Developers Corner

Developing A Drupal Engineering Culture of Excellence

Aug. 27 2014
William O'Connor

I am looking forward to my LA Drupal Camp presentation on the company culture we have been able to create over the years. If you are in the Los Angeles/Irvine area the weekend of September 6th - 7th and are interested in Open Source web technologies and Drupal development stop by the camp at UC Irvine for a great weekend of Drupal! My session is 5Pm on September 6th in the Moss Cove B Room - more information here. Event Details:

Session Abstract

As the CTO of Achieve I have been working for the last 8 years to build an engineering team that has a great culture, enjoys building innovative solutions and strives to exceed client expectations. It has not been easy, and to say we have perfected our culture and process would be a lie. It has been my goal to create standardization, processes, professional development and organic growth that allows us to scale effectively and take on new projects secure in the notion that our team will be able to meet and exceed expectations. I am extremely proud of where we are today, but there is always room for improvement.

The steps and hard work to get to where we are today include:

  • Standardization
    • Checks and balances
    • Technology
  • Dedication to process
    • JIRA workflows
    • Agile methodology
    • Sprint planning
    • Code reviews
    • Architecture and planning sessions
  • Finding the right people
    • Professional development plans
    • Intern program
    • Organic growth
    • Merit based promotions
  • Effective scaling
    • Not built to add 100 new engineers in 6 months
    • Rigorous expectations and required skill set
    • 95% of resumes we see do not meet our qualifications

While this was a ton of hard work, that never ends and requires constant iteration, it has enabled our culture to grow organically out of our standards and process. Rather than creating a false culture or forcing a culture on our team they have been able to shape the team dynamic as we continue to bring on the right people. While the terms standards, process and checks and balances all sound very rigid we see them more as a solid foundation that allows us flexibility, within limits, to approach new challenges and projects with confidence that we can get the job done.

In this session I will cover the work we have done, and are still doing, to perfect the culture and standards of our excellent engineering team. We have taken a few figurative lumps over the head but those lumps have really helped us to learn and grow into the team we are today. Furthermore, I have tried to make these processes as simple as possible so they are repeatable and I will go into the depth about how to replicate our success in the pursuit of an engineering culture of excellence. 

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