How to build an engineering culture, Vol.1

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My name is Kristjan and I am responsible of running a Porto Tech Center, family of approximately 200 Software engineers. Every morning the greatest assets of our Tech Center are coming to work and every evening leave to home. I´ve though a lot about how to make our Tech Center better place to work and will continue thinking about it. I’ve made conclusions and discoveries based previous and recent experiences.

One of my favorite topics has become, building suitable and inspiring Engineering Culture. There are many ideas and learning’s out there – Spotify, Facebook, Google etc. It would be just too easy to study one and simply replicate. I believe it would be just wrong. Each company is as a living organism with its specific characteristics and unique behavior. Managing one requires smart and right decisions at the right time. So, I´ve decided to stimulate finding the right formula for our engineering culture in our own way, which most probably also combines learning’s from here and there.

Exactly “stimulate” is the right word, because I believe that culture is something that cannot be created by managers, it creates itself. The role of a manager is to set context, create the right environment and provide the tools and resources. Well, I must admit that I never had any experience with it, so moreover it seemed to be a nice challenge and exercise. So, as a first step I gathered some of our brightest minds and asked for their opinion – what should be the components of our engineering culture? As a result, the ideas started popping out: “building a DevOps culture”, “fostering Agile mind-set”, “doing R&D (Lab-work)”, “contributing to Open Source, opening a Tech Blog and in general being more exposed to IT engineering community”, “becoming more Data Driven and Customer Oriented”.

Very well, I guess it is time to start from somewhere.