Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

IC5 Staff Technical Program Manager

I execute onlarge programs with a multi-team technical strategy to a standard of quality well exceeding that of the current system

Scope Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity

  • I deliver multi-year, multi-team product or platform goals
  • I exhibit a very high standard of technical judgement, innovation and execution to tackle open-ended problems that require difficult prioritization, defining both the what and how of things to be done

Collaborative Reach Organizational reach and extent of influence

  • I am increasingly influencing the roadmaps of other Dropbox teams to achieve business impacting goals.
  • I exercise judgement that favors the priorities of the wider engineering org rather than favoring locally optimal outcomes

Impact Levers Technical levers typically exercised to achieve business impact

  • Domain Expertise - I demonstrate a high level of depth in a particular platform or product category that brings unique business value.
  • Technical Strategy - I excel at defining the vision for and delivering large business-impacting projects with multiple constraints
  • Product Expertise - I increasingly influence or make product decisions/scope and determine the right technical tradeoffs to deliver customer value quickly.
  • Mentorship - I serve as a role model for other Dropbox engineers

🏆 Results


  • I identify and execute on opportunities that have area/group-wide impact
  • I execute large projects to a very high standard — e.g. against a tight deadline with significant consequences of failure, or in a manner that allows rapid learning to clarify significant ambiguity, or to a standard of quality well exceeding that of the current system (though not all simultaneously)
  • I know which levers to pull to drive meaningful results and understand the wider, cross-functional implications of my work. I proactively account for risks and monitor their likelihood. My project planning accounts for new capabilities necessary to deliver large-scale business impact and I work closely with partner teams to prioritize the development of these capabilities.
  • I proactively identify and help to refocus my team's efforts when projects are off-course or not technically feasible and results aren’t moving the needle for our business/team goals or serving the needs of customers in a meaningful way


  • I have a sense of responsibility and obligation to act on opportunities I see across the engineering org/company

Decision Making

  • I have a holistic view of the engineering org and Dropbox’s goals and use my experience and judgment to make decisions optimized for the wider org, rather than my local project alone
  • I act thoughtfully and decisively in critical situations even when making challenging or unpopular decisions
  • I'm able to reach the right decision despite conflicting perspectives

🌟 Direction


  • When necessary, I am able to introduce change into the organization, help others understand the business case for change, and create excitement to drive adoption of the change


  • I push boundaries to generate and implement breakthrough ideas that aim to create new products or advance existing products and drive our tools forward
  • I create an environment supporting experimentation and iteration towards audacious goals.


  • I define a long-term vision for my team that factors in company-wide priorities as well as the technical limitations and possibilities of Dropbox’s software and systems. I inspire my team and cross-discipline stakeholders to work toward that vision
  • I anticipate challenges and am able to influence the technical direction of the team or org to execute on that vision even in the face of potential significant misalignment

🌳 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 am an active participant in the hiring process for senior candidates (for example, by participating in hiring committee, debriefs, etc.)
  • I gain the trust of candidates and can represent Dropbox's mission, strategy, and culture throughout the interview process
  • I am an effective partner to my manager and am able to represent my team’s technical challenges to candidates in an exciting way (e.g. 1:1 sell chats, blog posts, public speaking)

Talent Development

  • I am a role model for other Dropboxers and model a standard of excellence that supports a culture of high performance on my team
  • I invest time to coach and mentor my teammates (particularly ones looking to grow into L4/L5). I take into account their skills, backgrounds, working styles and solicit and provide thoughtful, constructive feedback to them.
  • I devote time to spreading my knowledge widely via talks, blog posts or written documentation
  • I participate in SPRiTEs calibration sessions by providing meaningful feedback to ensure fair and consistent decisions

🌈 Culture


  • I help break down silos within and across functions and influence others to reach the best outcome for Dropbox
  • I build deep cross-functional relationships, facilitate the right conversations, and settle disagreements by managing different viewpoints
  • I disagree and commit when necessary to move critical priorities forward

Organizational Health

  • I act as a partner to managers in setting the cultural tone for the team. I create an inclusive environment for others and ensure diverse perspectives are included
  • 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 personify Dropbox's culture and values. I champion community building efforts and inclusion initiatives. I work in close partnership with the management team to ensure a healthy engineering org.
  • I lead by example. I am aware of my public presence and actions and my influence on the people around me and Dropbox’s culture


  • I tailor my message to my audience, presenting it clearly and concisely at the right altitude
  • I fine tune my approach to getting buy-in and influencing stakeholders across a variety of audiences

🦉 Craft

I have achieved a broad mastery of my craft, and typically have developed a specific expertise of some kind that enables me to increase my leverage. I apply my mastery and leadership to own and deliver programs that are often risky, require novel solutions, and span EPD and functions, while continuing to do my fair share of the hands-on work required for programs to succeed. My expertise often spans multiple domains or functions and I am highly leveraged in the organization. I am versatile, and am able to apply my technical and problem solving skills to diverse problems.

Process Design

  • I own and am accountable for multi-quarter objectives for my team or org and responsible for the success of those efforts
  • I execute these large programs at a very high level, e.g. to a standard of quality well exceeding that of the current system, a tight deadline with significant consequences of failure, or in a manner that allows rapid learning to drive out significant ambiguity (though not all simultaneously)
  • I build simple, well-designed programs that take into account the architecture and systems in my area. The programs I create are easily adapted without accruing additional complexity over time
  • I am able to proactively introduce new group or org wide processes that anticipate and prevent future problems when necessary

Managing Programs

  • I own planning for long-term, multi-phase programs accounting for all aspects of development, release, and maintenance.
  • I understand many of my team’s cross-functional dependencies deeply and can effectively communicate about them to individuals on my team and others.
  • I accurately anticipate long-term consequences and make prudent decisions.
  • I make tough calls to reprioritize or recommend ending or course-correcting projects as new information comes in
  • I am aware of the dangers of over-influencing decisions because of my title or standing
  • I take an active role in defining and evaluating long-term goals for my group
  • I may initiate and/or own larger org-wide initiatives (introducing best practices, etc.)
  • I understand the pain points of my customer and am 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.

Technical Acumen

  • I am proficient at executing on open-ended problems that require difficult prioritization and technical innovation to meet user and business needs.
  • I have a proven set of technical skills and development methodologies, and apply them with a sophisticated approach that is best suited for each project.