Introducing Breakthrough Engineering Leadership — the premier one-on-one coaching program to equip you with the tools and mindsets you need to effectively lead your engineering team to new levels of growth and success. Develop the mental frameworks and the confidence to chart your way forward, given any situation.

"I hope more people embrace Edmond's philosophy and techniques to make their companies and careers more successful."
— Bret Taylor, CEO of Quip and Former CTO of Facebook
"You[‘ve] helped me coach my engineers, who are always asking about how to become great engineers. I can begin coaching at a higher level. The concept of "leverage" anchors those discussions."
— Eric Sowa, VP Engineering, Matrix at Salesforce
"Edmond provided a great framework for our engineers to dramatically improve their learning and the value of their activities. Attending Edmond's seminar was the highest-leverage activity I've performed in a while."
— Chris Cholette, Director of Engineering at Sunrun

Leading an engineering team is hard. Every day, we face tough questions with no easy answers.

What investments should your team make to maximize its long-term impact? What core metrics should you measure to best align engineering efforts with your organization’s strategic goals? How do you sustainably and effectively hire, onboard, and train new engineers? And how do you get any of this done when your calendar is packed with back-to-back meetings?

Figuring out how to lead effectively can be stressful and downright frightening. You may even start second guessing whether you’re the right person for the job.

I know, because many years ago, that’s how I felt when I initially led the analytics team at my first startup.

Hi! I’m Edmond Lau, author of The Effective Engineer. I teach engineering leaders how to take back control of their time, focus on their highest-leverage activities, and create meaningful impact for their teams and their business.

I bring a decade of experience in data-driven product development, user growth engineering, and analytics and experimentation across Google, Quora, Quip, and Ooyala. I’ve interviewed over 500 engineering candidates; taught workshops and training seminars to 100's of engineers at fast-growing companies including Pinterest and Google; and built the onboarding and mentoring programs to train dozens of new engineering hires at Quora.

And I’m here to be your trusted ally and coach, so that you can lead with confidence and deliver the results your team and business need to succeed.

When I left Google and started leading my first team at a startup, I brought over best practices around code reviews, automated testing, software design, and operational scaling. I may not have been the strongest engineer, but I had certainly earned the technical respect of my team through grit and execution.

But my first experience leading a team opened the door to an unfamiliar set of questions that went beyond my technical skills:

  • How do I build a strong engineering brand and recruit engineers?
  • How do I trade off the desire to slow down and increase engineering quality against the pressure to sprint quickly to hit business deadlines?
  • How do I structure my team and our workflows so that we could move and adapt quickly?
  • How do I balance having engineers focus on what they’re best at so we can get more done against distributing expertise on any one part of the system across more people?

So I did what any young, motivated leader would do when faced with a hard problem — I hustled. I pulled 70-80 hour weeks so that I could continue writing code, develop product strategy, while still working to grow and strengthen the team.

And I made some costly mistakes. I lost a key team member by not offering him enough new learning opportunities. I didn’t invest enough effort to spreading knowledge across the team, so our projects would get bottlenecked on a single person. And because I didn’t carve out enough time and energy to focus on what mattered to the business, I allowed products to ship that our customers didn’t need. Looking back, I lacked the systems and frameworks to effectively prioritize what needed to get done, and I learned the hard way.

But perhaps more importantly, I made the mistake of assuming that because no one else at our startup could answer these questions, I had to figure out the answers on my own. I didn’t know to ask for help from people who had tackled these very same issues before.

Few people talk about imposter syndrome publicly, particularly at higher rungs of the career ladder. There’s good reason — you want to appear confident to your team and organization. But failing to ask for help can also hold us back.

One CTO even reached out to me, saying, “It’s been a very difficult last 2 years as I fight the feeling that I’m a fraud. I live in constant fear of it being found out.”

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.

A coach can help. In fact, in many industries, not having a coach would be unheard of. All great professional athletes — even the ones at the top of their game like Steph Curry or Roger Federer — have coaches. Many top entrepreneurs even hire business coaches. Why shouldn’t you have the same advantage?

What if you had the mental frameworks to prioritize the competing obligations for your time and your team’s time? Then rather than letting recurring meetings, urgent emails, phone calls, or the next deadline dictate your schedule, you’d take back control of where you spend your time and energy, so that you can focus on what’s actually important.

What if you could trust your engineers to determine on their own, the tasks and the projects that would translate into the greatest business impact? Then you could spend less energy managing their time — confident that you had reliable systems and processes in place to weather any storm, whether business or technical. You could spend more energy on improving the team culture, engineering workflows, and strategic direction in powerful ways that amplify your team’s output.

What if you could efficiently recruit new engineers and bring them up to speed so that they’re productively shipping code on their first day? Then you could more confidently scale up your engineering efforts and accelerate the timeline of turning your team’s vision into a reality.

These questions don’t have to be “what ifs.”

As long as you’re open-minded and committed to growth — even when it pushes you out of your comfort zone — I’d love to help. I help engineering leaders like you take back control of your schedule, level up your leadership skills, and build an amazing engineering team. And we’ll start by figuring out together where you should be focusing your time.

