Engineering managers are builders at heart. Their teams are protecting our community, creating the future of AR/VR experiences, and revolutionizing the way people connect, communicate, and collaborate at work. In our series, ‘Behind the Scenes with an Engineering Manager,’ we’ll introduce you to inspiring Facebook team members and give you an inside look at the work they’re doing and the impact their teams are having around the world.
Meet Apoorva J., an engineering manager on the Workplace team in London.
Apoorva visiting Casino de Monte-Carlo in 2019
Empowering a fast-growing team
Over the past two decades, Apoorva spent most of his career working at tech startups, even co-founding his own company in India. He says, “In many ways, Workplace feels like a startup within the Facebook company. It’s the first big investment for Facebook in the enterprise product space, and we’ve put a lot of muscle behind it. We have ambitious goals to scale, and as we do we have to determine how to evolve the product. We’re constantly innovating.”
As a collaboration tool used by companies and organizations around the world, Workplace’s mission is to bring the power of community to everyone at work. “I’m constantly thinking about what features to build, how to approach problems, and how to define our purpose and objectives as a team,” Apoorva says. “Ensuring that our tech strategy is aligned and scalable with the product vision is also a priority. I’m keen to go deep into design if I get the opportunity, but what I really enjoy is a lot of ideation and brainstorming on the tech and product front.”
He continues, “It’s tough to describe a typical day, but it really comes down to defining the mission and empowering the team. Mentoring, coaching, and regular 1:1s with people on my team is what I spend the majority of my time on.
“I see my role as a facilitator, who can help unblock tough problems and provide tactical and strategic direction.””
With Workplace growing rapidly, hiring is also a big focus for Apoorva. Last year, Workplace nearly doubled its team.
Furthering Workplace’s mission and building solutions
Apoorva currently supports three teams: the Mobile team which focuses on a set of mobile-first initiatives, the Billing and Monetization team which packages different tiers of the Workplace product for customers, and a third team dedicated to simplifying the tech architecture behind Workplace. “Typically an engineering manager would support one team, but we’re scaling so quickly that we’re supporting more initiatives than usual,” Apoorva says.
Cross-functional work is crucial to tackling some of Workplace’s biggest challenges. Apoorva recalls a rewarding initiative he helped support over the past year: "When I first started at Facebook, a big theme for us was figuring out how to get people to adopt Workplace as a tool within their organization. We realized that given the architecture of the platform itself, it was a challenge for companies to adopt it. The product had evolved and it had various entry points for different role types and sizes of companies; we wanted to make it easier and simpler for folks to use Workplace. This shift required significant architectural change. We had several engineers across teams working on this initiative - learning about the people who use it and making adjustments based on how people use the product now, and how they'll use it moving forward. These changes have begun rolling out and we're excited to see how the position impacts. Ensuring seamless integration and adoption by businesses will help us further our mission of building community within work environments.”
Apoorva adds that packaging and billing initiatives he’s supported have also had a big impact for the Workplace team. “With these tools in place, we’re able to more effectively package Workplace. We can offer different packages to our customers and they can figure out what’s best for their needs. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Apoorva with a friend in Facebook London
Driving impact in the heart of London
Apoorva relocated to Facebook’s London office from India. He says London’s position as Facebook’s fastest-growing tech center outside of the United States was a big draw. “There’s sometimes a misconception from candidates I speak with that London is just a remote office for Facebook and all the impactful product work is happening in Menlo Park. That’s just not true. Our entire Workplace group is based in the London office, including leadership, product, tech, customer support, sales and more. As a result, decision-making, ideation, and reviews for Workplace are all local and fast-moving. WhatsApp, Ads, Integrity, and other Facebook organisations have big teams here as well.”
Apoorva adds that London’s location in the heart of Europe was also appealing. “A huge motivation to move to a new city was my love for travel. My family and I have the luxury to take off for the weekend and explore small towns all over Europe.” He appreciates Facebook’s focus on work-life flexibility. “I’ve found a wonderful balance where I can work hard and make time to do what I love with my family. Every engineer here can choose what level of responsibility they want to have.”
Apoorva enjoying a Facebook summer party!
Reflecting on his time at Facebook so far, Apoorva says, “Over just the past year-and-a-half, we’ve solved a countless number of challenges. Very few companies can present problems to solve at the scale Facebook does. That’s really exciting to me and anyone who loves to build.”
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