November 8, 2018 | Kyle Leigh

Our Engineering Manifesto

“While your work speaks about you, does it really speak for you? Does it represent you well? The key to making your work resonate is to uncover, develop, and then bravely use your authentic voice.” – Louder Than Words

As engineering at Joveo is expanding, it’s important for us to lay out what we truly believe in and commit to it. This is our engineering manifesto, which is a grounding document to help us make decisions, work with each other effectively and guide our execution process. This manifesto is right for us today and will be revisited every 6 months to ensure it’s still effective.

1. Own.

We will own the products we build, technologies and mistakes.

2. Teamwork.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.” – Jordan.

We all are engineers irrespective of the title. We just happen to have different skill sets and experiences.

We all as a team either succeed or fail together.

(Image credits: http://buildupon.eu/blog-article/collaboration-the-key-to-unlocking-the-renovation-potential/)

3. Quality.

“Quality is generally transparent when present, but easily recognized in its absence.” – Alan Gillies, Software Quality

We will use code reviews, automated tests and various other measures to maintain and improve quality.

4. “Why”, “how” and then “what”.

We engineers will take a step back from “what” and focus on “why” and “how” first before “what” as it leads to better solutions. We will understand the problem well, start with the customer and then come up with a solution. When it comes to “what”, we will use a decision matrix to pick a strategy and solution.

(Image credits: http://why-what-how.com/)

5. Things break, no blame – learn and improve.

While we are moving fast, things are bound to break sometimes. In the event it happens, there is no room for blame and “Cover-Your-Ass” engineering. If there is a room, it’s for us to learn, improve and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

6. IC = Management.

There is no difference between individual contributors and managers. These are just different tracks of focus in enabling/delivering the results for the company.

7. Innovation and second-order thinking.

Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Dr. Albert Szent

We will try to come up with the right solution first time as much as possible with a bias for action as it will be expensive to change things later. Sometimes when we solve a problem, we inadvertently create other problems. So, we will constantly apply second-order thinking to pre-empt the consequences a solution can have and avert them proactively.

(Image credits: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-second-level-thinking-harsha-venkatesh/)

8. 10x scale and thinking.

We will create solutions today which caters to 10x the current scale to ensure business continuity and avoid setbacks. This is an important guiding variable for the prioritization of work.

The same 10x principle also applies when thinking about solutions – “how we could improve 10x” ?. This thinking forces us to re-invent than incrementally improving the existing solutions.

9. Simplicity.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. We engineers will favor Occam’s razor.

10. Improve.

We will dive deep, solve problems to the root and continuously improve things. We don’t get satisfied easily.

11. Value communication and transparency.

We will share everything we can and be transparent about our efforts. This helps collaboration and opens the room for candid feedback. We take the feedback as an opportunity to improve ourselves.

12. Data.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” – Peter Drucker.

We will use data wherever available to make the right choices. We will use the data to inform our decisions. To help the direction, we will measure everything we care.

13. Care for others and have fun.

We engineers will root for each other, give credit where is due to other teammates and have fun.

Summary

Engineering culture manifesto is an important document as the team scales up to have everyone on the same page. It’s a personal manifesto for a company at a point in time. We are happy to share it and would improve as we go.