Interview with Joe Hudson, Engineering Manager at Citadel LLC
Published on Dec 18, 2017
3 min read
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina Area
Current Role: Web Engineering Manager at Citadel LLC
What’s your background and how did you get into management?
I have a software engineering background and got into management mostly by accident. The director at Walmart Grocery knew of my technical background and thought I would be a good fit to reboot the team and start fresh with some new engineers and a new tech stack. I wasn’t confident in my ability to be successful in this role but the director believed in me so much which let me to believe in myself.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Initially, it was confidence to be good at my job. Confidence that I’m making the correct decisions for the team and the organization. Pushing a change in direction and technology while bringing in a new lead engineer required having some difficult conversations with team members who were heavily involved with the current direction and technology. There were also challenges to meet business timelines while balancing engineering initiatives. The hardest aspect of the position was coming to the realization that I won’t always be able to make everyone happy. I faced this when engineering initiatives didn’t align with business initiatives and I was caught in the middle.
What is your approach to hiring?
I believe that people are better at certain skills than others. While a functional front-end engineer may know CSS, it may take him 5x longer only to end up with something that isn’t very maintainable. There is always the truly exceptional engineer who can do it all but, for those that can’t, I try to hire people who can fill gaps so that people can focus on what they are good at and makes them happy. In doing this, I found that content is produced faster and is more maintainable. The obvious drawback is that engineers become less fungible.
What’s your advice for managers who are just starting out?
If you have a family, use that as a starting point for management because there are a great deal of similarities. I found that having a successful team really just means following a few basic steps
- do what you can to keep team members happy
- invest your time to know each person’s personal and career goals and do your best to support them
- give positive feedback when you can
- give constructive feedback when you need to (and follow up on it)
- provide opportunities for the team to form personal relationships because people will work harder for each other when they care about each other
- do your best to shield your team from company politics
- take personal ownership of mistakes (but review them with your team to learn from them)
- give credit of successes to the team
- send flowers to a team member’s spouse with a thank you card when they have to work way more than expected to recognize the burden it places on the family
Whats your work day like and how do you manage your time, emails, etc.?
A lot of Jira review, emails and meetings. As a manager who still wants to be an engineer working in a large organization where many (sometimes unnecessary) meetings are scheduled I didn’t get much time to code. (note: I now work at a new organization where I manage fewer people and can spend much more time coding and am much happier).
What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Love of family and the desire to be a good role model to my children, love of coding that keeps me fresh (https://github.com/jhudson8), and the ability to reflect on my own strengths and weaknesses so that I can grow.
Share an internet resource or tool that you can’t live without.
If you could recommend one book to managers, what would it be and why?
“Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams” It’s just a great book with great tips for managers without experience who want to do a good job.
Where can we go to learn more about you? (LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, etc.)
This series asks engineering managers to share their experiences with the intent of helping other engineering managers learn and improve. Have someone you want to see featured or questions you think we should ask? Contact me.
Discover Other Posts You Might Like
Sep 26, 2023
1 min read
Unveiling the Secrets to New Manager Success
… [Read more](https://www.managersclub.com/unveiling-the-secrets-to-new-manager-success/ "Unveiling the Secrets to New Manager Success")
Sep 26, 2023
1 min read
Accelerating AI in Your Team: Strategies for Success
… [Read more](https://www.managersclub.com/accelerating-ai-in-your-team-strategies-for-success/ "Accelerating AI in Your Team: Strategies for Success")
May 31, 2023
1 min read
How to Stay Motivated and Crush Business-Critical Projects
In this video, Rajesh Janakiraman, an engineering manager at Google, shares his insights and experiences on leading business critical projects while ensuring his team remains motivated and doesn’t burn out. Business critical projects can be intense, high visibility deadlines that often shift roadmaps and include executive-level oversight. Building the right team, maintaining communication, and managing expectations around these challenging projects are crucial to preventing burnout and driving results.
May 26, 2023
1 min read
📣 Join Managers Club: A Collaborative Discord Community for Engineering Leaders 📣
Are you on the lookout for a collaborative, engaging community tailored specifically for your role? Look no further! Introducing the Managers Club Discord server dedicated to leadership in engineering. We’re a community of engineering managers, team leads, and CTOs who come together to share experiences, best practices, and insights.
May 25, 2023
1 min read
Measuring Success & Performance of Managers – A Deep Dive
Are you an Engineering Manager curious about gauging your effectiveness and success in your role? In this insightful episode, we dive deep into metrics and stakeholder management with Ivan Bilan, an experienced engineering manager. Discover the core metrics for measuring engineering manager performance in people leadership, product quality, delivery, and self-promotion, and learn the importance of stakeholder management in driving team success. In this video, we will be looking at how to measure success and performance for managers. We’ll be exploring different methods and tools that managers can use to measure their own success, as well as the success of their team. Don’t miss out on these valuable insights and strategies!
May 16, 2023
1 min read
Red Flags and Insider Tips for Working with Recruiters
In this engaging conversation, experienced technical recruiter Kate Parton shares vital advice and insider tips for candidates seeking job opportunities in the tech industry. She discusses red flags to watch for, navigating compensation discussions, common misconceptions about the recruiting process, and how to make the most of your partnership with a recruiter. Discover the role of social media and the rise of AI in the hiring process. Kate shares valuable tips and advice on making your job search and interview process smoother and more successful. Tune in for an insider’s perspective on the world of recruitment and how to avoid common pitfalls!