Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

M4 Engineering Manager

I employ a robust managerial toolbox to independently lead a team of engineers delivering direct business, and customer impact

Scope Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity

  • I independently lead my team to deliver business impact through successfully driving results on projects in support of semi-annual/annual goals.
  • I am increasingly able to independently identify and tackle projects that solve open-ended, ambiguous problems that are often beyond the scope of my immediate team.

Collaborative Reach Organizational reach and extent of influence

  • I am effective at influencing outcomes across multiple teams and with cross-functional partners, often requiring conflict resolution and managing ambiguity.
  • I autonomously guide my team to the sustainable delivery of business impact through my mastery of execution and people management.

Impact Levers Organizational levers typically exercised to achieve business impact

  • I am increasingly able to achieve impact through influence, planning strategically, problem solving and effective decision making.
  • I cultivate a healthy environment of growth and support that empowers my teams to consistently deliver at a high level of impact for our business and customers.

🏆 Results


  • I identify new opportunities for my team to execute that have the most customer, org or company-wide impact
  • I refocus my team's efforts when 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 team's work
  • I am responsible for ensuring that results do not come at the expense of long term growth, retention, or psychological safety
  • My team is delivering results across multiple impactful projects while demonstrating a very high standard of execution
  • I suggest and improve how our team measures and communicates customer impact


  • I have a sense of responsibility and obligation to act on opportunities I see across my org
  • I create an environment where my teams can learn from mistakes to drive better business outcomes. I embrace and share the learnings with others
  • I unblock myself and my team by assessing, and eliminating barriers focusing on solutions, including implementing process and scale improvements
  • I respond with urgency, and drive urgency in my team to operational issues (e.g., SEVs), owning resolution within my sphere of responsibility
  • I actively seek out and eliminate sources of toil on my team to reduce the impact of KTLO and SEVs

Decision Making

  • I make informed decisions by having productive debate with the right stakeholders, seeking diverse perspectives, balancing details with the big picture, and optimizing for the company
  • I am able to leverage insights about our customers to help inform my decisions, balancing the value for the customer with other business goals
  • I am able to reach the right decision despite conflicting perspectives and act thoughtfully and decisively

Operational Excellence

  • I set team priorities, goals, expectations and key metrics 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 ensure that appropriate information is disseminated within the team
  • I build healthy partnerships with stakeholders, and teams with whom my teams have long-lived relationships
  • I support my team in maintaining their well-being and respect work/life boundaries in line with Dropbox’s virtual work practices

🌟 Direction


  • I am a calming influence on my team in times of change, and uncertainty
  • I coach my team to navigate complexity, and ambiguity


  • I champion bold, and innovative approaches for my team, and lead them to generate solutions that aim to deliver better results
  • I set audacious goals for my team, encourage them to take risks, and share lessons learned
  • I have a growth mindset and am comfortable enabling the team to experiment, learn and own the outcomes, and sharing what I learned
  • I find new and creative ways of leveraging customer insights and including customer voices to influence strategy

Strategy and Change Management

  • I communicate company and functional updates and decisions in a way that creates context, understanding, and alignment for my team
  • I am increasingly thinking about how my team fits within the broader engineering organization and I make tradeoffs that optimize for the overall organization rather than locally for my team
  • I define the strategy for my team in alignment with stakeholders, company-wide priorities, and customer needs
  • I define the roadmap to execute on that strategy and inspire my team, and cross-functional stakeholders to work toward that strategy
  • I resolve misalignments with stakeholder teams and cross-discipline partners with differing goals
  • I am independently planning for and articulating goals over increasingly longer time horizons, even in the face of material ambiguity
  • When necessary, I’m able to introduce change into the organization and guide my team accordingly

🌳 Talent

Personal Growth

  • I have self-awareness and connect with others with empathy
  • I proactively ask for feedback and work on self-development knowing my strengths, and take actions on my development areas
  • I drive discussions with my manager about aspirational goals and seek out opportunities to learn, and grow
  • I invest time in being a better manager and leader

Team Development

  • I foster the career growth of my team members by taking into account their unique skills, strengths, backgrounds and working styles and career goals through coaching, on-the-job experiences, mentoring, and internal mobility. I give opportunities to work on next-level assignments that demonstrate readiness for promotion when appropriate
  • I celebrate when a member of my team focuses on reducing toil. For example, I do this by highlighting their contributions with the rest of the team and including it favorably in their review
  • I attract and hire a diverse team across a broad range of backgrounds, experiences, locations and strengths

Hiring and Talent Development

  • I am actively involved in interviewing and assessing candidates to help us build a diverse and talented team. In addition, I ensure my team is calibrated and conducting interviews.
  • I build strong relationships with candidates and can represent Dropbox's mission, strategy, and culture throughout the interview process
  • I set clear expectations, evaluate, and manage both high and low performance with a focus on excellence and growth
  • I can guide and grow senior ICs, helping them advance their careers by finding highly-leveraged roles for them within the organization, not just my team

Organizational Design

  • I structure my team so the right people are in the right roles with clearly defined responsibilities. I independently ensure projects are staffed appropriately to set them up for success, placing my strongest technical leaders where they are the most needed and impactful
  • I create equitable growth opportunities and delegate appropriately for everyone on my team
  • I can independently plan for the headcount and recruiting needs of my team

🌈 Culture


  • I help break down silos within and across functions and influence others to reach the best outcome for Dropbox, regardless of my level/title
  • I build deep cross-functional relationships, facilitate the right conversations, balancing multiple perspectives, and engage in productive conflict with thoughtful questioning/challenging, disagreeing and committing when necessary to move decisions forward

Organizational Health

  • I enable others to bring their authentic selves everyday and contribute to building community at Dropbox
  • I remove barriers to inclusion for my team and ensure diverse perspectives are considered and included
  • 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 ensure diverse perspectives are included, leveraging inclusive meeting practices
  • I practice the Dropbox Diversity Commitments on a regular basis


  • I communicate with clarity, brevity, focus, and tailor my message to my audience
  • I proactively share information so the relevant stakeholders are informed and aligned
  • I hold crucial conversations even when they feel uncomfortable, and I listen to and seek to understand others
  • I champion my team and team members with others at Dropbox, including leadership

Culture Leader

  • I create an environment of psychological safety where all Dropboxers are included and heard to support connection, empathy, and productive conflict where dissenting opinions are valued and addressed
  • I hold team members accountable to actions that uphold Dropbox core values and support our engineering community
  • I help my team network and build relationships across Dropbox, creating connection and inclusion across my team and with other teams

🦉 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.

Architecture Design

  • I establish processes for rolling out a component or major feature (and deprecating an existing system or feature) reliably
  • I discourage introducing toil and future maintenace work by reviewing potential scaling issues and requiring adequate documentation.
  • I require and monitor clear success and learning metrics consistently post-launch through the lifetime of the system or feature.
  • I’m capable of reviewing the overall health and engineering quality of a system or collection of features - including requiring regular health reviews, test strategy and ensuring that the health and maintenance of my team's systems

Technical Strategy

  • I hold my team accountable for alignment of the software and systems in my area to overall technical strategy, making tradeoffs where appropriate in consultation with staff engineers

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