Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

IC6 Principal Technical Program Manager

I deliver results against a strategic company-level business objective or key component of the EPD mission

Scope Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity

  • I own and deliver org/company-wide multi-year, multi-team goals
  • I take a multi-year, industry-leading perspective, ensuring that our products adapt to scale, usage, and/or business needs well beyond Dropbox’s current scope.

Collaborative Reach Organizational reach and extent of influence

  • I typically influence the technical strategy of a group. I am often partnering closely with Directors/senior EPD leadership to ensure the health of EPD as a whole and influence the overall direction of EPD
  • I transcend organizational boundaries and proactively identify the best ways to leverage myself.

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 align the technical strategy for several projects in my group to broader initiatives across EPD
  • Product Expertise - I consistently influence product decisions/scope and determine the right technical tradeoffs to deliver customer value quickly with high quality.
  • Innovation - I partner with cross-functional stakeholders to identify major new business opportunities unlocked by technical capabilities.

🏆 Results


  • I identify and execute on significant group/company-wide opportunities by understanding how technical capabilities meet customer needs. I proactively work with business owners to help them understand these new capabilities and work with them to build the right roadmap for the business.
  • 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 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 know which levers to pull to drive meaningful results and understand the wider, cross-functional implications of my work


  • I have a sense of responsibility and obligation to act on opportunities I see across the engineering org/company
  • I transcend organizational boundaries by taking a holistic view of my group’s goals and taking responsibility across my group, not just within my immediate scope of ownership.

Decision Making

  • 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 drive our products and tools forward
  • I demonstrate creativity, e.g. by finding simple, generalizable solutions that open up or unblock new technical or business opportunities in unexpected ways.
  • I create an environment supporting experimentation and iteration


  • I partner with Directors and other members of senior EPD leadership to define a long-term vision for my group that factors in both a deep understanding of what is happening in the business and in the market as well as the technical limitations and possibilities of Dropbox’s software and systems.
  • 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 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 attract talent for a variety of roles with diversity in mind
  • 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 selling, blog posts, public speaking)

Talent Development

  • I model a standard of excellence that supports a culture of high performance on my team. I drive EPD-wide processes and define the bar for engineering-wide quality and best practices.
  • I invest time to coach and mentor my teammates (particularly ones looking to grow into L5/L6). 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 org. 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 senior EPD leadership 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 develop compelling messages and effectively present them at the executive level
  • I fine tune my approach to getting buy-in and influencing stakeholders across a variety of audiences

🦉 Craft

Like a Staff TPM, I have a well-rounded set of technical skills and development methodologies, and apply them with a sophisticated approach that is best suited for each project. I design systems that are far from my previous experience, anticipating scale and scope beyond the current requirements at Dropbox or in areas otherwise unexplored. I make or participate in discussions around making sweeping development execution choices that lack clearly correct answers, but am able to articulate the rationale and technical vision behind those choices. I partner with cross-functional stakeholders to identify major new business opportunities unlocked by technical capabilities.

Process Design

  • I work with executives and leaders from Product, Product Marketing, Growth, Legal, CX and other business and go-to market functions to execute programs and initiatives with a direct linkage to our Company strategies (innovation, growth, and scale).
  • I collaborate with leadership from Product and Go-to-Market to ensure appropriate alignment with and support for Company goals and objectives and vice versa.
  • I bring structure to managing the full lifecycle of complex programs from requirements gathering and program definition, to design and implementation, and to operational excellence.
  • I improve alignment and execution from company strategy to program, design and execution.
  • I manage leads planning and delivery of key programs, which engage a wide cross-section of internal and external constituent groups.
  • I implement structure to sometimes ambiguous visions and craft programs to bring them to life.

Managing Programs

  • I am responsible for executing on some the most complex, cross-functional projects for Dropbox.
  • I partner closely with Senior Leadership to decompose corporate strategies into execution-ready programs as well as initiatives, then drive cross-functional execution teams to deliver on those objectives..
  • I drive several company-wides, cross-geo programs at a time, ensuring clear, proactive communication and follow-up with partners to meet deadlines.
  • I facilitate cross-company collaboration to tackle our biggest problems with a whole-company motion.
  • I set-up appropriate communications infrastructure for program execution and executive-level engagement.
  • I identify and track key milestones from program inception to program retrospective; anticipate areas of risk and proactively mitigate them.
  • I cultivate a culture of openness and transparency to increase the likelihood of program success.
  • I lead by influence rather than authority to build trust across the organization.
  • I positively impact the effectiveness and efficiency of program team members by sharing your experiences and contributing to the continuous improvement of our methodology.

Technical Acumen

  • I am an expert at executing on open-ended problems that require difficult prioritization and technical innovation to meet user and business needs.
  • I have a well-rounded set of technical skills and development methodologies, and apply them with a sophisticated approach that is best suited for each project.
  • I either have a wide breadth of technical knowledge across multiple domains, or particularly strong depth of technical knowledge in my chosen domain.
  • I proactively address potential technical, product or other obstacles and concerns with my team and leadership