Need your perspective, also this is going to be a long read. If you wish to skip, you can go directly to end where I have written questions.
I am currently an Engineering manager in an e-commerce company. I have been part of this company for more than 2 years now. The e-commerce site works in another country and has different language than english. Our Headquarter is in that country and I sit in another office in another country. All of our Product Managers(or Product Owner) and Business people sit in headquarters.
I started to work as a Technical Lead in this company 2 years back. I was the only person sitting from the remote office while most of my team (i.e. Devs, QA and PO) used to sit in Headquarter. However I use to travel once in a quarter in order to get some KT (knowledge transfer).
As I worked I constantly felt that I was not having much ownership and responsibility. Initially I used to participate in standup but gradually it reduced. The team there were also struggling with the project architecture and slowness of website. The build process also sucked and for me it was getting harder and harder in order to contribute. All the releases and deployments were done from there. I sometimes tried to take ownership but couldn't fulfil as I always got stuck somewhere or the other while working and reached everyone on slack for help. Most of the times I got exhausted, sometimes frustrated as the counterparts didn't understood english well and communication gap was becoming quite often. I was working on features and needed to interact with PO for domain knowledge which was hard for me as sometimes I couldn't understand the context with respect to the country's culture.
So one day I decided to work for another team within that same company. There we were working on technology that I found challenging and loved working on it. But later I found that the same pattern followed. Most of the decisions were taken by the team there and I was just acting like a support.
After 1 year the management at my home office changed. The new management interviewed me and asked for concern I was facing. I clearly told them that things are not being discussed in advance with us, hence we don't know what is the context. All the core task decisions were taken by the team there.
After hearing my part, they aligned me with my counterpart (in headquarter) for weekly meeting, so that both of us were in sync. Things went smoothly for a while but later followed the same pattern. Sometimes I wished to take a bigger responsibility but due to lack of resources, I couldn't commit. Meanwhile I was trying to increase the team size, in headquarters also the team size increased. They hired a few senior people who primarily worked on architecture and performance. They were changing things so fast that it was getting difficult for me to comprehend everything. I tried to spend time to look into their changes but with hiring pressure most of my time was getting into taking interviews and expanding team. At this time I started thinking of quitting the company and to start looking for new job
Since I was hiring, I created a small team of 5 people. During my appraisal review I got promoted to Engineering manager, as there was a vacancy in the company. The salary hike was more than decent. I went to a comfortable zone and stopped thinking about job change.
Now I have a team of 15 people and they are aligned with some business vertical that often require web development. What I am still lacking is below 1. Core Contribution 2. Ownership
I sincerely see this frustration in my team as well. Sometimes they are stuck and it required to connect with people on remote.
Thanks for reading so far, I have tried best to convey my feelings. Please find my specific questions below.
Q1. How to create ownership in technical teams?
Q2. How to create trust with the team that sits remotely?
Q3 In a stage where a company that operates in another country, will it be a good idea to contribute only in CORE things, irrespective of the domain as technical things you can always google and implement and test? More kind of an IC role where you are doing things technical without indulging much in the business domain. Kind of a platform team, for example one such role would be devops etc.
Please add comments if you want to understand more on my query. Thanks Any comment/suggestion will be helpful.