Collaboration and Growth: 2022 Engineering Manager Summit
Yonatan Aharon, Senior Engineering Manager, and Franziska Back, Executive Assistant to our CPO and CTO, co-organizers of our first Summit of 2022, outline the event's significance, goals, and take-aways — as well as growth opportunities for new managers.
Held twice a year, GetYourGuide's Engineering Manager Summits are always a calendar highlight. The most recent, however, felt even more special than most. That’s because it was timed to coincide with another annual high point – the Summer Party – meaning all 500+ colleagues globally were on-site at our Berlin HQ. After two years of collaborating virtually, both events were an inspiring reminder of the benefits of sharing experiences and ideas in person and face-to-face. In the case of the Engineering Manager Summit, that translated to cross-team exchange, opportunities for personal growth, and best of all, the chance to reconnect in a relaxed setting geared towards collaboration and teamwork.
The Engineering Manager Summit is a one-day event designed to help colleagues connect not only with each other but also with our core values. With a focus on personal and team growth, it’s also a place to brainstorm creative ideas to continually improve customer experience. A total of 30 Engineering Managers, Group Managers, and Principal Engineers from our Berlin and Zurich offices took part in the Summit. Each lead teams of between two and ten colleagues, meaning great leadership and communication, as well as technical know-how, are key qualities for success.
With that in mind, the Engineering Manager Summit comprises a balance of hands-on workshops, lectures, and fun activities. Ahead of the event, we invite participants to specify particular areas they’d like to cover; these include topics such as team building, technical enrichment, cross-team knowledge sharing, and organizational change. To start the day on the right note, we always begin with a relaxed icebreaker. Because this was the first time some of us had met in person due to the pandemic, this was especially important!
Sparking New Ideas
The first two sessions focused on cross-team knowledge sharing: because engineering sits at the heart of GetYourGuide’s product, understanding how our work intersects with other departments is invaluable. Ignazio Moresco, our Head of User Experience who joined the GetYourGuide team late last year, led participants in the design sprint method, Crazy Eight. The exercise saw groups quickly sketch eight product ideas they’d love to see. In the conversation that followed, proposals were synthesized and merged until we had one great idea to pass on to the product team. Ignazio’s approach to fostering creativity and ideation within teams resonated with participants and inspired new ways of thinking.
“It was amazing to see how many fruitful ideas come up in a Crazy Eight session,” said Zurich-based Engineering Manager Daniel Huguenin. “They were very wild, but at the same time, also magically aligned and complementing each other. It felt like a powerful team moving towards a shared goal,” he added.
Our colleague Manish Patel, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, led an informative session about financial forecasting, and how his team's data-driven insights influence company-wide decision-making. The presentation inspired participants to see how Engineers can similarly drive impact by optimizing efficiency and costs. “I found all the sessions to be relevant and to the point, and particularly loved the presentation given by Manish,” said Engineering Manager Alex Ionita. “It’s refreshing to work for a company where there is so much employee trust and transparency into the economics of our business.”
Engineering in Focus
A casual lunch at the office gave everyone an opportunity to mingle and chat, before heading into a series of afternoon sessions. In line with one of our core employer brand values — personal growth — these included a panel discussion with senior engineering leadership. Moderated by Udi Nir, GetYourGuide’s CTO, conversations spanned panelists’ own career trajectories, reasons to step up and own engineering-wide projects, and transitioning from individual contributor engineering roles to manager.
A goal of every Engineering Manager Summit is for colleagues to share technical expertise and updates. For example, at the previous summit colleagues discussed how teams use Kafka Streams for decoupling, consistency, and scalability.
Wrapping up the afternoon sessions, participants headed offsite to test their wits and put the day’s team-building into practice at a particularly challenging Escape Room. The day ended at one of our favorite Berlin restaurants for great food, flowing drinks, and a lot of laughs.
This very special Engineering Manager Summit was a resounding success and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Like every internal GetYourGuide event, the Summit was built around our core values: building trust through team-building, sharing discoveries both technical and process-focused, fostering personal growth, contributing to our shared passion for engineering, and above all, igniting joy. Always a fantastic opportunity for new or incoming Engineering Managers to step up either by hosting a session or helping with the organization of the day, the Engineering Manager Summit is all about charting, celebrating, and inspiring growth.
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