As an engineering leader, your time is critically limited.

Time is everyone’s most limited and critical resource. But as a leader, the effects of how you spend your time get amplified across the organization. The metrics you pick, the processes and systems you set in place, and the areas you choose to prioritize directly affect the work of your entire team.

Unfortunately, the solution space to explore can feel endless. That’s how it certainly felt to me when I led my first team. And you can definitely hustle and learn everything through trial and error like I initially did. Or, I can coach you through the models used by high-functioning leaders and teams I’ve seen and worked with.

Moreover, as part of researching The Effective Engineer, I spent nearly two years interviewing engineering VPs, directors, managers, and other leaders at top software companies: established, household names like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; rapidly growing mid-sized companies like Dropbox, Square, Box, Airbnb, and Etsy; and startups like Reddit, Stripe, Instagram, and Lyft. And I want to share the best mindsets and practices that I’ve seen at these companies with you.

Hiring a coach doesn’t mean you’ll execute perfectly and won’t make mistakes. But it does mean that you can shift more of your energy and risk-taking from problems that every leader faces to the problems that are unique to your team and business. And that nudge in the right direction to avoid critical pitfalls and hone in on the most business-critical problems can save you weeks or months of engineering time.

Edmond is everything that I had heard of and then some! He was able to quickly understand the situation. He gave me great advice consisting of very practical and helpful suggestions. He listened very intently and asked me very relevant questions. I will definitely be reaching out to him again!

He messaged me before our call asking me to send him a list of questions. This shows his attention to detail and his awesome attitude as he wanted us to make the best use of our time during the call.
— Malvika B., Silicon Valley startup founder.
I've talked with over 100 experts on Clarity. The call with Edmond was one of the best. He was able to help me think through the key factors for success.
— Omar Baig, Founder & CEO of Physician Nexus
Our 45-minute conversation saved me 6 months of A/B testing efforts. I am looking forward to our next call!
— Roshni Mahtani, CEO & Founder of Tickled Media, and Founder of the Female Founders Network

Focus on your highest-leverage activities.

The principles for effective engineering leadership start with the core framework — leverage — that I introduced in my book, The Effective Engineer. The only sustainable way to increase your impact is not by working longer hours, but by shifting more of your time and energy toward investments in yourself and in your team that have higher returns on investment.

That’s why so many teams have started making the book required reading for their teams.

Thank you so much for this book. It is a great articulation of many lessons I've learned in my career, and it's going to become mandatory reading for developers on our team. I've got copies for everyone on my team, and we are having our first "book club" meeting on it next Wednesday.
— Luke Closs, Founder & CTO of Recollect
I've assigned it as the second book on my new hires' onboarding list. My teams now host a book club for The Effective Engineer during work hours. All of my technical lead engineers are using leverage points and more carefully selecting and measuring their work. My leads are working on refactoring our interview process, producing guides on how to use our tools, demos and presentations, and getting first-hand experience with our customers.
— Sameer Doshi, Senior DevOps Engineering Manager @ kCura
“I'm always skeptical of books that profess to teach a meta-skill since they can come off as too theoretical... After reading through The Effective Engineer, I was impressed with both the thoroughness of its coverage but more importantly with the way it tied everything... into a unified whole. I also immediately put into use some of the insights around increasing iteration speed and optimizing for leverage in my day-to-day practices... I'm already planning to tell everyone on my team to read it... and suggest we give a copy to every new engineer who joins Dropbox.”
— Alex Allain, Engineering Manager for Dropbox's Product Platform Team

Everyone’s situation is different, but in our coaching sessions, we’ll identify your highest-leverage focus areas. And then we’ll equip you with the systems and frameworks you need to effectively and confidently make decisions.

Get the guidance you need to lead your team

I’m selective about my clients, and I only take on a limited number at a time for my 6-month Breakthrough Engineering Leadership program.

If we commit to working together, I’ll be an ally who’s invested in your success and will help you identify the areas you should invest in to significantly grow your leadership abilities and your business impact. Everything that you share with me will be held in confidence, as it’s important that our calls happen in a safe environment where you feel comfortable being open and honest about how things are going so that we can figure out the best approach to achieving your goals.

You commit to approaching each coaching session with an open and honest mind, even if the feedback isn’t pleasant to hear. We’ll be working together to plan out recommended next steps for each focus area, and you also commit to carving out time between our calls to focus on the areas we identify.

I’ll openly share any stories, experiences, mistakes, and lessons from my own career as well as all the engineering leaders I’ve talked to as I wrote The Effective Engineer.

As part of this program, you’ll get:

  • An initial 90-minute intensive coaching call, over Skype, where we dive deep into your goals and the biggest challenges holding you back from doing your best work.
  • Two 60-minute video coaching sessions per month (12 in total) over Skype. For your convenience, these sessions can also optionally be recorded so that you can review them in the future.
  • Follow-up action items and accountability check-ins after each session, to ensure that you execute and make progress toward your goals.

Leading a team is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to edmond <at> theeffectiveengineer <dot> com if you’d like to kickstart your growth.