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Relativity LLC

"A Day in the Life of 4 Engineering Managers"

Below is part of an article originally written by Alton Zenon III at Built In Chicago, and published on March 12, 2020. This part of the article is about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Relativity

Courtnie Takata-Lee

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING MANAGER

Takata-Lee's managerial path at Relativity took her from not knowing what a team's function was, to eventually helping lead release management as a software engineering manager. When she isn't coordinating product releases with her international team, she said her attention is focused on ensuring her direct reports are happy, empowered and motivated.

How did you become an engineering manager?

I spent the majority of my early years as a web developer. Midway through my career, I evolved into a business analyst and later a project manager, which utilized my people skills. At Relativity, I joined the release management team as a project manager. I hadn't heard of release management, but ended up loving the cadence and continuous improvement aspects of the work. This passion is what led me to manage the team.

What are your responsibilities on a typical day?

I'm responsible for ensuring the delivery and quality of our RelativityOne releases by creating and enforcing deployment and development processes. My job is highly collaborative, so I spend most of my time in meetings with various departments in the organization like engineering, service delivery, content management and support.

My team consists of members in both Chicago and Krakow, Poland. So we sync on status updates and have brainstorming and design sessions in the mornings. When I'm not in meetings, I have one-on-ones with my direct reports and document processes.

What makes a good engineering manager?

Putting people first. Ensuring that my direct reports feel valuable, happy and productive is my top priority. It's also important to give them the autonomy to make decisions and learn from their mistakes. Listen and ask good questions to guide people toward effective actions. It's also imperative to stay calm through any situation, no matter how big or pressing the situation might be.

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