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Engineering your culture / Oren Ellenbogen


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Engineering your culture / Oren Ellenbogen

  1. 1. Engineering your culture @orenellenbogen How to keep your engineers happy? “No J were harmed in the making of this talk” – said no one, ever. Until now.
  2. 2. THE PROBLEM?
  3. 3. All companies start as a beautiful dream Photo credit: Mike Kepka
  4. 4. If we’re lucky, we grow AirBnBPhoto credit:
  5. 5. How can we keep them happy & engaged for the long run?
  6. 6. “ I’m just pushing this small change to production ” clickypixPhoto credit:
  7. 7. How happiness looks like at scale?
  8. 8. #FAIL me, this morning Photo credit: yiyinglu
  9. 9. “ Oh crap, it’s not going to work… Facebook’s Open-space Environment. But that’s not important. Really. Photo credit: Facebook
  10. 10. Or in a single shot We’re beautiful snowflakes
  11. 11. Who am I? VP Engineering I write at I tweet @orenellenbogen
  12. 12. Side-projects to boost my own happiness comLeadingSnowflakes. The Engineering Manager Handbook Culture, People & Leadership newsletter
  13. 13. I want to share my own journey & insights Read: you can steal some ideas to experiment with
  14. 14. Purpose the reason we do stuff Autonomy own the way we do stuff Mastery do stuff well
  15. 15. photo credit bennylin0724 Not a checklist Think sliders
  16. 16. Purpose Autonomy Mastery P A M Google • Amazing mission statement organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful • Hard to iterate fast • Incredible technology MapReduce, Google FS etc.
  17. 17. Facebook • Awesome mission statement make the world more open and connected • Fast iterations, small teams • Great technology (+ leftovers) PHP – I’m looking at you! Purpose Autonomy Mastery P A M
  18. 18. [Gambling Co.] • Some lame mission statement make more money than the church • Fast iterations, small teams • Great technology, at huge scale! Purpose Autonomy Mastery P A M
  19. 19. What are you trying to optimize for?
  20. 20. Great Culture == Great Working Environment ASSUMING THEY FIT (your engineers)
  21. 21. GitHub’s “No Managers” mantra Explicitly hire for: People who can prioritize & get things done on their own They focus on autonomy P A M
  22. 22. Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery – Be amazing at least in one of them Then: Hire people who will shine because of it
  23. 23. Purpose Autonomy Mastery Let’s talk about
  24. 24. Purpose is not only about your vision, it is also about your attitude.
  25. 25. The pessimistic organization
  26. 26. Changing code -> … -> something breaks -> lack of trust -> slower cycle (process++) -> new department of [trust issue] -> still breaks … -> death (of happiness)
  27. 27. The optimistic organization
  28. 28. Sponsored by: Continuous Deployment “completely changed my life” – everyone, everywhere.
  29. 29. Changing code -> … -> something breaks -> quick release + retrospect -> automate/test stuff -> still breaks -> quick release + retrospect -> automate/test stuff -> …
  30. 30. Same assumptions, different coping mechanism. Different attitude.
  31. 31. Organization DNA? Learning versus avoiding Alignment versus departments Ownership versus blame At scale, you cannot afford to kill your DNA – this attitude you had when you started.
  32. 32. Attitude builds momentum
  33. 33. HubSpot Netflix
  34. 34. Purpose has to be distributed among teams to truly benefit from experimentation
  35. 35. “ hmm… basically, we’re building the mobile version of our successful web app. ” – an engineer open for job offers
  36. 36. “ Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. WTF? a frickin’ self-driving car
  37. 37. When you're lacking purpose at work, every small annoyance scales out of proportion.
  38. 38. Focus on building a team. Start on their 1st day.
  39. 39. One small tradition… The last person to join the company is responsible to create a “starter kit” for the next one to join
  40. 40. Purpose Autonomy Mastery Let’s talk about
  41. 41. Define your expectations. Tell what, not how. * BE EXPLICIT *
  42. 42. “Page to render under 100ms” “RoR is slow, use Java!”
  43. 43. “Stay communicative, even if things are going as expected” “Send me a daily email with your progress on your tasks”
  44. 44. Luc’s Blueprint (of values) Luc Levesque “I’ve always wished I had a ‘blueprint’ of how my boss works” VP SEO at TripAdvisor
  45. 45. Luc’s Blueprint (of values) Get the template here
  46. 46. Purpose Autonomy Mastery (5 concepts you can try) Let’s talk about
  47. 47. Google’s “Code Labs” Onboarding process for Google’s building blocks
  48. 48. Amazon’s “Bar Raisers” Scaling your DNA
  49. 49. Medium’s Jank ‘n’ Drank Scheduling time for non-urgent tasks
  50. 50. “ One day I will work for a company that does something like this. ” Mission accomplished!
  51. 51. Help building a personal brand for your teammates Fact: awesome attracts more awesome
  52. 52. Everything.Me’s re:dash Arik Fraimovich
  53. 53. 1. Build stuff 2. Tell people 3. Don’t stop at #1
  54. 54. Have a growth plan ready Junior Engineers Practice, practice, practice Experienced Engineers Practice, lead, build trust Veteran Engineers Become an expert or pivot (+mentor as a Bar Raiser)
  55. 55. What’s next?!
  56. 56. A startup is not a smaller version of a large company. Steve Blank:
  57. 57. A large company is not a degenerated version of a startup
  58. 58. photo credit bennylin0724 1.Pick your sliders 2.Hire accordingly 3.Try stuff 4.Tell people Continuous Experimentation ™
  59. 59. THANK YOU WE’RE HIRING! @orenellenbogen Come get one!