Career laddering is a system used to show what expectations are at different levels of a role, a purpose of which can be defining how one might be promoted. I’ve personally found being transparent about expectations helpful as an Engineering Leader, but is only one supportive piece of a whole. It’s critical that career laddering docs are just one tool embedded in a deeper process.
This writeup explains a bit more about that process >
It’s not important for an Engineering Leader to use my process. It is, however, very important that an Engineering Manager is clear with their employees about expectations and direction.
Developer Experience ▸
Roles up to and including Senior, ladders are constructed around becoming the best at what one does that one might personally be.
At Staff level, the career expands to help others be successful with what you do and know, and scale yourself.
At Principal and beyond, you are trying to help others be the best that they can be, removing yourself and meeting others where they are.
If you're interested in more resources for managers, I wrote a book:
Engineering Management for the Rest of Us