At Indent, our focus is on human-centric problem solving. Whether it’s an engineer who needs access to a cloud storage bucket for 30 minutes – or the admin on the other end who needs to make sure the right people have access for the correct amount of time – our goal is to package different data privacy solutions to meet our clients’ specific needs. We want to be able to scale to the largest Fortune 500 companies and eventually also meet the needs of smaller companies like your local dental office. That’s why regular and open feedback about our product and business is so crucial to our growth. We view all forms of feedback from teammates, customers and the market, as a gift that both leads and motivates us to improve.
We’re looking for team-members who focus on the evolution of an idea to the final product, and can easily share their thoughts in real-time. In return, we promise to give consistent, candid feedback as well.
Trade-offs: We’d rather get raw feedback at the earliest stage of a project than wait to present an entirely polished end result. When receiving difficult feedback, we try to look for the productive takeaways and lessons learned for next time.
Not only is communicating critical to succeed at Sparrow, but it is required for our business to succeed as a whole. As a remote-first team, we focus a lot of attention on giving and receiving feedback. In fact, our onboarding process includes dedicated training on feedback. Nearly all of our ~100-person team has joined remotely since the start of COVID-19, which makes open and transparent communication fundamental to our culture.
Engineers are constantly collaborating with the rest of the product team and our customer-facing Leave Specialist team to create the best solutions for our end users. For this reason, we look for folks who are good at seeing other people’s points of view and are extremely self-aware. It’s important for anyone who joins our team to be able to confidently share what they know, what they don’t know, and what they need help with. This is in part why our onboarding process includes training on giving and receiving feedback. We know this one training won’t make you a pro, but we’ve found this gives everyone on our team a solid foundation and shared vocabulary. It helps us see where common problems might arise and acts as a starting point for effective communication. Continuous feedback requires constant effort, so we look for naturally strong communicators to join us at Sparrow. It makes us stronger as a team, but it also just makes life at Sparrow better!
Effective larger organizations often focus on the value of ‘obligation to dissent,’ where any member of the team, regardless of rank, is obligated to oppose a prevailing decision if s/he disagrees with it. However, in smaller growing organizations like ours, where there are many unknowns, it’s critical not only to find flaws, but also to build. Therefore, rather than ‘obligation to dissent,’ we find effective team members encourage others to ‘speak up.’
At HumanFirst, listening to all voices and perspectives – particularly when conflicting – is more important to us than achieving a harmonious decision where everyone believes the same thing. For instance, there is often healthy tension between how secure a product is and how convenient (or not) it is to use. Our team encourages opposing viewpoints and often runs test scenarios so we learn where to ‘draw the line’ when decisions are grey. We are committed to leaning into difficult conversations.
Our team at HumanFirst is both mission-driven and metrics-driven. We expect our teammates to speak up internally as well as in external settings with our customers. No one is “too junior” to share their point of view.
When we don’t hire a candidate, we do our best to give genuine feedback. That’s just the beginning. For candidates we do hire, we automatically set up 30-, 60-, and 90-day reviews once you join the company. These ensure we’re on track with expectations and make it easy for us to course correct if something is misaligned. The reviews always go both ways, too: we want to hear how Dark could be better for you.
Our desire to improve our engineering team is expressed in all of our day-to-day practices. We do regular code reviews. On some projects we opt to pair program, so people can ramp up on new pieces of the codebase. During onboarding, we pair regularly. We also ask our newer employees to review complicated pull requests, so they can see and ask about architectural decisions. We give each other feedback on how we performed during meetings (in private, right after the meeting).
We also think feedback is what helps our product get better. Every day, we get user feedback through our dedicated Slack channel. If we can, we fix issues as they come up. If not, we link to the message in a ticket and will tell the user when we’ve fixed it.
For more personal feedback, we believe in giving constructive feedback privately, and complimentary feedback based on each person’s preference. Not everyone likes to be praised in a public manner. We also strive to give feedback immediately after something occurs, and to format it in a truthful, nonviolent way: “when you X, the story I tell myself is Y, and the impact is Z.”
Once things are running smoothly, every engineer has a 1-1 with the CEO and CTO weekly. These meetings are a chance to provide and solicit additional feedback, and the agenda is driven by the employee.
A simple messaging workspace with tools for managers and staff on the go
San Francisco, CA or Remote
Every member of our team has a unique perspective and can contribute in valuable ways to both our product and our processes. We have formal weekly retrospectives as well as at the end of big projects. We don’t take these for granted since they are the best times to reflect on what we did well and where we can make improvements. The feedback we give one another is always specific, direct, and honest, and most importantly, it always comes from the desire to make the product better for our customers. We also do weekly demos to solicit in-the-moment feedback for work that is in progress and design reviews to critique upcoming feature work.
