Engineering Managers (EMs) are sometimes said to be “shit umbrellas”. They are supposed to keep all the distractions away from the team: the short-lived whims and fancies of various stakeholders, vague plans that are going to change several times before being solidified — all that stuff. Distractions are poisonous to good software, so hiding them should help the team deliver more and better software. A large part of this is true.

However, I would like to argue here that behaving like an umbrella is probably not a good thing. Umbrellas are shields that block rain. And what are these EMs blocking? Hopefully distractions, but also information and reality.