The responsibilities below outline the 'standing' responsibilities of a translations and PSTN leader. Individuals may of course be asked to take on additional responsibilities - whether one-off tasks from their leadership or broader responsibilities such as special projects or acting as Technical Leads as well for any of their accounts.
High Level Responsibilities
A translations and PSTN leader’s responsibilities are:
- Provide technical leadership to your team and to the account teams for all translations and legacy trunk migration projects.
- Support and mentor your team of engineers managing their development.
- Assign the correct resource with the right skill level to each project ensuring its success.
- Monitor and tracking that success and adapting as required.
- Create development plans for the team to meet the future demands for translations and migrations for our new products, while maintaining the status quo for our traditional deployments.
- Provide input to the regional resource plan.
- Motivate the team to maximize efficiency, reduce cost of translations and migrations services by meeting or exceeding our billable utilization targets each quarter.
- Work with the PMs to prioritize activities and maximize revenue recognition
- Manage our translations support service and LERG update service.
- Work with partners to establish best practice and standardizing translations services for our customers in line with our own services above.
- Work as the technical authority and technical leader for translations in front of customers for presales activities, helping with the sizing of possible PSTN migration deals.
- Drive automation to simplify translations and migrations.
Leading to Success
As a leader you are responsible for the quality and reputation of our Professional Services that your team provide our customers. This is done by:
- Setting appropriate expectations, through careful and clear communication.
- Meeting those expectations.
- The underlying quality of our products and services and their fitness for purpose
- The strength of our relationship with the key customer personnel who deal with our system.
The detailed activities required to deliver Metaswitch-quality support will of course differ from account to account. However, leaders should at least be doing the following.
- Planning, to assess the resource needs of different customers, and ensuring that the right people are assigned to the right projects with the bandwidth to handle their needs.
- Monitoring, to ensure that the team is doing a good job. Monitoring should include some form of measurement (e.g. billable utilization) and not just rely on gut feel.
- Applying feedback, including updating the plan & providing feedback to the team.
- A lot. Most frequently with your team, customers, and PMs, but also escalating to or informing the Support Director as appropriate.
- Working closely with partners that may be offering translation services ensuring quality of service to our end customers.
The leader is usually the most experienced engineer in the team and is almost always the best communicator. This combination is exceptionally valuable when customers raise odd or unusual requests.
Good technical leadership requires
- Understanding the requirements, which often involves a lot of listening and asking probing questions.
- Thoroughly understanding what our products can and can’t do or being able to ask very clear and specific questions to internal experts to be confident that we can meet a set of requirements.
- A skeptical mindset (“where will this go wrong”) that is the same instinct that is valuable in project planning and monitoring.
- Being able to clearly articulate a complex solution to a wide audience, and sometimes, being able to ‘sell’ it past a customer’s preconceptions.
- As technical lead for translations and trunk migration services, work closely with our product line management team for all new products through the NPI process, ensuring efficiency and encouraging automation to streamline the deployment and migration processes.
This is often the part of the role that comes most naturally to new technical leaders, which makes it particularly important that they do not spend too much time on it or take on work that their team can handle given the appropriate advice and guidance! Being an effective leader absolutely depends on understanding when your technical leadership is needed and when it is not.
This is standard Metaswitch first line management. In other words
- keeping close to the moods of your guys, being aware when they are down or stressed
- assigning your team members tasks that they are capable of (either already, or after some planned mentoring / training), and giving them a clear briefing
- maintaining a view in your head of the strengths and weaknesses of your guys, so that you can give them useful feedback week to week and can easily write reviews every year.
- maintaining up to date T&D plans for each team member, and prodding them to progress them
- writing reviews and getting them approved and held in a timely manner.
Your status reporting responsibility as a leader is very broad. Yes, you have the usual responsibility to keep your management line briefed, including
- political or sensitive issues as they occur (e.g. outages or significant project delays)
- weekly status reports, including
- key metrics from your team
- notable developments at any of your accounts during the week
- the latest status of your planning and resourcing
- a briefing on each of your engineers, with anything you’ve learnt about them in the past week, or any issues or concerns they have that need escalating.
However, you also report status to
- account teams when anything possibly political or sensitive happens at their accounts including revenue at risk.
- PMs, as part of managing your team’s workload
- Customers/partners, to pro-actively head off escalations when things are going badly and to ensure that customer management knows how great our products and support are when all is good.