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Focus on how you build not just on what you build

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This is the archive, annotated version, of the talk I gave at the SmartMobil 2014 Conference in Budapest, Hungary on April 3, 2014.

Published in: Engineering, Business, Technology
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Focus on how you build not just on what you build

  1. 1. Kevin Goldsmith Director of Engineering Focus on how you build, not just what you build
  2. 2. Hej!
  3. 3. 3Introduction When building a product, it is easy to be focused what you are building, but you also need to be mindful of how you build. Your product vision is where you are going, your steering wheel; but your engineering culture is your engine. It is what is going to get you there faster, without breakdowns and without having to stop for gas too often.
  4. 4. 4Introduction Build a strong engineering culture and things are easier and faster
  5. 5. 5Introduction Ignore your culture, and you may still get there; but you may also have a lot of breakdowns, and stops for gas. You may even need to replace pieces along the way.
  6. 6. 6 Culture is the manifestation of the shared values of the organization as represented by the actions of its members What is culture?
  7. 7. 7 Culture is the manifestation of the shared values of the organization as represented by the actions of its members What is culture?
  8. 8. 8 Henrik Kniberg (Agile guru) Culture is the stuff people do without noticing it What is culture?
  9. 9. 9What is culture? Values Culture ArtifactsProcesses Rituals Beliefs
  10. 10. 10Spotify’s Values photo credit: © Leigh Ann Shaffner, used with permission
  11. 11. 11Spotify’s Values Continuous improvement Shared Responsibility Transparency Trust ServantLeadership Learn from failure Innovation at every level Iterative development Embrace Change Data-driven AutonomousTeams photo credit: © Leigh Ann Shaffner, used with permission
  12. 12. 12 Tim O'Reilly Apply the same level of deep thinking about building a culture as you would about building a product Why is culture important?
  13. 13. 13When? The best time to start thinking about this is before you start to grow, right at the beginning
  14. 14. 14When? Put in the time to focus and maintain your culture as you build the product and grow, it will help you scale.
  15. 15. 15 Cory Ondrejka, Facebook / Linden Lab Crucial steps like laying the foundation for great management or shaping a sustainable culture get shifted to the back burner [as you grow], creating management debt just as real and damaging as the technical debt startups strive to avoid. Protecting yYour Culture
  16. 16. 16Spotify’s Values Continuous improvement Shared Responsibility Transparency Trust ServantLeadership Learn from failure Innovation at every level Iterative development Embrace Change Data-driven AutonomousTeams photo credit: © Leigh Ann Shaffner, used with permission
  17. 17. 17What is culture? Values Culture ArtifactsProcesses Rituals Beliefs From Spotify’s values comes our culture, and from that comes…
  18. 18. 18 Our agile processes
  19. 19. 19 Our organizational model
  20. 20. 20 Once you have the culture that you want, you still need to work to maintain it.
  21. 21. 21 At Spotify, we survey ourselves all the time to make sure we are living up to our values.
  22. 22. 22 If you feel that you are getting off track, fix the problems instead of ignoring them. They will only get worse.
  23. 23. 23 Talk about your culture, not only with the leadership, but with the rest of the organization as well. Every member is a steward of the culture and has ownership over it.
  24. 24. 24 Focusing on your culture early means building a culture that will grow as your product grows and maintain or even increase speed as you mature instead of having to constantly regroup and battle.
  25. 25. 25 Your culture leads, everything else follows.
  26. 26. Tack!

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