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The role of the engagement manager

  • By , Director of Engineering, Culture Foundry

What would you say…you do here?

The engagement manager (EM) is a key role at Culture Foundry. I’m going to discuss the role, but wanted to mention two key caveats:

  • I am not an engagement manager, so I don’t know everything that they do.
  • The role definition is being refined slightly in the next few months.
With that out of the way, what does an EM do? Commonly described as the CEO of the project, they are the ultimate decision maker. This is a lot of autonomy and responsibility. They are the primary client contact, and own the success of the client engagement. I think of it as a mix between product owner and account manager, with a sprinkling of QA. Measures of success for an EM:
  • Is the client happy?
  • Are client needs satisfied without impacting other clients?
  • Is the client engagement profitable?

(Client needs can be satisfied in many ways, but a primary one is to use developer time. See more on our dev process.)

The EM role is a tough one because you work at many different types of tasks. Writing requirements for a piece of work is different than creating an SOW, which is different than discussing a strategic roadmap. Client interaction is also a large part of the job, but that’s not something I have much insight into. That’s by design. While developers definitely have to be comfortable talking to clients, the goal is to have the EM be the single authoritative point of contact for the client. When all communication is running through one person there’s less chance of crossed wires.

If I can persuade any of the EMs to write up their own experiences (in their spare time!) you’ll see it on the blog, but I hope this has given a glimpse into the life of a Culture Foundry EM.

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