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Chirp Team Title Ladders

The purpose of the Chirp title ladder is to help individuals answer the following questions:

  • What is expected of me in order to be successful in my current role?
  • How am I evaluated against these expectations?
  • What can I do to show that I’m ready to progress to the next level?

Taken together, the title ladder is a tool to help individuals formulate growth plans, set growth and success goals and gauge progress towards promotion. Before we dive in, let’s review some key terminology:

  • Success. Satisfying the expectations of a role. Note that success is not defined as “being promoted” – success is an indication that an individual is satisfying the expectations of their given role.
  • Growth. While growth is continuous – we are all constantly learning and improving – in the context of the title ladder, growth refers to building the skills and gaining the experience necessary for moving into the next level.
  • Progression. Moving into the next title level. This is achieved through a combination of success and growth. Since each role builds off the previous one, progression cannot happen without first demonstrating success in one’s current role. Continued success over time leads to growth, and together this leads to progression.

Each of the three major technical disciplines within the Chirp organization (engineering, design, and product management) has one or two core competencies that describe the main responsibility within the discipline.

  • Engineering Delivery. In the context of a team setting, delivery is the net contribution one makes towards advancing the goals of the team. This is done primarily through writing code and getting it into production. The main responsibility of a software product engineer is to solve user problems through technology, which is why a large portion of this ladder uses delivery as a key success metric. While parallel contributions (team leadership, guild membership, engineer’s time, etc.) are important as well, these are not strictly components of delivery.
  • Design Delivery. In the context of a team setting, delivery is the net contribution one makes towards advancing the goals of the team. This is done primarily through user interviews or research and constructing designs by sketching, mock ups, or high fidelity Figma files. The main responsibility of a product designer is to solve user problems, which is why a large portion of this ladder includes delivery as a key success metric. While parallel contributions (team leadership, guild membership, maintaining our design system, etc.) are important as well, these are not strictly components of delivery. Product design is often broken down into the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX). Product designers at Iora Health consider both of these as part of delivery.
  • Product Management. The primary responsibilities of product managers are to drive/build and facilitate the Chirp shaping process, integrate newly developed work into care team workflows, prioritize incoming requests, and support users with documentation and support queues.
  • Product Ownership. The primary responsibilities of a product owner on a Chirp scrum team are to manage the team’s backlog, make decisions related to the value that the team is delivering, coordinate and manage work and priorities with functions and stakeholders outside of the scrum team, and manage a team’s refinement, iteration review, and planning events.

Each title description is presented in the following format:

  • Summary: Short description of the role
  • Expected Tenure: Number of successful years it typically takes from promotion into the role through progression into the next role. Everyone’s journey is different, but anything under the minimum or over the maximum is considered unusual
  • Focus: Short description of the key drivers of success for the role What Success Looks Like: A more detailed description of the responsibilities and competencies of a person at this level
  • Evaluation Criteria: The questions, that when answered affirmatively, would indicate that an individual has been successful within the role
  • Growth Path: An overview of the skills an individual must possess and demonstrate in order to grow into the next title

At a Glance

The tables below provide a quick overview of the levels within each discipline, along with each level’s main areas of focus. These focus areas are the most important factors in determining success at each level.

Engineer

Level Brief Main success criteria
Apprentice (I) Learning how to build software in a team environment Learning, small tasks
Associate (II) Building core software development and delivery skills Delivery ability
Senior (III) Expert in software delivery Delivery expertise
Lead (IV) Proficient in directing team efforts and technical decisions Team leadership, steady delivery
Staff (V) Provides guidance, direction, and vision to all engineers Chirp leadership, continued delivery
Senior Staff (VI) A distinguished Staff Engineer Chirp leadership, continued delivery

Product Manager

Level Brief Main success criteria
Associate (I) Learning how to identify problems and deliver outcomes in a team environment Learning, small tasks
Product Manager (II) Building the core skills to identify problems, deliver outcomes, and partner cross-functionally Product ownership (PO) and product management (PM) ability
Senior (III) Expert in software product delivery Expertise in product ownership and product management
Lead (IV) Proficient in directing team efforts and product decisions Team leadership, steady PO/PM
Principal (V) Provides guidance, direction, and vision to all product managers Chirp leadership, continued PM/PO
Senior Principal (VI) A distinguished Principal Product Manager Chirp leadership, continued PM/PO

Product Designer

Level Brief Main success criteria
Associate (I) Learning how to design software in a team environment Learning, small tasks
Product Designer (II) Building core design and delivery skills Delivery ability
Senior (III) Expert in design delivery Delivery expertise
Lead (IV) Proficient in directing team efforts and design decisions Team leadership, steady delivery
Principal (V) Provides guidance, direction, and vision to all Product Designers Chirp leadership, continued delivery
Senior Principal (VI) A distinguished Principal Product Designer Chirp leadership, continued delivery

More information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

A Final Note

Keep in mind that not all paths to growth and success are exactly the same. It’s impossible to boil down a career progression into a set of steps. Taking these guidelines as an explicit checklist of the only things needed in order to become an experienced engineer/product manager/designer belies the importance of acknowledging that building a career takes time and effort. There is no standard path from a beginner to an expert. Instead, these descriptions and criteria act as milestones and checkpoints along the way.