The HIRE Learning series gets inside the brains of hiring managers who are looking for smart engineers, passionate Grafana users, and observability enthusiasts to join their teams. Find out what questions they ask, what red flags they look for, and what helps their teams succeed.
Myrle is the frontend manager who will always have your back — and she makes sure everyone on the team shows up for each other as well.
“The main responsibility I have as a manager is to make sure that people have an area that they feel responsible for, and that they have somebody that they can talk to about it,” says Myrle, who leads the Application Observability team at Grafana Labs. “Somebody who can back them up if they’re sick or if they go on vacation, but also just to bounce ideas off of from time to time. All of us work better if we have somebody to help us think things through and to challenge us when maybe we’re a little off track.”
Whether her team of 15 is working on features such as Synthetic Monitoring or Kubernetes Monitoring for Grafana Cloud, lending support to make Grafana OnCall open source, or focusing on frontend observability, APM visualizations, and OpenTelemetry, Myrle’s goal isn’t to track every movement of every team member.
“We are fully remote. I can’t stand over them and say, ‘Did you remember to write a test for that line of code?’ And I don’t want to,” says Myrle, who was born in Flagstaff, Ariz., and currently lives in Cologne, Germany, with her family. “My role as a manager is to check in with the team on a regular basis to ensure they have the information, context, and other tools they need. My role as a manager is not to tell people what architectural choices to make or to review PR-s or to otherwise micromanage.”
In that respect, “my team needs to be self-starters, and they are. They’re awesome,” says Myrle. “I think most people would prefer to work that way. Whether you’re a software engineer or a janitor or a nurse, most people would prefer for you to give them the responsibility and the space to do their work.”
Read on to hear more from Myrle about what she looks for in engineers during interviews and on the job and learn how you could join the Application Observability team at Grafana Labs.
Open position on her team: Senior Frontend Engineer - Application Observability / Grafana Cloud
What she looks for in potential candidates: “It’s not just about technical capabilities. It’s about an attitude,” says Myrle. “It’s about taking ownership and saying this is something that I’m proud to present to users. At the same time, it’s expecting and accepting that it’s not going to be perfect and working to make your end result better. You have to accept the possibility that you’ll make mistakes and learn from them.”
What she looks for during an interview: “What makes my eyes light up is when I hear somebody taking responsibility for something — hearing how they dug into an issue and followed the trail to where the problem was rather than staying in their own little walled garden,” says Myrle. “Hearing about people not stopping at the edge of what their defined responsibilities are, but continuing beyond that in order to actually solve problems, that’s generally a good sign.”
What is a non-negotiable: “I was interviewing with one engineer, and he kept using the word ‘I.’ I was with another hiring manager, and we tried to prompt him like, ‘Did you help anybody else out with that?’ or ‘Did you learn something from your teammates?’ And he replied, ‘I did it all myself.’ I was like no, thank you! That is a big red flag.”
Beyond Grafana dashboards: During her 1:1 meetings, “we talk about what’s going on in their lives — if somebody’s considering moving to another country or if somebody’s a new parent,” says Myrle. “It’s about having a connection. You can’t work well with somebody that you don’t know. We’re doing a lot of creative work and a sense of social and psychological safety is important in this context.”
Myrle’s management style
The Application Observability team at Grafana Labs stretches from Salt Lake City in the U.S., to Bucharest, Romania, to São José dos Campos, Brazil. Here’s how Myrle stays connected to her team — and how they bond from afar.
- Two weekly team meetings. Myrle splits her weekly team meeting into two — one convenient for the Americas time zones and one for the EMEA time zones. At the start of each meeting, every team member gives a demo of what they’re working on that “doesn’t have to be perfect.” Each 5- to 10-minute demo video is then shared on the team Slack channel so everybody can see what the team is working on.
- Daily (async) standup on Slack. Every day frontend engineers check in on their team Slack channel, sharing what they’re working on that day.
- Weekly 1:1s. Myrle hosts 30- to 60-minute conversations with each member of the team.
- Weekly socializing. Every Monday, there’s an optional meeting to hop onto Mibo for fun, informal conversations.
Grafana Labs is a remote-first company in which we communicate asynchronously, work autonomously, and take accountability for all our work. Interested in becoming a Grafanista? Check out our Careers page to learn about our open positions.
Are you a hiring manager looking for observability experts and Grafana enthusiasts? We’d love to highlight your team, your company, and your open observability positions in our HIRE Learning series. Please reach out to us at HIRElearning@grafana.com to learn more.