Office Hours: I’m an Engineering Manager at Grammarly. I’m Anya Glukhova. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Anya Glukhova and I’m an Engineering Manager at Grammarly. My teams are responsible for building and scaling Grammarly's Desktop product offerings, Extension, Editor, and Grammarly for Windows and Mac. Every day, tens of millions of people and 50,000 professional teams worldwide trust Grammarly’s AI-enabled communication assistance to help them write and communicate confidently and achieve results.

I have over ten years of experience in the tech industry, from quality assurance and project management to software engineering and team leadership. I have been at Grammarly for almost six years and am passionate about the global growth of the company and product – we’re hiring!

Ask me anything about distributed development, improving communication and collaboration, values-led leadership, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @annaglukhova!Elphas – please ask @annaglukhova your questions before Friday, January 13th. @annaglukhova may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi Anya! Thank you for the opportunity to ask any questions. I’d like to ask about Grammarlys Design department and the dynamics of its development. As someone who transitioned from visual design to product design and is looking for an entry-level job or internship at a company with a good culture and an inspiring product, I've been following Grammarly. I’ve seen the announcement about Engineering Internship program so maybe there’s something similar for Designers? Thank you🌷
Hi @alisapaludeti! You are right, this year, we had an Engineering Internship program which we are very excited about. As for the Design entry-level or intern roles - unfortunately, we don’t have such plans in a short/midterm, but I do hope that we will get there soon! Our Design department has lots of plans to scale and grow. I work in the Interfaces department, and there we have goals to scale our Core product design directions in Mobile and Desktop, super exciting Design system direction that will collaboratively work in the intersection of design and engineering.
Hi Anya, thanks for participating in this week's office hours. How do you improve communication where culture is an issue for example if you have come from a culture where speaking up gets you in trouble to a culture where speaking up is encouraged. How do you improve it from the leadership side i.e. you being the leader trying to improve communication with culture shift and also from the employee side? Thank you
Hi @voyatsi! That's a great question. First, I would align with the core principles and values of a given cultural environment. This would help me understand what is essential for the team and ensure that the environment is inclusive and safe to communicate. Second, I would lead by example and encourage my peers and team members to talk by speaking up by myself. As a leader, I strive to be open and honest and share my vulnerabilities (this is a crucial part!). This is important when you want to build trustful relationships. This brings candid, empathy, and authenticity into your environment. This builds trust.
Thanks for doing this AMA Anya! I'd love to hear more about what values-led leadership means to you, as well as how you implement it in your day-to-day :)
Thank you for your question! If I try to draw a parallel between building a team and building a house, then values are the foundation of this building.We can indeed form a building without foundation - but how long will it last? And how big and strong can you keep this building, how many floors will you add there, and will everything not fly away with the slightest wind? I think values-led leadership helps you achieve common goals effectively by ensuring that the same core principles drive every team member, but at the same time isn't limited by a defined written process.I am a 100% fan of being diligent in defining those values, iterating on them, and making them "alive." At Grammarly, we have our EAGER values. This is the set of core values (Empathy, Adaptability, Gritt, Ethics, and Remarkable), behaviors that we would like to experience daily to achieve our goals and drive our mission. We want to communicate effectively; we want to be inclusive and make decisions ethically; we want to do whatever it takes to achieve goals, and at the same time, we want to stay humble! We want to ensure that values are super clear and everyone understands them, whatever role a Grammarlian has. We talk a lot about our culture during our hiring process, we do trainings for our newcomers, and we ensure that our values represent us. I hope I answer your question) This topic is super broad, and I love it.
Hi @annaglukhova ! What is the best culture value that you feel like Grammarly is really good at supporting? And what sort of early career developers would stand out to you if you were to review their resumes now?
Hi Anya, thanks so much for doing this! What is your advice for someone pivoting to software engineering (after 14 yrs on the creative side of startups) to find their first internship/junior developer job? And what gets you excited about an engineering candidate?
Hi @ajasinger! Oh, I love such cases with pivoting to other domains. And I have seen many successful cases when people outside of software engineering would transfer there. For the entry-level, I recommend a) ensuring you have good enough Computer science fundamental knowledge and b) practicing a lot. For the latter, there are various sites where you can test your algorithmic skills and improve your problem-solving ability. Hackerank, LeetCode, etc. - practicing there would be beneficial for you. Also, I advise always to be curious: to explore and learn how the interviewing process is built in different companies, whether there are engineering internships there, and what the expectations are. What gets me excited about early engineering candidates? I think their eagerness to learn new things, fearlessness to "open a door and ask," curiosity, openness for feedback, commitment, and, of course, a solid problem-solving focus.
Thank you so much, this is very helpful! I have just finished my front-end development course and spending the next few months building projects and I'll add algorithm practice to my to-do list as well. Thanks again!
Hello Anya ✌🏻
Hi Anya 👋🏽. You and your team have built a lot of impressive features and products. I am curious; how do you test the viability of an idea before investing time and energy into it? Do you develop a proof of concept first or test a prototype?
Hi @stellainabo! Thank you for your question and your interest in our product! We have an ambitious mission - to improve lives by improving communication - and thus, we have many user problems we want to solve. Our team is getting bigger, and the list of ideas is as well. Of course, first, understanding the value and prioritization plays an essential role. Second, you are right, we want to understand the impact of those ideas and validate all of the risks, opportunities, and consequences. For that, we use a variety of activities: investing in research, doing UXRs, developing MVPs, and playing with prototypes or proof of concepts. Whatever action is used for a particular feature or product - we should always remember and align with the set of expectations and success criteria (target metrics etc.). We want to validate and see the results of these explorations before we move on to the next development steps.With that said, we adore new fresh ideas! So we also have company-wide events - Hackathons, where we spend a week on hacking and developing new product ideas. Whatever role you have, engineering, communication, customer experience, etc., you can participate and create a team around your product idea, learn something new and validate your idea! This is super fun, and I personally enjoy watching all of the demos afterward - this is an endless source of inspiration!By the way, fun fact, one of our product offerings - Grammarly for Windows and Mac - initially was one of our engineer's ideas, who was so passionate about exploring it, that he made a small prototype and demonstrated it later to a broader group.
Hi @annaglukhova! I am very interested in Engineering teams at Grammarly! Could you tell me more about the team, the work you do and what is required to get a job and be successful at Grammarly? I am a recent physics phd grad looking for any advice in the job search and career in tech!
Hi @dseitova! Thank you for being so interested! You can check this article, where I described what we understand by the Engineering Manager role at Grammarly and where I shared my experience: lead the Desktop Clients organization, and we are responsible for delivering the best Grammarly experience across all of our user-facing product offerings in Desktop: Integrations in Mac and Windows, Editor, and Browser extensions. We focus on ensuring the high quality of these offerings and on providing an easy way to contribute and deliver new features to these Desktop interfaces outside of our teams. As for a tech career, it depends on what exactly you want and where to grow. But when talking about software engineering, I also mentioned that in one of the threads here: in short, I think there are 2 crucial parts for early engineers. First, to ensure you have a good basis of computer science fundamentals knowledge; and second, practice coding a lot (algorithms, problem-solving, coding skills, etc.). Try staying up to date and being proactive in internship opportunities. For example, we recently had an Engineering Internship in our company, and I hope we will have more of them (even not in Engineering only)!