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How to Build a Great Engineering Team

Building a Team
Hiring
Company Culture

8 November, 2018

Raj has compiled a list of lessons learned from his experiences building engineering teams.

Problem

As a VP of Engineering, it is my responsibility to figure out how to build a world-class engineering team while we assemble the rocketship. Considering how crucial our technology is to our mission, it is actually like refueling the rocketship mid-flight while it is being assembled! The following list is neither comprehensive nor prescriptive, but rather, a collection of things that I have learned.

Actions taken

Hire Great People:

  • Be patient when hiring. Do not give into the urge to fill a position with someone who's not quite an A-player.
  • When recruiting, tell a compelling story about why they should work at your company, why they should work in your team and why they should work on your product.
  • Focus your interview questions on similar types of problems that you would come across in your day to day work. Also, develop questions that test for core values, which will help ensure the candidate is a good culture fit.
  • Creating interviewer onboarding guides so new interviewers will quickly learn how to evaluate candidates.
  • Be diligent on collecting hiring metrics!
  • Hire senior engineering leaders proactively. Build an Engineering Brand:
  • Get your best engineers to blog about interesting aspects of what they are working on.
  • Present at meetups and conferences.
  • Contribute to open source! Build an Impact-Focused Culture: Outcomes over Output
  • Outputs are "what" we produce where as Outcomes address "why" we do something. Build a culture of quantifying the business outcomes to create a sense of purpose in the work produced. Articulate the Path Forward by Creating an Engineering Ladder Early On
  • Create an engineering ladder/lattice that clearly articulates the path forward for engineers while driving the business' success. The goal of a ladder is to set right expectations at every level.
  • Always keep in mind creating both a "technical" and a "managerial" track.

Lessons learned

I have plenty more to share about the previous list of team-building lessons learned throughout my career. These are just the basic takeaways, and I look forward to diving deeper via Plato calls! Source: https://medium.com/paxos/how-to-build-a-great-engineering-team-af545a7fe0ee


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