you do CI/CD, saying you do agile is nice. BUT, you also need to learn from it. Meaning, retrospectives are important, lessons learned are important. A mindset of always pushing forward to make things better and evaluating what can be improved.

  • Engagement: it's easy to get distracted into the technical stuff, code reviews, technologies etc, but I believe that for developers to build great products they really need to understand the customers, pains, context, etc. therefore product and customer engagement is key.

  • Empowerment and Mentoring: at the end of the day people are people and not robots or resources. They want to be recognized and appreciated, they want to be challenged, learn and explore new things. They need a fostering environment where they feel safe to take risks, consult, evaluate and a mentor that guides/supports them through the process they are making.

What do you think?
What other key items would you evaluate?

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