I tend to assume that everybody else in the company knows that my team works in the way it does because that's how you deliver software successfully. Often, this comes back to bite when I learn that other managers think the team should be managed differently, and because I haven't made enough efforts to sell our methodology, those managers can have more influence than I'd like.
So, as an Engineering Manager, it's not enough that everybody in your team is happy and produce. You also have to be an advocate for your team to the rest of the company.
The "outwards" part is teaching your team the right ways to evangelize to people on other teams at levels below you. They'll almost certainly be interacting with engineers on other teams, and the quality of these interactions is greatly enhanced with a combination of good documentation and good presentation skills.
This is so important that it doesn't really matter how good of a job your team does as long as they can talk about it in a positive way and work effectively with other teams. All of your "good engineering practices" should be geared towards enabling this kind of culture because the technical deficiencies in your code don't really matter.
This makes me feel bad about my past behavior. I've walked in on past managers when they've been talking about my accomplishments or background with other managers or company owners. My instinct, and the way I was raised (military family), is to play it down and be humble ("eh, it was a team effort", or "I was in the right place and right time") or make some self-deprecating joke, but now I can see I was likely (unintentionally) undermining my boss.
I had already realized this wasn't a good idea the last time it happened, and resolved next time to just smile and say thank you or something similarly neutral. However, this comment underlines how bad of an idea it is to play down your successes at work, even if it's in your nature (I've also had people openly tell me to be careful about this re: my own career).
I just can't stand people boasting about bullshit at work, and want to avoid coming across like that. But I'll be more careful about playing down my own successes now.
As an example of something I personally struggle with: what's the best way to have the rest of the company know what all of our teams are working on without A) going into too much detail B) being obtuse C) opening ourselves up for miscommunication to customers or deadline promises D) giving ourselves room to fail, because not everything will work out.
The current iteration is a fortnightly newsletter that I curate between product and the engineering managers in the department and it gets sent around, but making everyone happy with it is /so/ hard.
In my experience, newsletters don't work well for internal communication. As you said, keeping the content relevant to a wide readership is too difficult. It does, however, work well as a recognition mechanism. A team seeing it's achievements blasted out to the company is very motivating, even if they are the only one's who notice it.
I like the idea of the newsletter. Do you focus mostly on achievements, or discuss 'ways of working' as well?
I'm really looking forward to the book, by the way.
The target audience for the newsletter was decided as "the busy exec". Not too much text, lots of gifs of functionality that we've built, etc.
There's some separate newsletters we do as well - there's a fortnightly "what's going on in the backend" one, curated by our infrastructure teams that's aimed at engineers.
Currently the general case newsletter goes to Engineering, Product, Product Design, and the exec group. We don't think it's quite good enough for the staff@ mailing list yet, but maybe we're just being over-cautious. It's really hard to get the balance right.
I’m going through this right now at my company, and it’s completely devastating our engineering org’s morale. I’ve never experienced anything like this.
Managing expectations is hard. Everyone will have different expectations of you unless you handle it for them.