In the last year I have fulfilled a staff function with my employeer. By staff I mean a role that reports directly to the executive (CTO in this case). My role was to improve processes, implement best practices with the teams. The teams (~25 engineers in 4 teams) all reported to the "Head of Engineering" which also reported to the CTO. The HoE was more purely focused on people management.
I found this fairly frustrating and not very fulfilling compared to being a team lead (reporting to the HoE) previously. Not having direct reports to work with made everything move very slow. I belive I still focused on having good relationships with HoE and teams, but it is not really possible to do it well with 25 different people.
End of the day, I decided to switch jobs and is starting as Head of Engineering in a different company. Especially being able to work directly with engineers/teams is something im looking forward to.
But I would like to learn how to operate in such a position. In case I want to have this kind of functionality in the next organisation I join.
What is required to make staff functions work when you don't have your own team? How do you succeed when you have to work "through" other managers with your executives mandate?