What better way to understand what it takes to build the required skills to become a tech leader at a breakneck pace than to look into the personal learnings of a young leader going through the process himself? Jainesh is the Senior Lead Engineer at Bright and here’s what he has to say.
You have led several major initiatives at Bright within your first year. What does the concept of ‘Tech project management’ mean to you?
To keep it simple, it is a journey right from the idea to execution. The journey is an arduous one because it involves shaping an abstract idea to a representational one, scoping into multiple phases, aligning the leadership, timeline planning, course-corrections, execution, tackling post-execution challenges, analyzing metrics and measuring impact with the eventual goal of moving the needle.
What are the skills involved in doing this well? What new skills have you especially learned at Bright?
1. Turning raw ideas into executables - Initially, when an idea pops up in someone's head, it is very raw, and making it real is the real challenge. This was one of the major skills that I learned, especially during the making of the Credit Product.
2. Clear communication and alignment - A project/product cannot move forward if all the stakeholders and the team are not aligned. They need to be on the same page, which is why communication is key and the concept of “over-communication” practically doesn’t exist.
3. Defining scope & MVPs - A very huge project might seem overwhelming at the start; scoping it out makes it much better. Always prioritise experiments and shipping in multiple phases. As they say for startups - “Better to make a cycle first and then a car, rather than directly jumping to making a car.” This way, you will know if people even want to go from A to B using something they are sure of.
4. Impact - Before the execution of the project, the impact metric should be very clear. Every major decision should come down to the question, “Does it affect the impact metric?” If not, it isn’t worth it, time to move on.
What is your advice to a new engineer who has never managed a tech project before? How do they start? What skill areas must they focus on first?
My advice would be to just get into it, you will learn the best by getting your hands dirty. On the focus areas, the first and foremost thing to do is to get a very clear understanding of the problem and how it fits into the bigger picture. Then comes understanding and defining the ‘what’ of the problem. Once that is clear, deep diving into details will help establish the ‘how’. Divide the process into multiple phases for faster learnings. Finally, time to ship it! Learn, grow and improvise throughout the journey.
As a growing Tech Leader, what new skills and knowledge areas are you prioritizing in your coming 6 months? How are you developing each of these?
People Management is the first thing that comes to mind because I want to be able to understand the various needs and interests of those around me. To develop this, I am focusing on effective communication through one-on-ones. The goal is to bring out the best in people and to build an outstanding team.
I want to be crystal clear on the priorities of each week with proper alignment. There will be daily check-ins with problem-solving sessions twice a week. To encourage professional development, there will be coaching sessions twice a week as well. Closing the week with a bang is very important. Hence, there will be a communication of impact conducted with all present.
Product management is essential to my role. I want to be able to get into persona deep-dive, building processes and effective operational models. Developing a more end-to-end view is desirable at this stage, which is done by accelerating user interviews and surveys specially developed to understand the psychographics and behavioral patterns of our users. This will help Bright build more products that can prove to be a boon to users.