Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

IC4 Technical Program Manager

I independently drive complex multi-phase programs, requiring cross-team communication and coordination which delivers a direct business impact a cross a team or product

Scope Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity

  • I own and deliver semi-annual/annual goals for my team.
  • I am an expert at identifying the right solutions to solve ambiguous, open-ended problems that require tough prioritization.
  • I define technical solutions or efficient operational processes that level up my team.

Collaborative Reach Organizational reach and extent of influence

  • I am a strong leader for my team with my impact beginning to extend outside my team
  • I increasingly optimize beyond just my team by driving cross-team or cross-discipline initiatives

Impact Levers Technical levers typically exercised to achieve business impact

  • Technical Strategy - I play a key role in setting medium-to-long term strategy for business-impacting projects.
  • Project Leadership - I autonomously define and deliver technical roadmaps of larger projects, often involving cross-team dependencies.
  • Product Expertise - I actively keep customer needs in mind and leverage input from product stakeholders as available to determine the right technical solutions to deliver customer value quickly
  • Mentorship - I actively level up less-experienced members of my team by helping them with their craft, providing guidance, and setting a good example

🏆 Results


  • I deliver many of my team’s goals on time and with a high standard of quality
  • My understanding of the business context and my team’s goals enable me to have the greatest customer impact and allows me to make independent technical decisions in the face of open-ended requirements
  • I can identify when my results aren’t moving the needle for our business/team goals or serving the needs of customers in a meaningful way and work with manager to redirect my focus
  • I get work to a simple place by focusing on the heart of the problem and prioritizing the right things


  • I proactively identify new opportunities and advocate for and implement improvements to the current state of projects — potentially having broader business impact across teams or products
  • I take responsibility for any failures on my project and take action to prevent them in the future. I embrace and share the learnings from those failures
  • When I encounter barriers, I unblock myself and my team by proactively assessing and eliminating the root cause

Decision Making

  • I make informed decisions by consulting the right stakeholders and balancing details with the big picture
  • I understand the implications of my decisions and adjust my approach based on the impact and risk (e.g. choosing a more iterative approach based on the degree of uncertainty with respect to product fit, while maintaining a view of the long term arc needed to accomplish business goals).
  • I make timely decisions but don’t cut corners that would compromise my customer’s trust

🌟 Direction


  • I embrace change and adapt quickly to it
  • I’m able to navigate ambiguity and remain resilient through ups and downs


  • I am beginning to push boundaries to generate and implement ideas that aim to drive our products and tools forward
  • I set audacious goals, take risks, and share lessons learned


  • I define the technical roadmap for impactful multi-phase projects, refining it as the projects progress to deliver customer value quickly, and provide leadership for the people executing on the project
  • I define my team's priorities and secure buy-in in partnership with my manager
  • I generate excitement for my/the team's strategy

🌳 Talent

Personal Growth

  • I proactively ask for feedback from those I work with and identify ways to act upon it
  • I have self-awareness about my strengths and areas for development
  • I drive discussions with my manager about aspirational goals and seek out opportunities to learn and grow


  • I gain the trust of candidates and can represent Dropbox's mission, strategy, and culture throughout the interview process
  • I am able to represent my team’s technical challenges to potential candidates in a compelling way (e.g. 1:1 sell chats, blog posts, public speaking)

Talent Development

  • I model integrity and a high standard of excellence for my work. I leverage this to set and hold the bar for quality and best practices for my team (e.g. via code and design reviews)
  • I identify and support areas of growth for my teammates that take into account their skills, backgrounds and working styles
  • I solicit and offer honest and constructive feedback that is delivered with empathy to help others learn and grow

🌈 Culture


  • I build relationships and drive coordination across teams & disciplines, helping get to positive outcomes
  • I proactively communicate and coordinate my team’s requirements with other groups and teams in engineering
  • I am effective at working with cross-functional stakeholders to identify technical blindspots and clarify ambiguity in their ideas.
  • I avoid blame and solve the right problems, disagreeing and committing when necessary

Organizational Health

  • Working with my manager, I leverage the strengths & skills of the members of my team, and help identify talent gaps required for team success
  • I act as a partner to my manager in setting the cultural tone for the team. I support an environment where all Dropboxers are included and heard
  • I motivate others to bring their authentic selves every day and contribute to building community at Dropbox
  • I champion good virtual first practices that help my team collaborate effectively
  • I help shape the Dropbox engineering culture through my involvement with activities outside of my team (e.g. presenting tech talks, participating in Eng RFCs, creating interview questions, planning hackweek)


  • I tailor my message to my audience, presenting it clearly and concisely at the right altitude
  • I proactively share information so the right people are informed and aligned

🦉 Craft

I am expected to play a key role in setting their team’s strategy. This will typically mean independently driving complex multi-phase programs, requiring cross-team communication and coordination. I am expected to be executing against short- and mid-term goals with a high degree of autonomy. I help influence the technical strategy for my team as well as have architectural knowledge.

Process Design

  • I manage planning long-term, multi-phase programs accounting for aspects of development, release, and maintenance.
  • I ensure that I’m are not the only person capable of owning programs that I have built to guarantee long-term success.
  • I understand the pain points of my customer and I’m able to translate them into problems my team has to solve
  • I provide valuable input to Managers to ensure high impact activities are prioritized and staffed.

Managing Programs

  • I effectively partner with Product, Engineering, Design, and Product Marketing teams to define strategy and requirements for product and program execution.
  • I have proven my capacity to own and execute on multiple programs simultaneously.
  • I can translate business objectives into execution strategy, lead and successfully execute the strategy through strong collaboration and agile leadership.
  • I create functional specs, project definition docs, release plans, and roadmaps.
  • I lead and influence peers and stakeholders in identifying risks, drive change in behavior, process, technology, documentation standards and policy.
  • I effectively influence cross functional peers, product managers, and engineering to build consensus while dealing with ambiguity.
  • I develop strong partnerships with business and functional leaders to drive focus on strategic program business objectives and optimize program throughput.
  • I understand complex issues and apply simplifying frameworks to facilitate broader organizational understanding, decision-making, and action.
  • I manage project operational aspects, scope, change management, and track scheduled progress through the appropriate metrics to meet changing needs and requirements.
  • I am proficient in working with engineering teams to design, scope, and shepherd feature execution.

Technical Acumen

  • I have sound technical skills with deep domain expertise in the architecture within my area of responsibility that makes me uniquely qualified to help drive technical decisions.
  • I have deep knowledge of not only my team’s technical capabilities and limitations, but the architecture that we support, so that I can effectively reason and communicate consequences of technical decisions to engineers, TPM and other cross-functional partners.