Informally, we give shoutouts to each other whenever someone is doing a great job or embodying one of our company’s core values. This includes transparency, supporting teammates and our users, or finding innovative, simple ways to make our user experience more delightful or approachable.
1 Open Positions
Rune was founded with the mission of addressing questions in neuroscience and brain disease that haven't been answered. If the answers came easy, we wouldn't exist. While our engineering team is collectively familiar with much of the technology we use, there's no real blueprint past that.
Even when Rune was barely a year old and less than ten people, we instituted regularly scheduled one-on-ones and quarterly performance reviews. We wanted each person to always be clear on how they're doing, eliminate any surprises, and understand what the next step up in their career at Rune looks like. For things that affect the team, anyone can raise discussions at our engineering all-hands every two weeks. Every couple months, our company-wide retrospectives are also an opportunity for anyone to bring up what works and what doesn't at the edges of the engineering team, so our cross-department collaboration is never a source of friction.
Our development cycle is also very fast and continuous (see Continuous Delivery below). We don't have a name for it, but we've taken the concepts of fast iteration and tight feedback loops from Agile, while doing away with the ceremonies around Sprints. Outside of the engineering team, our peers in the product and neuroscience teams put everything into use right away, and let us know immediately how our work is solving problems, and what direction is next. We deploy to production daily, and use feature flags, so we can run experiments and ask early adopters for feedback before we get too far ahead of ourselves. These tight feedback loops ensure we’re building the strongest product possible.
Our design and development process is centered around two-week sprints where we deploy rapidly, learn from our users, and continually iterate. Time is everything to us – and we like to work efficiently and optimally. That means team members need to feel comfortable stating their opinions and openly debating any decision we make that they might disagree with. Everyone has a voice in this company. (It’s just a matter of surfacing what you believe to be true in a constructive and positive manner!)
We gather feedback from our partners, end users, and analytics tools, and we’re focused on having researched business cases behind every decision we make. We want to hire people who have expertise in areas where our current team members do not. As our engineering team has grown, we’ve organically started to pair more. We’re not dogmatic about pairing in any way, and wouldn’t even say that we’ve cultivated a pairing culture, but our engineers naturally come together to review each other’s pull requests and work through problems together. As we continue to grow, we hope to move further and further away from silos.
Feedback is essential for effective communication and psychological safety. However, we recognize giving effective feedback can be difficult to do – it can be uncomfortable and there's always a risk of triggering defensiveness if not done thoughtfully. As a result, feedback loops close and collaboration suffers on most teams as they grow. We care deeply about giving and receiving feedback in a way that makes others feel cared about and not targeted.
Whether it’s informally in meetings, via manager 1:1s or during all-hands, we put a lot of energy into developing good practices for giving feedback. For example, we have quarterly reviews since this allows us to check in with each other more frequently, and address what’s working well (so we can continue) and what needs to be improved. We also hold workshops on giving and receiving feedback and apply those skills in our everyday interactions. You can learn more about how we connect through feedback here.
Collaborative mapping platform for transportation planning
San Francisco, New York City, or Remote (US)
At Remix, there are several ways we practice continuous feedback. It starts internally with wanting to help ourselves continue to get better everyday. We ship code as often as we can and it’s a team effort. We get input from other engineers before a change gets pushed to production. We value learning and collaborating with each other and believe giving feedback shouldn’t be tough. There’s a deep level of trust and respect for one another, which enables us to provide feedback that’s direct, honest, quick, and genuine. We do our best to take into consideration how team members prefer to receive feedback (something you can share in your user guide), whether that’s via direct message in Slack, in the moment, or a shared channel.
Creating tighter feedback loops also extends to how we interact with our customers. Before starting new projects we have a user discovery call to understand where we can help our customers improve their workflows. Whether customers share feedback in emails, calls, or in-person, we make sure to document it in a Slack channel so the entire company has visibility. This helps us define our roadmap, quickly squash bugs, and iterate on features. We also give a subset of our customers early access so they can beta test our new tools and help us develop the final product before it is released to General Access.
Our customers’ wins are our wins. Placing a large emphasis on open lines of communication with each other and with our customers ensures what we’re building has the intended effect and is the strongest product possible.
We place a large emphasis on feedback. We use Officevibe (mentioned previously) which sends a short survey to everyone once a week and also allows folks to leave open-ended feedback. It lets us keep a pulse on how things are going, engage team members in an easy way, and identify patterns and trends to help us improve.
