Angaza’s collectives are small groups of 2 to 4 engineers, some with a product manager additionally attached, focused on a single set of engineering concerns. For example, one collective is dedicated to straight ahead roadmap features, while another focuses on devops issues.
Each collective has a high degree of autonomy, physically sits together, and owns their internal lightweight processes. This means that each collective determines what time they’ll have daily standups and how they manage their own workloads and deliverables. Across collectives, there is a high degree of communication to coordinate cross-cutting concerns or dependencies, where one collective’s deliverable may affect another’s operations, e.g.
Every quarter, engineers choose their own adventure, rotating onto the collective of their choice (within business constraints, of course). This structure allows for a few interesting features:
Overall, our collective system is working well for our engineering team, but we’re not dogmatic about it. If and when we need to iterate on our internal organization, we’ll happily do it again.
Our teams have a clear purpose, and people work together toward shared objectives. We are not a culture of individual achievers, even though individual accountabilities are clear. Objectives are set on a three-month cadence where the full team weighs in. Each month, we conduct a retrospective process that serves as an opportunity to clarify roles and improve the way we work together. Each week, we use our own software to prioritize against planned objectives and emergent opportunities. We’re a small team that works closely with one another -- get to know us!
Somewhere between 80% and 90% of our work is done while pairing. We pair program regardless of location, so whether you’re physically side by side at the office or on your own in the comfort of your own home, we’ll likely pair. We tried tools like tmate and saros for collaborative editing, but have also found that simple video calls with screen sharing work. The drivers share their screen and the co-drivers do their best to not interfere except for talking. If anything, remote pairing has helped us become more disciplined when pairing! 😀
We enjoy being a cohesive team, even when we’re not physically coding. We eat lunch together, do a team breakfast each month, and regularly get drinks together after work. Our engineering team is also close to the other teams at the company. Every month, we do an information exchange and also meeting to touch base on what our company values are and discuss our company’s culture. Once a year, we also have team days where we visit a new European city.
It’s a reflection of how humble we are and what motivates us day-to-day. Team members will go out of their way to help each other, even if it means that their personal tasks will fall behind, so long as it is in the interest of the greater good.
We emphasize this by aligning the entire team around a common team goal and being fully transparent on how we progress towards that goal. And when we meet those goals, we celebrate as a team! Recently we took the entire team on a 3-day retreat to Whistler and went white water rafting. We have monthly social events where significant others are always welcome.
Another example is how we do our year-end bonuses, which are tied transparently to team objectives, rather than individual ones. In that way, either the entire team wins or the entire team loses!
As founders, we go out of our way to collect everyone’s feedback through monthly one-on-one meetings, surveys, and voting on Trello/excel, this includes office location, off-site activities, as well general company process improvements. We are open to hiring individuals who prefer to work alone. At the end of the day, it's about getting the work done, and finding joy and meaning in the work that you do, regardless of the personalities around you. I want to attract candidates who want to take on a lot of responsibility at a growth stage company, is emotionally mature, and wants to work in a drama free environment.
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Everything we do is team based. We have two pairing rooms (called Pairadise), which are always occupied. We focus on aligning around team goals throughout projects, which means we’re incentivized to give and receive help (pairing, mentoring, whiteboarding, unblocking tickets, etc.) over focusing on solo hero work.
Collaboration also prevents us from creating silos of knowledge. It facilitates information sharing and there are many “game-changing” instances where one person’s good habits or use of a awesome tool gets shared across the team to everyone’s benefit.
Above all, we are big believers of succeeding and failing together as a team. We celebrate feature launches with a physical trophy ceremony where the team presents who built what and why. They then place a small token that represents the project in a glass case with white gloves, music playing, and all the pomp and circumstance a feature release deserves.
A lot of what we do at Box is team-centric. For one, even though we’re becoming a large company (~300 engineers), we still hire into individual teams rather than hiring into the greater organization and then later placing people on teams that need more resources. Once you’ve joined your team, you’ll likely do team building activities to help you and your teammates assess how the overall team is doing. We have different work experiences, perspectives, and working styles and no two teams have the same dynamic. It’s important that we draw from our past experiences and share ideas, practices, and processes to elevate the team while also making sure to learn from what didn’t work. We are incredibly team oriented in this regard. Engineering managers also work together to share knowledge and help one another build engaging, cohesive team cultures. What is the best team you’ve ever been a part of and why? We want to know.
