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Engagement manager

Find out what a engagement manager does and the skills
you need to do the job.

Updated: May 9, 2022

Introduction to the role of engagement manager

Engagement managers are the primary interface between the delivery team and the client. You have a strong passion for leading teams to deliver world-class customer outcomes within a government context. Your role is to ensure the engagement is running smoothly and to support both internal/external engagement needs. You’re vital to setting up teams for success by removing obstacles, coaching them on how to become more collaborative, and enabling the work they do.

Below you’ll find the full list of skills for becoming an engagement manager at Skylight and a description of the skills required for each level. These descriptions offer insight into the scope of work someone at each level should be capable of doing on a consistent basis. We use these role descriptions both as a guide during the hiring process and as a springboard for discussing career progression at Skylight.

Required skills

Agile project and program management

You understand agile project management in a government context and can manage a program of work holistically. You have strong organizational skills and attention to detail. You have the ability to manage change effectively and take a modern, flexible approach to project management.

Client relationship management

You understand the client’s needs and have the ability to build long-lasting, meaningful relationships with clients.

Business development

You have experience bringing in new work and finding the right opportunities. You may also help with contract development, contract renewal, and client strategy. You apply your skills to help Skylight grow our business.

Team health

You’re skilled at building successful delivery teams that are iterative, collaborative, and transparent. You ensure that your teams are operating in a healthy way, facilitate conflict resolution, and ultimately accelerate better team performance. You prioritize the human element of working together with both internal and external teammates.

Staffing

You ensure each project is staffed with the necessary people and capacity. You’re able to provide input and guidance around the staffing process for your engagement. You also actively participate in recruitment and retention activities.

Compliance

You ensure the team is compliant with the contract terms and conditions, which includes coordinating with the appropriate experts to ensure all aspects of the engagement comply with applicable security, privacy, and procurement regulations, policies, and best practices.

Engagement manageer career pathway

Associate engagement manager

  1. Associate
  2. I not completed
  3. II not completed
  4. Senior not completed
  5. Staff not completed
  6. Principal not completed

As a trainee in an entry-level role, you’ll be working with a more experienced engagement manager. You’ll need to have an understanding of the role and show potential, although you’ll need guidance and training to successfully enable teams and manage the client relationship.

Skills needed for this level

Agile project and program management

You’re familiar with the lifecycle of a typical Skylight project engagement. You’ve helped lead client-facing activities and have proven planning and organizational skills.

Client relationship management

You’ve demonstrated skills in team-building and relationship-building. You’re able to work together with another team lead to manage the stakeholders and report on team status and team health.

Business development

You support your team and leadership in planning for growth. You’re aware of new opportunities within client engagement and understand how an engagement fits into the larger picture. You evangelize Skylight’s mission and brand to people outside of your team.

Team health

You collaborate closely with teammates on the engagement and get in the weeds when necessary. You work with another team lead to measure team health and support implementing team improvements.

Staffing

You have a high-level understanding of all the different roles on a team and how they all work together to deliver client outcomes. You understand the scope of work on your engagement and any important timelines.

Compliance

You have familiarity with the contract and any additional context to make sure that Skylight runs a smooth engagement. You’re proactive about asking questions about terms you don’t understand and get clarity for the team around policy.

Engagement manager I

  1. Associate completed
  2. I
  3. II not completed
  4. Senior not completed
  5. Staff not completed
  6. Principal not completed

An engagement manager I is overseeing no more than one client engagement. At this level, you’ll be expected to:

  • Have experience working as a practitioner on client teams but still learning best practices on managing an engagement
  • Work in combination with a more senior engagement manager

Skills needed for this level

Agile project and program management

You pursue best practices when it comes to managing project strategy, such as ensuring the team has a roadmap, objectives , dependencies, risks, and milestones. You enforce that the team is delivering work on time and meeting stated requirements. You provide leadership with team-level visibility into the status and health of the engagement.

Client relationship management

You can articulate and defend your opinions with a client. You’re aware of stakeholder needs and client initiatives.

Business development

You continuously drive improvement within teams to increase the customer experience. You drive further adoption of Skylight delivery practices. You work alongside another team lead to grow the Skylight business within the context of your engagement. You showcase Skylight’s abilities by writing case studies, blog posts, proposals, white papers, etc.

Team health

You ask for feedback from the client and facilitate feedback loops on the team, so that the team can continuously improve. You build trust with teammates and facilitate trust-building activities amongst the team and client. You set boundaries when necessary and model good behavior.

