Support Engineering Manager Responsibilities

Support Engineering Manager Responsibilities


  1. This page is an extension of the Support Engineering manager job family page.
  2. The aim of this page is to help you know how to carry out your responsibilities as a Support Engineering Manager.

Support Leadership at GitLab

Leadership at GitLab is a unique opportunity to embody and model the GitLab Values. The responsibilities of Support Managers can be grouped into two broad categories:

Responsibilities GitLab Values
Consistently ensure high Customer Support Satisfaction Results, Efficiency, Iteration, Transparency
Support and nurture team members in Customer Support and SGG (Support Global Groups) Collaboration, Diversity Inclusion Belonging

Our Hazards and Challenges page describes some known issues and how we handle them.

Consistently ensure high Customer Support Satisfaction

Our primary responsibility in the Support Leadership team is to ensure high quality Customer Support for GitLab customers. To fulfill this responsibility we set and achieve goals (aligned with GitLab Strategy and Engineering OKRs), and ensure Support Engineers can achieve their goals.

SSAT Responsibility Sub-responsibility
Help support engineers to resolve tickets accurately and efficiently Understand GitLab Support Service Levels and KPIs
Know how we use Zendesk, Slack, and GitLab for ticket management
Serve as Support Manager On-Call for Customer Emergencies and Escalations
Serve as SSAT Reviewing Manager for handling Customer Feedback
Know how to use Zendesk Explore to monitor KPIs
Work with GitLab Sales, Pricing, Product, and other teams when company initiatives change Support requirements
Help Support Engineers to manage tickets, manage customer expectations, and communicate well Coach SEs on communication techniques
Understand Support Workflows and escalation paths
Support your team members’ participation in on-call rotations to coordinate and resolve emergencies
Join Customer Calls with SEs on request or according to your judgement
Propose, develop, and evaluate improvements to Support processes by acting as DRI for issues in the Support Meta project
Stay up-to-date on GitLab Product, Strategy, Pricing, etc. Contribute to and read the Support Week in Review document every week
Participate (at the Section level or cross-functional level) in Support Stable Counterparts or Cross-functional non-product counterparts

Support and nurture team members in Customer Support and SGG (Support Global Groups)

We are equally responsible to ensure our team members are supported in their GitLab journey, and are able to bring their best selves to work every day.

Team Member and SGG Responsibility Sub-responsibility
Support and nurture team members Foster cross-regional connections among Support Engineers and Support Managers
Create an inclusive environment and foster DIB values within the team
Participate in Support Weekly Meetings
Build strong working relationships with your colleagues in Support leadership through informal communication
Conduct weekly 1:1s with each direct report
Recommend projects, training, and leadership roles for your direct reports
Support your direct reports who are Support Stable Counterparts or Cross-functional non-product counterparts
Ensure regular professional/career development for each direct report
Perform annual 360 Reviews and Performance Factor Reviews (compensation)
Conduct Performance Factor reviews and Compensation reviews
Handle any HR / People Group questions and topics from direct reports
Review, approve, and merge GitLab Issues and MRs from direct reports
Support your team members’ participation in on-call rotations
Develop your own skills through learning and training
Develop your skills through direct interactions with customers and Support Engineers
Interview and hire new team members Complete Interview Training learning module
Maintain a flexible schedule for interview timeslots
Stay up-to-date with the current Hiring Process
Stay up-to-date with hiring plans in the weekly Manager Sync documents/meetings
Grade assessments for SE and Manager candidates in Greenhouse
Work with your regional Recruiter to source potential candidates
Train Support Engineers via the Interview Training module to prepare them for grading technical assessments and performing technical interviews
Foster sense of community within and between SGG groups Coach and encourage team members to resolve group challenges (ie self-organize)
Engage in team building activities across all global groups
Interact with groups to amplify group successes and understand group challenges
Encourage and support cross-group collaboration
Serve as a point of escalation to team members Act as a guide to help progress stagnant SGG initiatives
Seek to understand (and be prepared to assist with) the overall health of each group (group wellbeing, collaboration efforts, blockers, capacity issues)
Help adjust or redistribute team member priorities based on SGG or individual capacity
Communicate clear SGG and/or individual expectations and seek to remove ambiguities
Help develop global strategies with team members across SGG groups where it makes sense

Working in Slack

Ask and answer questions in Slack. (We don’t have a way to easily track this, but feel free to share things you’re proud of in 1:1 notes documents.)

Important Slack channels:

1. `#spt_managers`
1. `#support_ticket-attention-requests`
1. `#spt_hiring`
1. `#support_team_chat`
1. `#thanks`
1. `#team-member-updates`
1. `#managers`
1. `#eng-managers`

Conducting weekly 1:1 meetings

Weekly 1:1 meetings are a crucial part of Remote Culture at GitLab. Refer to the Support Engineer Responsibilities page to understand what your team members are aiming to achieve.

  1. Review at least two tickets per team-member in 1:1 calls. This helps maintain and improve quality (technical, communication and collaboration).
  2. Monitor for team members to have around 50% to 60% of public replies to be on tickets that are assigned to them. Assigning tickets helps resolve customer problems quickly and efficiently as well as encouraging learning and collaboration.
  3. Help ensure your team members meet the ticket baseline for solved tickets, public replies, and internal notes for the type of tickets they are working on. This encourages the even distribution of ticket volume across the team.
  4. Review notable Incidents/Emergencies and Customer Calls in 1:1 notes/meetings with your team members.
  5. Discuss career development plans with team members at least once per quarter.

Develop your skills through learning and training

We are committed to helping you develop your skills through continuous learning. The GitLab Learning and Development team provides opportunities for exploration and training.

Be sure to include non-technical topics such as:

  1. Psychological safety in teams
  2. Time management
  3. Leadership skills
  4. Coaching skills
  5. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging
  6. Remote work
  7. Trends and insights in the larger support world
  8. Assertive communication

Consider participating in Team Member Resource Groups, and ensure your team members know about these.

Consider participating in, creating, or publicizing a GitLab Book Club.

Support Engineers and Managers are also encouraged to complete courses and certification from external providers. Speak with your manager to plan your learning goals.

Develop your skills through direct interactions with customers and Support Engineers

We are committed to being managers who know and understand what Support Engineers do day to day..

The best way to be familiar with Support Engineer workflows and responsibilities is to step into the shoes of the engineers.

Each week, Support Managers should do one or more of these activities:

  • own and resolve one ticket from first reply to closing statement
  • join a pairing session with one or more Support Engineers
  • join a scheduled or emergency call

By continually engaging with workflows, tickets, and customers we can build empathy and understand pain points through first-hand experience.

In this way, we build trust with engineers and customers while creating a sense of psychological safety by demonstrating that it’s okay not to know.

Last modified August 21, 2023: Fix broken links across the handbook (7877c2be)