Tech Leads over Managers

I am starting to believe that a Tech Lead might be a better option, compared to organisations that have Engineering Managers. The feeling I have is that when an EM is managing around 8 people, they are quite disattached from day-to-day operations. They might know what engineers are doing, but they don’t necessarily know how it’s being done. Perhaps for sufficiently technical managers this isn’t true - they keep a tight finger on the pulse. At Prolific, when I was managing more than 8 people I found myself in this situation. I could review PRs and have technical opinions, but it was hard for me to connect the dots, or how a PR fit in the grand scheme of things. The idea that managers need to be able to get their hands dirty is a half measure, because it implies they will only do it when unusual situations occur - if ever. After thinking about this problem for a while, I feel that a Tech Lead can be a better fit for most organisations. They would manage at most 4 people and keep the balance between product and engineering inside their team. Coding would be part of their job - and expected. They would understand exactly what’s happening and the ramifications of the work their team is doing. They would feel the pain and frustration when a solution leads to worst feedback loops.s