About Practical Engineering Management

Hey, It's Mirek here, the author and owner of Practical Engineering Management. You can read more about me at the bottom of this page.

How to empower in practice?

When leading engineering teams, I have never had a problem finding inspirational materials for empowering people, building strategies, defining goals, and being a good leader overall.

Yet, very often, when I read something super inspiring and returned to my day-to-day job, it wasn’t obvious to me HOW I should implement all of that. For many years, I kept asking myself questions like:

  • Can we implement Toyota’s kata method for software delivery?

  • Can we create a tangible plan for technology based on Richar Rumelt’s experience in building strategies for the biggest businesses?

  • Can we build an empowered team of engineers based on lessons from Marty Cagan for Product Managers and Product leaders?

  • How to implement bits of advice from Bill Campbell, legendary coach for executives from Apple, Google, and Amazon, to a team in an early-stage startup?

For most of my leadership career (as Tech Lead, Engineering Manager, Director of Engineering, and Engineering Site Leader), I experimented with bringing these inspirations and lessons to our day-to-day work.

Some of these achievements are documented already, e.g.:

Some of these articles can be outdated in terms of technicalities. However, the motivations and outcomes of these initiatives had their roots in building truly empowered teams focused on long-term success, inspired by lessons I learned from Ed Catmull, Bill Campbell, Richard Rumelt, and many other influential leaders, mentors, and researchers.

What is Practical Engineering Management?

In Practical Engineering Management, I will show you how to get up to speed with leading the team. I won’t tell you why you should empower people, trust them, work with small feedback loops, or be outcome-driven. Many great sources are explaining that already.

Instead, I’ll focus on implementing these values in your day-to-day work. You will get something to implement relatively quickly, so you can start building good team habits in the fastest possible way. I want to provide you with the solid ground you can build upon based on years of my experience.

You can call it the MVP of Engineering Management.

What you'll get from Practical Engineering Management?

  1. You will become an outstanding leader. It's not only about generating more value for the current organization but also about becoming a better professional, growing to a senior leader's position, and getting better opportunities from the market.

  2. You will learn what leadership is about and how to implement best practices step by step to maximize your and org's outcomes.

  3. You will empower people by helping them grow, building trust, gaining autonomy, and broadening their ownership. You will build strong professional relationships which will stay with you forever.

  4. You will become an influential and self-confident leader. With all practical hints and materials, your work will be conscious and thoughtful.

What’s my motivation?

I want to help make great ideas happen. I want to contribute to making the world a better place. There are things I proved working, and now I want to scale up my impact. Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations highly inspire me, and whenever I can help you, your team, or your company in chasing them, I will be honored.

Read more: THE 17 GOALS


About Mirek

About me

Hey there, my name is Mirek. 👋

I've been leading engineering teams and technology for almost a decade. I truly loved every single day of that. Over this time, I worked with or helped many people who are now great leaders. The impact they generate makes me proud but also motivates me to continue sharing my experience at scale.

During my career, I experienced almost every stage of building a startup.

  • I was a co-founder of a startup, later a software house, where my team and I built products for our clients and us. I experienced every single lesson of failing startups.

  • I joined a startup in its early days during a seed round, where I did coding, drew some UIs, and did probably a hundred other things people do in early-stage startups.

  • The startup evolved into the growth phase, where each aspect of "move fast and break things" needed to be rebuilt, stabilized, and delegated. I slowly replaced micro-management with trust&inspire approach. Monolithic systems were replaced by distributed ones. An on-prem solution went to the cloud. Silo teams evolved into cross-functional ones. Goals changed to KPIs and later to OKRs.

  • The growth phase went into a scale-up phase, where things got serious, the company broke even, and the multi-level management hierarchy developed.

  • I went through the acquisition process led by a bigger organization with a different culture and market (from B2C to B2B). I took part in the merging of two very different companies.

During this journey, I experienced big wins and learned even bigger lessons. Each day I worked hard to build empowered team(s), yet not all things worked as good as it's described in books. Thanks to that, over the years, I learned the true nuances behind great leadership ideas.

Today, I know not everything will work everywhere. Not every company will be the second Apple, Tesla, or Netflix. Not every organization has to be like them.
Not every team will be high-performing. Not all teammates will be A-players, and even if they do, you won't always find the best fit for them.

Things don't have to be perfect. Ordinary people and ordinary organizations can still be successful. And great leaders can maximize it, even when they face challenging conditions.

This is the experience I have.

I helped many engineers and engineering leaders grow. I did that in an environment that was far from perfect, yet many of these people are successful professionals today - either as inspiring leaders or great individual contributors.

So this is what I do here at Practical Engineering Management. I want to help you to be an outstanding leader and make great ideas happen. No matter where you work and how far your organization is from perfect.

I empower engineering leaders through practice.

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How to be an effective leader in the software engineering industry. Practical hints and stories to maximize the success of your team(s) and their influence on a company.

People

Mirek Stanek

Helping leaders on Practical Engineering Management | PL Site Leader & Engineering Director @ Papaya Global