by Leon Rosenshein

Careers Pt 2 – Breaking Down Scope

In Part 1 I described how your level is a proxy for scope of influence. Knowing that gives you a framework to understand where you think you are. What it doesn’t give you a way to break scope of influence down into a series of areas that you can measure.

One way to do that is break down scope into categories. Different companies call them different things. Some call them competencies, proficiencies, or areas, others might call the capabilities or skills, It doesn’t really matter what they’re called, as long as everyone is talking about the same thing. In my experience they’ll usually map to different competencies that cover these 5 areas.

Competency Breakdown


Citizenship is how you support the company outside of the company’s lines of business. Things like being an active interviewer, onsite and offsite, presenting on behalf of the company at a conference, or contributing to an open-source project. It’s being part of or leading an internal employee group or donation project.

Software Engineering

Software Engineering is the one of the core competencies for the engineering role. It’s about writing code and use/promoting/defining best practices. It’s building something that works now and is scalable enough to work for the future. For other roles, such as PM it would be about project management and finding customer value.


Architecture is the other one of the core engineering competencies. Architecture is about interfaces and designs and ensuring things work when then need to can change to handle new requirements. It’s about deciding what to build, what to buy, and what to stop doing. For other roles, like PM, it will be related to the role. For them it might be about what to features to build or not build.


Execution is getting things done. Getting them done on time. Regardless of whether it’s a current, short-term project, a multi-year project or strategy, spans multiple people/teams/groups or even companies.


Collaboration is a measurement of how well you work with others. The people working on the same functions, the people on your team or a larger organization or in out outside of your industry.


Efficiency is about doing more with less. Using fewer resources, people or compute. Finding and eliminating duplications. Sharing the shareable. Automating the automatable.

Once you know what those competencies are, you need a way to measure you scope in those areas. That breaks down into two areas, time and impacted people. The breakdown for the different areas looks something like this


  • Immediate/Right Now
  • ~ 6 months
  • ~ 1 - 2 years
  • 3 - 5 Years
  • 5+ years

Impacted People

  • Yourself
  • A feature team (2 - 3 people)
  • A team
  • An org/division
  • Your company / industry

Combined, the competencies and the scope areas give you something you can mostly measure. What you DO with those measurements and how you think about them will be covered in part 3.