How to cultivate an engineering first culture — from a coders perspective

How to cultivate an engineering first culture — from a coders perspective

Your company is truly only as great as the people you work with. You’ve probably heard this cliche before — your company’s biggest and most valuable assets are the people itself. Without the people, there is no company.

If your people dislike working for the company, they will leave, a simple matter.

Here are some tips and tricks to cultivate a great culture where extraordinary people can shine;


1. Don’t interrupt programmers for mundane tasks

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do , We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

Steve Jobs

We’ve all had managers who try to micromanage. Ask yourself; If you have to micromanage your employees, why would you hire them in the first place?

Autonomy gives the people rights to self-govern and make decisions for themselves. I’m a big believer in small autonomous self-organizing teams which get the job done.

If you’re a project manager or an executive, don’t walk up to the coders and ask if they saw the email you sent 10 minutes ago. We know, and we will respond. This simple interaction can cost hours of productivity.


2. White board challenges are an ineffective way to measure technical knowledge

What’s the quickest way to lose a probable good engineer? Whiteboard challenges.

Why is hiring broken? It starts at the whiteboard.

There are countless ways to hire good engineers, white board challenges aren’t one of them.

David Heinemeier Hansson (Creator of Rails)

Hiring someone is never easy and obvious. If hiring worked basely on whiteboard challenges, you might end up with a team of programmers who only know the theoretical sides of things.

Whenever I’m looking into hiring engineers — I look at their Github, past experience, past apps they wrote, Medium, and Twitter profile. These are all practical metrics you can measure the success of a developer.


3. Transparency and physiological safety

Have you ever been at a meeting where people contemplate deeply what they’re about to say — ending up not saying anything at all?

Physiological safety allows people to say what’s on their mind knowing they won’t be judged nor tagged in prospective gatherings. We love people who can empathize and brainstorm with us. People need to be tuned on the same vibe to make really great things happen.

Some of the most successful companies were initially “wild ideas” thrown in the ring. For example; PayPal’s co-founders expected you to hand over your bank account information, along with other personal info, and trust that they could handle your financial transactions online

7 Audacious Startup Ideas That Eventually Became Wildly Successful

Company transparency is something every company likes to talk about but very few actually do it and even few do it right. Some companies go even as far as showing everyones salary on a spreadsheet.

Buffer Salary Sandbox

What is transparency in a company? In plain English, transparency translates to availability of information. The more transparency, the more you know about revenues, hidden agendas, salaries, metrics and company “secrets”.


4. Keep meetings short and minimal

Meetings are time a big time sink, albeit not a total waste although — if done right. What are meetings for?

Daily stand-ups are a great compromise when it comes to meetings. Daily standup’s let the team to find out if there are any blockers or critical security tasks left hanging in the air.

Daily standup’s are at max 10–15 minutes and fluid information flow without any unnecessary small talk.

Thanks for reading! ❤

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