Every Monday, we have a company-wide meeting, and the meeting doesn’t end until someone asks the CEO a hard question. The hard question is our exit ticket, and it always generates a lot of interesting conversations. These topics can range from challenging a business or product decision to asking about how current events are impacting the company, or being curious about company strategies.
We do performance reviews twice a year which include upward feedback – direct reports provide feedback to their managers. Our founders also take advantage of this opportunity and send out a survey to collect anonymous feedback from all employees about how they’re doing and what leadership can be doing better. We also have a Slack “Feedbackbot” that encourages us to request brief start-stop-continue feedback from anyone at the company, which drives thoughtful conversations and allows us to learn from each other.
Finally, we end every Friday with “Woah What a Week.” We celebrate team wins, give shoutouts, acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries (with shoutouts about what that person has accomplished during their time at Seesaw!).
While we’re still a small engineering team, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring products to market quickly and we do so by adopting an “MVP” mindset. In other words, we make smart initial investments – releasing a basic feature set quickly – and then we rely on the insights and feedback of our users before we determine a long-term direction.
We have a tight feedback loop with our customers through our customer success team and we regularly dogfood our products to get early feedback from internal users. We encourage all of our product team to take this results-oriented approach and we look for product-minded engineers who are skillful at incorporating real-world feedback into their work. This is how we stay nimble, continue to innovate, and outmaneuver our competitors.
We view feedback as a gift. It allows us to both collectively and individually become better, and it is the foundation for how we continually grow. At a company level, we run quarterly pulse surveys to measure the overall engagement and health of our business and teams. From there, leadership takes measurable actions to improve the employee experience whether it’s around work-life balance, diversity & inclusion, or needing additional resources to be more productive.
At the team level, we do regular feedback check-ins which include 360 feedback. This feedback is used to help employees understand their strengths and identify opportunities, both of which are then incorporated into their growth plans. These plans are a collaborative effort between you and your manager.
Less formally, feedback is frequently requested at various team meetings and 1-on-1’s led by each level of the management chain. We can better understand how employees are feeling about their work and gauge the overall happiness of our teams by frequently soliciting feedback. Healthy teams are important to the success of the company and the insights our employees provide is invaluable!
Every week, we also have an incident review session where teams share postmortems from issues affecting the company (e.g. product downtime). Engineers from across the company are invited to join and share in the learnings. It serves as a great way to understand the intricacies of our technology stack and where our systems are being pushed to their limits. In these sessions, an emphasis is placed on being blameless and we focus on the process changes needed to improve in the future.
39 Open Positions
You’ll never be in the dark about how you’re doing. All engineers have weekly 1:1 meetings with their manager, and everyone has the opportunity to give regular feedback to managers and senior staff.
Even as we've grown (and more recently made the shift to being fully remote), we’ve all taken time to pause and help each other out with constructive criticism and guidance. We pride ourselves on having an engineering team that is both focused and fully engaged, and we emphasize giving and accepting feedback with grace and maturity. That combination empowers the rest of the team to go forth and do their best work.
21 Open Positions
Something that separates great teams from others is an ability to honestly confront reality, rather than see the world as we – with our own biases and hopes – want it to look. One of our core principles is “Be honest, especially when it’s hard, especially with ourselves.” This is especially important in emerging tech, as we have to ensure a careful balance between serving our customers today and building for the technology of tomorrow.
Continuous feedback is apparent on so many dimensions on our team. Engineers get constant peer feedback through spec and code reviews, and bi-weekly sessions to dive into deeper long-term topics in a collaborative, workshopping setting. Feedback Fridays give us each a chance to get feedback from our teammates to keep improving ourselves. Bi-weekly community calls are focused on feedback from the community, and one of the most common questions we ask even our very happiest developers is “what could have been better?” We are constantly seeking their feedback and input.
We’re always looking for ways we can make both the product and ourselves better, and feedback plays a crucial role. New engineers who join the team can expect to collaborate closely with others on the PED team (product, engineering, and design) as well as the community and user research teams. It’s important that we make sure we’re not just giving regular feedback to one another, but that even if it’s critical, we’re always speaking to one another in a safe and effective way. To do so, we’ve brought in coaches to help us hone our communication and feedback skills.
You don’t have to wait for 1:1s with your manager to share how things are going or thoughts you have for making our product better. We encourage everyone to speak up, and speak up often. Creating tight, effective feedback loops will help us continue to grow and learn together so we can build the strongest product possible. If you’d like to join a mission-driven startup, we’d love to hear from you!
13 Open Positions
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