Staffing

You understand the importance of multi-disciplinary and diverse teams. You can explain the value of each discipline to the client.

Compliance

You’re very familiar with all Skylight policies and how we typically comply with government contracts. You work together with another team lead to provide necessary guidance to team members on what they can and can’t do within the realm of the contract.

Engagement manager II

  1. Associate completed
  2. I completed
  3. II
  4. Senior not completed
  5. Staff not completed
  6. Principal not completed

An engagement manager II is usually overseeing 1–2 client engagements. At this level, you’ll be expected to work independently to manage the client relationship and enable successful practitioners. At this level, you’ll be expected to:

  • Get into the weeds when necessary to move the team forward
  • Have a track record leading client-facing teams

Skills needed for this level

Agile project and program management

You’re comfortable managing multiple projects simultaneously and can effectively handle context-switching and time management. You can build strategy around a program of work. You regularly meet with client stakeholders and understand their unique needs. You’re able to guide decisions around prioritization with both the team members and the client stakeholders.

Client relationship management

You’ve demonstrated the ability to gather client information to make an engagement successful. You’re able to convince or educate stakeholders on various topics. You could run an engagement with little support from Skylight leadership or anyone else. You provide timely and effective updates to stakeholders to convey team progress.

Business development

You have the ability to find, support, and prioritize impactful opportunities for Skylight that match Skylight’s value proposition. You help Skylight compete by evaluating and analyzing similar companies in the government space. You understand Skylight’s growth operations and keep our pipeline and supporting business development systems up to date. You nurture Skylight’s existing partnerships.

Team health

You run health checks at a regular cadence in order to evaluate how the team is doing. You surface wins, conflicts, and risks, and escalate the appropriate level of detail to Skylight leadership. You facilitate sharing of lessons learned across project teams. You conduct retrospectives with both the Skylight and the client to learn what is and isn’t working well, and formulate and implement improvement actions.

Staffing

When new work arises, you’re able to assess the scope of work, what types of roles are needed, and how many people are needed to deliver on the stated outcomes. You work together with the client to develop a staffing plan and internally with the Skylight leadership team to staff the right people. You help facilitate roles and responsibilities with the team, so that everyone is aligned on who’ll be doing what.

Compliance

You provide instructions to your team on T&E. You review and approve travel requests and make sure the client has approved upcoming travel. You work with Skylight leaders and people managers to ensure client billing, expenses, and vacation are accurate for members on your team. You prepare for any team outages and develop an action plan to make sure that there’s no gap in delivery.

Senior engagement manager

  1. Associate completed
  2. I completed
  3. II completed
  4. Senior
  5. Staff not completed
  6. Principal not completed

A senior engagement manager has experience successfully overseeing more than two different client engagements and has managed multiple engagements at once. At this level, you’re comfortable managing complex customer challenges in extremely ambiguous environments. You’ll be expected to:

  • Remove obstacles for practitioners on the team
  • Develop deep client partnerships
  • Plan high level engagement strategy

Skills needed for this level

Agile project and program management

You’re able to support multiple large-scale products, working closely with the team and client stakeholders to develop action plans. You help the team deliver successful outcomes under tight time constraints and ambiguous requirements. You set the pace of the engagement and implement repeatable processes to ensure successful delivery. You follow agile practices and help the client understand modern agile practices as well.

Client relationship management

You’re an expert at establishing relationships with clients and stakeholders and have done so on multiple different engagements. You’ve demonstrated the ability to educate and lead clients to a solution. You know how to create consensus. You play a crucial role in maintaining the client relationship. You could manage the entire client relationship without any support from Skylight leadership.

Business development

You understand the art of balancing Skylight’s business needs while also being able to keep teams happy and healthy. You have experience researching, analyzing, and contributing to government procurement opportunities (RFPs, RFIs, etc.). You help improve Skylight’s brand in the marketplace through activities such as networking, implementing social media strategy, and developing key brand assets. You’ve brought in new project work with an existing client.

Team health

You understand different team styles and how people work together. You can maintain, influence, and motivate a group of diverse teams with different needs and challenges. You know how to help teams maintain a focus on delivery while also having fun together. You think outside the box when it comes to creating a unique team culture that also complements the existing client culture.

Staffing

You’re able to assemble a multi-disciplinary team of experts from a variety of sources, including Skylight and other subcontractors, to deliver the engagement. You understand how Skylight employees work together, facilitating the best team make-up depending on the situation. You regularly participate in interviews and other recruiting activities. You can forecast staffing needs in advance in order to hire staff in a timely manner.

