I am a new manager in charge of a very small team of engineers. My bosses do not have an engineering background but they have expectations about the productivity of my engineers. I believe my bosses expect a higher velocity than my engineers are capable of. What are some strategies for managing this deficit of expectations versus what I feel is realistic to expect of my team?

  • 2
    What are your bosses basing their expectations on?
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 12:31
  • Did you already try to identify the reason(s) for the discrepancy? Are you team members unmotivated/not qualified enough/ unorganised/ just to few...? Are your bosses expectations based on performances of comparable teams / random guesses or something else?
    – Arsak
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 12:34
  • My bosses are basing their expectation on a deadline that they really want met. The reason for the discrepancy is my new engineer has a learning curve to overcome and is making understandably slow progress for now. It is only his second week.
    – CFL_Jeff
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 12:37
  • Yes, single new engineer for now but I intentionally asked the question more broadly to get a more universal answer.
    – CFL_Jeff
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 13:10
  • 1
    Hi Joe. To me, these are two very different questions and I want separate answers.
    – CFL_Jeff
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 13:47

1 Answer 1

  1. Make your teams Progress visible. Make sure to keep your stakeholders up to date.
  2. Provide realistic estimates based on your current velocity.
  3. If you see any conflict between deadlines and your (teams) estimates, get it sorted out immediately.

You can, within limits:

  • improve velocity
  • add resources
  • move deadlines
  • save on features

Discuss with your Boss, what you did, what you may need and how it´s going to be with the current course of action. If neither of you has any ideas left on how to improve these factors, and you are still behind on the deadline, better manage the damage now then later!

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