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I'm working as a developer in a small software company (not outsource, product oriented, around 15 employees). In our company most positions are mixed, especially in management. Basically we have CEO and 2 PMs who're working with clients, prioritizing tasks, working on a product vision and so on, i.e. do all the organization staff.

I have a feeling that we have a lack of attention to our internal processes: development, quality assurance, deployment are far from perfect. I tried to suggest some views on how to improve them from my current position, our managers liked what I suggested but every time it was either getting postponed or implemented partly or there was nobody who forced people to use the new things and so on.

I want to ask for some sort of promotion to have the time and power to manage these processes: agilize things, improve/introduce CI, CD, test automation and so on. Keep an eye on how all members of the development/QA are using our bug-tracking system, source-control and implement best-practices so on and so forth. I also want to be able to make people follow the new practices (not just recommend).

What would this position usually be called?

How should I ask for this in a way which won't say - "you're doing it all wrong, let me show you how to manage your own company"?

I don't have management experience but I'm just tired of our clumsy process and feel that I can do it much better. How do I approach the above in a professional and positive manner?

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, carrdelling, Sascha, Michael Grubey Apr 30 '18 at 7:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • A manager? I don't get this lol – L_Church Apr 27 '18 at 14:30
  • @L_Church, it's a bit to wide, don't you think so? – nev Apr 27 '18 at 14:31
  • it does fit what you are asking for; a managing role where you manage the employees in doing daily tasks, procedures etc. im no expert but a manager is a manager. maybe someone else can chip in lol – L_Church Apr 27 '18 at 14:37
  • I also want to be able to make people follow the new practices - Grand Poobah? God? Vishnu? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 27 '18 at 17:42
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings agree, sounds jerky. Not my native language, sorry. All I wanted to say is that I want to have eligibility to create a common practices for the whole team and check that they're followed correctly. Of course at first such practices will be discussed with everybody, and nothing will be implemented without the agreement. – nev Apr 29 '18 at 8:01
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Whenever you want to manage something, your title might as well be "manager". Manager is a broad title - you might be managing 3 people, or you might be managing 6 people, or you might be managing 6 people who themselves manage 6 people each, and so on.

Your particular title sounds like "agile evangelist", but I'd stay away from that. For one thing, the word "evangelize" has connotations of being pushy and stubborn. The other problem with the title is the social capital afforded it.

I would prefer to do something if I was told to do so by a manager. I would not want to do something if an "evangelist" told me to do it. You will find it easier, then, to use a "manager" title to have the social capital to get things done.

Now you know to say "I want to manage our internal processes", which sounds like you're getting closer to "development manager" or "head of development". Don't worry about the title, everyone learns on the job.

Finally, you are presenting the problem incorrectly. As a company owner, I don't really care about the "feelings" of my employees per say. That Fred will be "happier" with a better laptop is nice, but I know I have a set amount of revenue, and I have to use that most efficiently to ensure I can pay for all my costs and marketing to get more revenue in the future.

However, if Fred tells me that the compilation process sucks up 2 hours of his time a day, and that over a week that means that Fred loses more than a days work, and that for a paltry amount of money I will improve his performance by 25%, allowing me to effectively get more revenue, well, now try to stop me buying a new laptop.

Same problem here - management are dragging their feet because "oh gosh it's a developer complaining about shiny things again". You should take stock of all the work done in the last month, and then make a case that, with these improvements, more work would be done in that period. That's the kind of thing that gets management backing.

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Outside of a few exceptions job titles are largely meaningless to be honest but "Software Development Manager" sounds like as good a title as any for the position you describe.

As for how to go about asking for/getting it, well you are going to need a lot more than a "feeling" that you can improve these internal processses. You're going to need an actual plan for:

  1. What you are going to implement

  2. What benefit(s) is it going to provide to the company - try and focus on things that will either save money or generate revenue.

  3. What is it going to cost - try and get some specific numbers, if you need tools or software then lookup what the costs will be to the business for them. How much additional salary are you going to ask for? etc

Once you have those you will need to be able to justify/explain why you are the best person to implement these changes.

Basically this is like an extra hard version of a job interview - because you not only need to convince them to hire you for the position but you also need to convince them that they need the position in the first place.

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I would suggest that the title for such a position would be Quality Assurance Manager as the following processes / tools that you are looking to implement would be carried out by the above role. I feel the distinction your looking to make is that your interested more in the development of operations so it could also be classed as a devops manageror compliance and growth manager.

Unfortunately your scope for this is really quite broad so naming something like this would almost certainly regress into just manager unless your newer commitments are refined alongside your existing ones.

As someone who has actively shaped and changed the Compliance and regulations alongside improving the existing infrastructure I'll give you some points that will hopefully help you get there:

  1. Talk to your existing team and find what works for them and what doesn't and inform them of the changes you want to make. This will hopefully make them respond more positively to changes and you may also find support for your cause.
  2. Write down all the things you think you can change by yourself without a role change and decide if you can/can't steer the majority of the changes from your current role title. If the list is overwhelming decide if you can do it all by yourself? finally formulate a plan using this that you can present to management.
  3. Be open and honest with what you want to change with your companies management and show them all of the positives that you handling this will bring. If you can win over management and show the value there more likely to be responsive and might even exceed your expectations as they probably are thinking about these things also.
  4. Go slow. There's nothing worse than someone who tries to change everything over night and it can often lead to making yourself and others feeling unhappy, most people are creatures of habit and are fragile.
  5. Figure out how much of this is also alternatively motivated, do you want to do this for a raise? Want to make yourself look good? Want to be a better developer overall? This is useful to know before you commit.
  6. Once you've pushed for it stay god damm committed and change the company for the better no matter what anyone thinks, being half baked is a disappointment at best and being Sacked is at worse. There are concquences to your actions even if you are open and honest.
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If you want to build the systems and processes that make this happen (as opposed to managing the people who do it), you're probably talking about being a System Reliability Engineer (SRE). This role exists based on the idea that reliable software requires solid testing and repeatable behavior based on the tools and processes you describe.

I'm not sure it makes sense to put the building of this methodology in the hands of the person who is responsible for making others use it. Separation of concerns can apply to people as well as software. Also "I also want to be able to make people follow the new practices" may not be the best way to create a good work culture. Show people why it makes sense to do it this way instead of trying to force them to do it this way.

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