Compliance

You understand the different types of government contracts and the implications of different contract setups. You ensure internal compliance with multiple contract terms & conditions. You conduct internal team compliance such as facilitating travel reimbursements and supporting the invoicing process. You monitor utilization and timekeeping to make sure your team is on track. You understand cost versus value and can make decisions on tradeoffs.

Staff engagement manager

  1. Associate completed
  2. I completed
  3. II completed
  4. Senior completed
  5. Staff
  6. Principal not completed

A staff engagement manager is at an expert level. You have experience overseeing more than five client engagements across multiple industry domains. At this level, you’ll be expected to:

  • Bring in new client work
  • Develop and empower digital civic tech practitioners
  • Consult with client leadership to develop program-level strategy

Skills needed for this level

Agile project and program management

You’re able to manage multiple projects aimed at delivering transformation. You break down barriers to make sure the team is successful. You have numerous tools to organize a portfolio of work and apply the tools most appropriate for the particular portfolio. You have multiple examples of engagements where you’ve delivered impactful results in collaboration with the team and customer.

Client relationship management

You serve as a role model for creating alignment amongst the team and the client. You’re seen as a trusted advisor to more than three clients and are always approachable. You’re an expert negotiator. You can anticipate client issues and solve them based on the unique situation. You advise clients on the development of program-level practice strategies for larger, transformational clients.

Business development

Multiple Skylight engagements can be attributed to your work securing and participating in business development opportunities. You help Skylight stay up to date on new programs and policies that affect our delivery landscape. You’ve led multiple strategic business development activities resulting in Skylight securing new work with new clients.

Team health

You have a proven track record of coaching teams on how to become more collaborative and self-organizing. You enable your teams to find the right solution rather than imposing how it’s done. You’re exceptional at identifying strengths of team members and putting those strengths to good use. You’re able to build momentum and help individuals on the team grow without distracting them from client work.

Staffing

You partner with Skylight leadership and the recruiting team on building the hiring pipeline. You help shape Skylight’s interview process based on your engagement expertise. You work to continuously improve the candidate experience when going through the hiring and onboarding process. You participate in leadership planning to devise strategy around headcount. You work with the client to help them understand the right staffing model, especially when we don’t agree with the staff that they’ve requested.

Compliance

You understand the art of staying compliant and being flexible to deliver what a client needs within the bounds of the contract. You know what level of monitoring is required for each engagement in order to stay on track. You’re comfortable updating the financials of the engagement at a regular cadence. You’ve developed automated processes to ensure we’re fulfilling contract needs.

Principal engagement manager

  1. Associate completed
  2. I completed
  3. II completed
  4. Senior completed
  5. Staff completed
  6. Principal

A Principal engagement manager has at least 10 years of experience leading client engagements. You’ll have proven success establishing new programs of work within the government space. You’ve set the standard for exceptional client engagements and have accelerated transformation through high-impact client activities. At this level, you’ll be expected to:

  • Serve as an industry leader within the civic tech and professional services
  • Represent Skylight at a leadership level by continuously improving our delivery culture
  • Influence engagement management best practices both internally at Skylight and externally with clients and partners

Skills needed for this level

Agile project and program management

You have deep subject matter expertise around managing various types of government engagement. You’ve created your own agile framework for project or program management that’s being used by others. You’re able to project manage or program manage any type of team at any level within an organization and guide them to success.

Client relationship management

You’re a spokesperson that can represent Skylight in any client matter. You’re highly visible and have established relationships with leadership groups within the client organization. You serve as a coach to others to help build their client relationship skills.

Business development

You’re an expert at expanding a company’s presence specifically in the government space. You’ve built trust and credibility over multiple years with key industry leaders in the private and public tech sector. You have a proven track record and a systemized approach to scaling and growing professional services organizations.

Team health

You’re a thought leader in the industry who helps define what “good” team culture looks like. People from a variety of industries consult you on how to strengthen team culture. You’re able to transform team culture at the organizational level and articulate how culture changes over time.

Staffing

You’re an expert in People Operations and Talent Management. You have years of experience delivering work, managing engagements, and building talent pipelines. You create and implement policy at the organizational level that improves the overall employee experience.

Compliance

You’re a government contract expert that’s able to provide guidance on any of Skylight’s engagements. You’ve influenced how clients structure contracts and procurement strategy based on your engagement expertise. You build organizational-level compliance practices that can be adopted both internally and externally.

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