Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

M3 Engineering Manager

I guide a team of ICs to deliver business, and customer impact with support from my manager

Scope Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity

  • I lead the activities of my team, with guidance from my manager, towards execution on well-defined projects in support of quarterly goals.

Collaborative Reach Organizational reach and extent of influence

  • I work primarily with my direct team and cross-functional partners (eg. product, design, QA).

Impact Levers Organizational levers typically exercised to achieve business impact

  • I empower and unblock my team to deliver impact by establishing efficient processes and operational cadences, leveraging appropriate asynchronous and synchronous methods, and holding my team accountable while cultivating a healthy team environment.

🏆 Results


  • I act with a bias for action, and lead my team to deliver high-quality work that will add the most value for our business and customers
  • I redirect my team's focus if our results aren’t moving the needle for our business/team goals or serving the needs of customers in a meaningful way
  • I get work to a simple place by focusing on the heart of the problem, prioritizing the right things, and minimizing unnecessary work
  • I am responsible for ensuring that results do not come at the expense of long term growth, retention, or psychological safety
  • I am ultimately accountable for the consequences of my team’s technical decisions, and for achieving the right architecture and tradeoffs to reach and maintain high engineering throughput.


  • I proactively follow through on my commitments and take responsibility for my work, and the work of my team
  • I think a step or two ahead, and help my team solve the right problems before they become bigger problems
  • I take accountability for my and my team's decisions, mistakes and help my team learn from them to prevent them in the future. I embrace and share the learnings with others
  • I escalate appropriately to ensure the team is unblocked, and help them learn how to unblock themselves
  • I involve my team in the discussion of “what to build” and not just the “how to build”, creating a sense of ownership for the end results.

Decision Making

  • I identify and gather input and customer insights from others to make informed decisions, balancing value for the customer with other business goals
  • I make timely decisions and don’t cut corners that would compromise my customer’s trust
  • I understand the implications of decisions and adjust my approach based on the impact and risk
  • I escalate appropriately when I need help with a decision about my team's deliverables or priorities

Operational Excellence

  • I set team priorities, goals, and expectations at the right altitude and hold my team accountable for progress against them
  • I run efficient processes and operational cadences, leveraging appropriate asynchronous and synchronous methods, to get to the right outcomes
  • I build healthy partnerships with stakeholders and teams with whom my team has long-lived relationships
  • I am learning about how to best support my team in maintaining their well-being and respect work/life boundaries in line with Dropbox’s virtual work practices

🌟 Direction


  • I embrace change and am enthusiastic about new initiatives
  • I help my team navigate ambiguity and remain resilient through change, by staying calm under pressure and taking care of my/my team's overall well-being
  • I navigate ambiguity by focusing on the greater purpose, goals, and desired impact to move forward one step at a time


  • I have a growth mindset and a pursue ideas that challenge conventional approaches while seeking opportunities for improvement
  • I encourage my team to have a growth mindset and experiment with new approaches and help them learn from failures, and own the outcomes
  • I find new ways of utilizing customer feedback to influence my teams' plans

Strategy and Change Management

  • I define my team's priorities and secure buy-in from partner teams with the help of my manager
  • I strategically prioritize between running the business (KTLO), foundation, and new initiatives to optimize for execution over the long-term
  • I generate excitement for my/the team's strategy

🌳 Talent

Personal Growth

  • I have self awareness, and empathetically connect with others
  • I proactively work on self development knowing my strengths, and seeking new feedback
  • I drive discussions with my manager about aspirational goals and seek out opportunities to learn, and grow
  • I connect with others with empathy and understanding
  • I invest time and seek out opportunities to learn and grow into a better manager and leader (e.g., PGP, Dropbox-offered training, leveraging perks allowance etc.)

Team Development

  • I foster the career growth of my team by seeking challenging, impactful work for all members of my team based on their unique skills, strengths, backgrounds and working styles. I give opportunities to work on next-level assignments that demonstrate readiness for promotion when appropriate
  • I provide timely, direct and actionable feedback and coaching to my team in an empathetic manner, to drive high performance and career growth
  • I celebrate and reward the variety of contributions expected of engineers, not just high-profile projects, but also reducing toil and improving team cohesion

Hiring and Talent Development

  • I attract and hire across a broad range of backgrounds, experiences, locations and strengths
  • I actively work to engage and retain Dropboxers and establish the right mix of talent and experience on my team
  • I set clear expectations and address performance issues with support from my manager

Organizational Design

  • I am learning how to think about the talent on my team strategically: how to create equitable growth opportunities for team members while addressing gaps and risks through recruiting, training, internal mobility, and performance management
  • I structure my team so the right people are in the right roles with clearly defined responsibilities, and expectations. In consultation with my manager, I ensure projects are staffed appropriately to set them up for success, placing my strongest technical leaders where they are the most needed and impactful

🌈 Culture


  • I promote and role model Dropbox core values, leading by example
  • I build relationships across teams and help them get to win-win outcomes
  • I engage in productive conflict with thoughtful questioning and have the courage to state my point of view
  • I avoid blame and solve the right problems, disagreeing and committing when necessary to move decisions forward
  • I manage conflict with empathy in mind

Organizational Health

  • I listen to different perspectives and I remove biases from my words and actions
  • I help foster effective communication across my team and promote inclusive meeting culture
  • I create an inclusive environment for my team where it’s safe to speak up
  • I practice the Dropbox Diversity Commitments on a regular basis
  • I champion good Virtual First practices that help my team collaborate effectively
  • When I become aware of any lapse in my team’s culture, I communicate and follow through on plans to correct and prevent recurrence of the lapse
  • I am aware of my public presence and actions and their influence on the people around me and Dropbox’s culture
  • I help shape the Dropbox engineering culture through my involvement with activities outside of my team


  • I communicate with clarity, brevity, and tailor my message to my audience
  • I proactively share information so the relevant stakeholders are informed and aligned
  • I champion my team, and team members with others at Dropbox, including leadership
  • If there is a significant issue not being addressed, I initiate a crucial conversation even when uncomfortable

Culture Leader

  • I create an environment of psychological safety to support connection, empathy, and healthy conflict with support from my manager
  • I hold team members accountable to actions that uphold Dropbox core values and support our engineering community

🦉 Craft

Software Design

  • I am able to give quality feedback on designs written by other members of my team, asking probing, insightful questions that solidify choices and surface erroneous assumptions
  • I encourage ways to simplify systems. I prioritize work that will lead to lower maintenance and costs with meaningful and measurable impact.
  • I preemptively identify technical risks before they jeopardize the project.
  • I resolve cross-team dependencies earlier to ensure the successful execution of the project.
  • I discourage re-inventing the wheel by leveraging other Dropbox solutions or off-the-shelf solutions with the possible trade-off in mind.

Business Acumen

  • I engage in listening sessions (All Hands, Quarterly Business Updates, etc.) to increase my learning and guide my work/priorities
  • I have a working knowledge of Dropbox’s org/team structure and how teams work together across Dropbox, and able to independently work with partner engineering teams to unblock code reviews, and engineering designs