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I am leading software development team. One of my responsibilities this year, is building career development tracks for my team members. The long-term targets include, ensuring the growth of the team members, keeping them motivated, and attracting new talent. Currently, the team includes developer, solution architect, project manager role. However, there are no clear paths of growth.

To give a bit of background, in our organization there are three career tracks: Technical track, Project Management track, and People leadership track. These are general guidelines I need to follow in drafting my team career development.

For example, in my specific case, here is a sample of career path I drafted:

Technical Track:

Developer -> Sr. Developer -> Area Lead -> Assoc. Solution Architect -> Solution Architect -> Area Solution Architect -> Lead Solution Architect

The Area here refers to topic or domain. Hence, this person is lead developer, Architect, say in Security, Frontend, ... etc. I still find it challenging to distinguish between two roles with only Sr. difference.

Project Management Track:

Developer -> Technical Project Manager/Scrum Master -> Product Owner -> Project Manager -> ... etc.

Here, Technical PM, works closely with developers, able to technically validate delivery, and also responsible for advising on the right resource to do what. Unlike, PM who is responsible for timeline, resource allocation in general and communicate with stakeholders' PMs.

People Leadership Track:

.... Project Manager -> Group Lead -> Team Lead -> .... etc.

I needed to add something between PM and TL, as I see it as a transition between PM track to People leadership. I thought of Group Lead as preparation stage, in which the team member is also responsbile for setting targets, motivating his group, and leading their delivery. TL is pure non-technical role, like PM. S/he is responsbiel for overall team targets, career development, budgets, hiring, ... etc.

Of course switching between tracks is possible. In addition, there are two parts here. The title, and the functional role. Each title should be acommpanied by a distinctive functional role. For example, when I thought of Junior Developer title, I was told, the title won't attract many talented freshers... etc.

My questions:

  1. Do you see any problems with these career tracks?
  2. In general, what do I need to consider when defining these roles? Do's and Don'ts? and why?

For the record, I found below questions useful but not quite answering my question.

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    Do these terms mean anything? Or are they just titles with matching salaries? – Erik Jul 11 '18 at 10:03
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    @Erik, as I mentioned in my question Each title should be acommpanied by a distinctive functional role. Otherwise, we could create as many meaningless titles as we wish – Hawk Jul 11 '18 at 10:32
  • Right, but you're starting from the meaningless titles here. It's hard to give feedback on your track if we don't know the actual functional roles involved. – Erik Jul 11 '18 at 10:37
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    @Erik, right. I added some explanation to some of the terms there put my question into context. – Hawk Jul 11 '18 at 10:47
  • Please do not use code tags for emphasis. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jul 11 '18 at 13:44
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You can just drop Junior or call it Associate Developer.

For project management, I think Scrum Master, Product Owner and Project Manager are distinct roles and not a progression per se. I think it could be better to go for something like:

Project Manager -> (Senior Project Manager ->) Engagement Manager -> Engagement Director. Though the Engagement… is not very common I do like it and it is generally considered a lot more heavy-weight than Project Manager.

For people leadership, I would think something more like:

Team Lead / Engineering Manager -> Senior EM -> Director of Engineering -> VP of Engineering.

I can look up some sample career progressions but you should also be able to google them.

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