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The product we “build” is really the human being that goes to your house to provide homecare. That’s what we offer. All of the clever technology we build in the backend is in support of that, and if that experience is bad, then it doesn’t matter that we used the latest and greatest coding algorithms. All of this is to say that we are an incredibly team-oriented company where every department plays a critical part to the greater whole. Most of the time, what engineers find is intuitive is not so to our Care Professionals and what is intuitive for Care Professionals is not so for us. It’s the collaborative intersection between us that makes Honor what it is.
Part of being a team is understanding one another. That is why we shadow our Care Professionals, we’ve volunteered with the local San Francisco Village, and we hold internal internships with different teams. These are incredibly enlightening.
Our engineering department is split into four distinct teams: Product, Platform, TechOps, and Customers. The Product Team owns customer facing features like adding API endpoints, new protocol support, and our developer dashboards. The Platform Team develops and maintains robust, scalable, and easy-to-use abstractions in support of the Product Team. Our TechOps team creates, manages, and ensures the smooth and secure operation of our technical infrastructure. Finally, Our Customers Team owns the issues that don’t seem to fit anywhere else, but are important to our customers.
Each team has a team lead who both decides on its process and how to empower each team member to have an active voice on important engineering and product decisions. The teams hold regular retrospectives to reflect on what is and is not working well.
One of our strengths is having an open and clear communication channel between different teams. The Technical and the Business teams are both just a stone's throw away from each other. We try to eat lunch together, and also have monthly team dinners so that we can bond with one another. While we do provide the facility of working remotely, we prefer working together as a team.
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A great example of how teamwork manifests itself at Sonar is how in our internal hackathons. Once a month, we host a hackathon to allow everyone to spend a day working on something that they’re really excited about, or in some cases, something that has been really bothering them. The only rule is that it has to be something that is unrelated to our OKRs. It’s a time when everyone can work on something independently and whatever it is, you can still get help from your peers. It might not be on the roadmap and it might not be something that is especially exciting to me, but if you ask for help on a problem, I’m going to treat it like it’s my problem too. At our last hackathon, Rebecca made a translation service to translate messages using the Google translate API and Sarah, Matt worked on refactoring the API, and Sarah and Neeharika worked on calling through Sonar together.
We value transparency and every team member is welcome to challenge anyone else’s assumptions. Our engineers constantly challenge Daria, the CEO, on any decision from how we run our 1:1’s to our annual planning process. One of our three team values is challenge everyone’s opinion and think for yourself.
We encourage collaboration among our teams in San Francisco, Melbourne, and Berlin to work on solving problems together by bringing their unique experiences and thoughts to the table. We believe that by working together we find the best solution and produce a greater quality of work. Our track record over the last 11 years can speak for itself. Teamwork also enables our Bubblers to feel a sense of belonging, togetherness, and a deep commitment to one another and their team goals. Whether it’s through inter-office travel, slack, or a trusty Google Meet, you will certainly get to know your teammates well.
When you join Redbubble, we hire into individual teams set around key business initiatives (AKA themes), rather than the greater organization. This allows folks to truly feel connected to their work and enables them to feel their impact as a unit. Whether it’s attracting new global users to our site; helping customers find that work of art that puts a smile on their face; scaling our operations; or strengthening relationships with our consumers, you’ll certainly find the team that sparks your interest.
There is an unmistakable sense of camaraderie on our team. Collaboration within our engineering team as well as across the various orgs at the company is central to how we operate. We vote on all important decisions whether it’s in regards to hiring, style conventions, or new libraries. Everyone has a say. The level of teamwork is really one of the best parts of working at DataFox. If you have a question or are stuck on a bug, you have plenty of resources sitting right next to you. If you need a sounding board or want someone’s opinion on something you’re working on, anyone will happily pull up a chair.
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