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Episode 3

Engineering Leadership in the age of AI : Manas Patil

Manas shares insights on AI's impact on engineering and leadership, highlighting the shift towards innovation and the role of communication and trust in team dynamics.


Manas Patil
Head of Engineering - Loopr AI

Manas P., carries 15+ years in software engineering and product management, leads Loopr AI's engineering team. He has previously worked with British telecom. Bajaj finserv, Big Basket and more.

Hello, everyone! I'm sharing some insights reflecting on how AI technologies like GPT and CoPilot are reshaping the engineering domain and, more critically, the role of leadership within it.

How has engineering changed in the age of AI?
Firstly, it's undeniable that engineering today is not what it was a decade ago. The advent of AI has fundamentally altered how we approach development, prioritizing architecture and design over mere coding. The role of an engineer has evolved from writing lines of code to crafting scalable, adaptable architectures. This shift highlights a move towards a more strategic, big-picture approach in engineering tasks, where coding becomes a tool, facilitated by AI, to bring these designs to life.

Does leadership change with technological advances?
Despite these technological advancements, the essence of leadership remains unchanged. It still revolves around the soft skills – the ability to inspire, guide, and nurture teams towards achieving collective goals. Yet, the integration of tools like CoPilot across functions has undeniably increased development speed and efficiency, demanding a leader's adaptability in harnessing these tools for team and organizational benefit.

What role does vision play in building teams?
My journey through the startup ecosystem, from a long stint in telecom to leading engineering at Looper, has taught me the invaluable role of vision in team building. Whether it's a small startup or a large corporation, the common thread across successful teams is a shared enthusiasm, hard work, and a certain level of discipline. But beyond these, what binds a team together is a collective vision – an understanding of the company's goals and how each team member's work contributes to these objectives.

How important are communication and trust in leadership?
Two pillars have been instrumental in my leadership approach: communication and trust. In today's hybrid work environment, maintaining strong communication channels and fostering trust are more crucial than ever. Trusting that every team member is here to excel and contribute positively is fundamental. This belief shapes a culture where individuals are guided, not micromanaged, towards achieving their best.

Why Is fostering innovation and business alignment crucial?
As engineering leaders, our role extends beyond managing teams. We're at the forefront of aligning engineering efforts with business outcomes, leveraging technology to drive innovation and efficiency. This requires a deep understanding of business processes and the ability to anticipate how technological solutions can enhance business value. From enhancing product features to improving operational efficiency, the impact of engineering on business outcomes has never been more significant.

Final Thoughts
Reflecting on this conversation, I'm reminded of the continuous journey of learning and adaptation required in leadership roles, especially in the fast-evolving tech landscape.

I hope these reflections inspire fellow engineering leaders to embrace the changes brought by AI, focusing on strategic leadership, fostering a vision-driven team culture, and aligning engineering excellence with business success.

- Manas

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