What does an Engineering Manager do at Deliveroo?

Do many software engineers know what an Engineering Manager (EM) actually does? As I moved through several companies through my career I saw this role in so many different colors and forms. Every time I was wondering - what is this job actually? I am not going to come with an exhaustive definition as I doubt it exists… However I’ve recently moved from Software Engineering role to an Engineering Manager, so hopefully my fresh memories and this post will help anyone who’s interested to find out more about what it’s like to be an EM at Deliveroo.

What are EMs doing?

  1. Retain talent
  2. Attract world’s best engineers
  3. Give context, set the scene
  4. Cross engineering initiatives - things that make our culture better

Why are EMs doing what they do?

Because we have to solve unique and difficult problems in a fast paced highly competitive environment.

Because we want to empower engineers to find solutions to problems at the edge of computer science at great scale.

How are we doing it?


Your first thought might be ‘isn’t that what recruiters do?’. It is, but it is EMs responsibility to be actively involved in sourcing - exploring LinkedIn profiles, searching good candidates by asking people around for recommendations, go to relevant events/meetups when appropriate, and anything that could help finding good people. It’s like a treasure hunt. It is also very, very hard work.

While folks at the biggest tech companies might have an easy job with attracting many candidates, as everyone knows them, here at Deliveroo we’re still working on spreading the word out there. It might also feel frustrating at times, after spending few hours a day finding good profiles, crafting messages for them, to be waiting for a reply back. Some of the very few people that will get back might not be interested. And then we go again.

Once there are people in the pipeline, EMs are occasionally asked to talk to potential candidates over the phone, in order to get them excited about us and also answer questions candidates might have (often really tricky ones).

Interviewing will become part of your weekly routine. It is very important to get good at it - ask good questions, ask follow-up questions so that in the very short hour we could get as much information as it is possible in order to make a good decision - would this person be good at the job? Would they feel comfortable in the engineering team? Could we set them up for success at Deliveroo? Are we certain they will help Deliveroo grow by bringing their energy, experience and ideas?

And finally providing feedback to candidates and make sure people that were involved in the interview are providing good, quality feedback. That means at the end of debrief the recruitment team can hand all the feedback over to the hiring manager and they could make a decision based on what they read. So providing good feedback and giving people feedback on their feedback.

Feedback is a big thing. I’ll talk more about this below.

Line management

Line management is at the core of what an EM is doing. It is hugely important to be able to keep the talent. The EM’s role is to make sure everyone in the team has the skills, space and the right setup to do great things. Deliveroo will be one of the many stops an engineer might have along their career. The EM needs to work with each engineer to ensure they get the most of the time they’re with the company, and to progress with their professional life. So here are some of the practices used by EMs when it comes to line management:

Shape the roadmap, look into the future

EM is a key role in shaping what comes in the next quarter, 6 months, a year. Being able to understand the potential of the current team and leverage it in order to build great products is a key aspect of what we do as EMs at Deliveroo. Set the vision and help the team move and deliver on it without imposing a solution.

We are working with the business, working closely with the PM of the team in order to assure there is enough scope for everyone and it is aligned to quarterly goals which are in turn aligned with yearly company goals.

Being aware of what’s going on in other teams, attending product reviews is indispensable in the role. Bringing the necessary information to the team and also letting others know about what is the team working on and what will it be working on in medium and long term is helping engineers to be focussed and efficient at shipping features at good pace.

Sometimes EMs along with PMs act as air traffic controllers in order to make sure all the information, resources are allocated, the business is up to date with the progress of the work and risks are managed properly.


This is ultimately what we’re looking for in order to be able to find and solve unique problems. This is hard to achieve and it can not be scheduled as a block in a calendar. We need to let engineers innovate and think outside the box and this is only possible in a transparent, friendly and supportive environment.

An EM should offer all the support in order to make engineers feel safe to fail. Everyone fails at some point. But we need to encourage people to do so and we need to make sure it is a good environment for it.

EMs help engineers to iterate on ideas and learn along the way. Build trust and a culture of constructive debate is what we also do at Deliveroo, and EMs are at the heart of this process.

Few things to consider

About Victoria Puscas

A picture of Victoria Puscas

I’m an engineering manager at Deliveroo.

Initially joined Deliveroo as a Software Engineer in Quality, part of SETI team (Software Engineering Tools and Infrastructure) back in November 2016.

Previously worked at Yammer (Microsoft) and Endava in London and Moldova.