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Engineering Culture

Pamela Fox
December 12, 2013

Engineering Culture

What is it? What makes it great?

Pamela Fox

December 12, 2013

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  1. What I learnt in college artificial intelligence graphics java data

    structures algorithms calculus C++ databases networking how to write code Wednesday, October 9, 13
  2. ...What I didn’t learn how to write code *for a

    company* communication code reviews conventions release process testing post mortems documentation onboarding Wednesday, October 9, 13
  3. Different goals College Company Prove that we understand a concept

    or mastered a skill. 1. Create a product that makes users happy. 2. Create a codebase that’s maintainable and not fragile. 3. Be intellectually excited by what we’re working on. 4. Do it with limited time and resources. As fast and lean as possible. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  4. That’s a lot to achieve... 1. Create a product that

    makes users happy. 2. Create a codebase that’s maintainable and not fragile. 3. Be intellectually excited by what we’re working on. 4. Do it with limited time and resources. As fast and lean as possible. And that’s why culture matters. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  5. Are you about to enter the job market? Don’t join

    a company just for their product. Join for their culture. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  6. Are you a founding engineer? You are shaping the culture

    for all the engineers that will come after you. Make it a good one. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  7. Are you in an established culture? You still have the

    power to change the culture. Nothing is set in stone. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  8. Joined when Google was X years old. Spent 5 years

    in developer relations Wednesday, October 9, 13
  9. Joined when Coursera was 5 months old. 1 year as

    Frontend Engineer Wednesday, October 9, 13
  10. Joined when KA was 2 years old. 2 months (so

    far!) as engineer/educator. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  11. The Engineering Lifecycle Onboarding Writing Code: * Understanding existing code

    * Planning your code * Writing consistent code * Testing your code * Improving your code * Releasing your code * Monitoring your code * Learning from bad code while(1) { writeCode(); } Wednesday, October 9, 13
  12. Onboarding Bad culture: Treats your first week as “initiation”. Good

    culture: Values getting everyone over the beginners hump with as many resources as possible. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  13. On-boarding Monday: Morning: - Talks: Overview, HR - Take Photos

    for Team Page Lunch: Show & Tell Afternoon: - Talk: Backend Architecture - Talk: Frontend Architecture - Talk: Code Review Process - Deploy first change together! - Meet your team Tuesday: - Work on a small change - Deploy small change Wednesday-Friday: - Pick first big project - Brainstorming meetings with designers - Begin working on it! Wednesday, October 9, 13
  14. Understanding the current code Bad culture: Expects everyone to just

    “figure it out.” Good culture: Values over-communication about what the code does, and why it does it that way. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  15. Comments # Deprecated - this is true if the problem

    was done while in # context-switching topic mode, which has since been removed from the site. # TODO(benkomalo): Remove when all references are dead topic_mode = db.BooleanProperty(indexed=False, default=False) def consume_optional_goog_info(self, goog_user): """Assigns user information from Google to this UserData. Does not call put() on this entity and expects callers to do so. Args: goog_user An instance of google.appengine.api.users.User Returns: whether or not fields were consumed and this entity was modified """ import feature_flags.infection # sad circular dependency fix :( """Holds UserData, UniqueUsername, NicknameIndex UserData: database entity holding information about a single registered user UniqueUsername: database entity of usernames that've been set on profile pages NicknameIndex: database entity allowing search for users by their nicknames """ module function TODOs + deprecation Sadness Wednesday, October 9, 13
  16. Writing consistent code Bad culture: Doesn’t care how the code

    is written, as long as it works. Good culture: Values a codebase where the code looks the same and seems to all belong together. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  17. Design Style • coursera: com • http://khanacademy.org/style Guides Re-usable CSS

    + // Typography @baseFontSize: 13px; @baseFontFamily: MuseoSans300, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans- serif; @baseLineHeight: 22px; @textColor: #444; @lightTextColor: #898989; @fontSizeTiny: 11px; @fontSizeSmall: 12px; @fontSizeNormal: 14px; @fontSizeMedium: 16px; @fontSizeLarge: 18px; @fontSizeExtraLarge: 24px; @fontSizeHuge: 36px; // Buttons @primaryButtonBackground: #89b908; @primaryButtonBorder: #76a005; @buttonTextColor: lighten(@grayDark, 15%); @buttonBorderRadius: 3px; Wednesday, October 9, 13
  18. Writing consistent code Do you follow standard conventions for every

    language in their stack? Do you have your own conventions for the frameworks you use? Wednesday, October 9, 13
  19. Testing your code Testing your code Bad culture: Expects you

    to write “safe” code, that’s magically free of bugs because you’re all so smart. Good culture: Realizes that tests are the key to a stable and maintainable codebase. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  20. Testing your code Testing your code Are there any tests?

    What kind of tests? How often are the tests run? Is there a testing requirement for new features? Is there a testing engineer or testing team? Wednesday, October 9, 13
  21. Improving your code Bad culture: Gives you no feedback on

    your code or gives you non-constructive criticism on your code. Good culture: Recognizes that code reviews are a great way for everyone to learn from each other. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  22. Improving your code Are code reviews a part of the

    engineering process? Are code reviews *required*? What tool do you use for code reviews? Wednesday, October 9, 13
  23. Releasing your code Bad culture: Makes it hard to release

    code early and often. Good culture: Enables everyone to release their code with minimal time and pain. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  24. Releasing your code How often is code deployed? How fast

    is the process? How fast is the rollback? Who's in charge of a deploy? Wednesday, October 9, 13
  25. Monitoring your code Bad culture: Releases code without paying attention

    to how it fares in the wild. Good culture: Recognizes the value of logging, alerts, and user feedback mechanisms to ensure code validity. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  26. Monitoring your code Are backend and frontend errors monitored? Are

    there user feedback mechanisms? Are there smart alerts set up? Wednesday, October 9, 13
  27. Learning from bad code Bad culture: Sweeps mistakes under the

    rug, refusing to acknowledge or learn from them, or blames them on a bad coder. Good culture: Realizes that mistakes are an opportunity for the *whole team* to learn and improve. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  28. Post-Mortems • Timeline of events • What went wrong? •

    What went right? • What specific action items would prevent this from happening in the future? https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/google-appengine/p2QKJ0OSLc8 Don’t blame. Learn. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  29. Post-Mortems • Coding bugs: “The Mass Unenrollment” • Server faults:

    “The Overloaded Database” • Security issues: “Cross-site-scripting in PHP” • Process flaws: “The Class Recyling Project” Wednesday, October 9, 13
  30. Learning from your code When bad decisions are made in

    code, how does the the team learn from them? Wednesday, October 9, 13
  31. Now what? Learn from others Share with your team Experiment

    Share with others “Team Geek” by Fitzpatrick and Collins-Sussman http://blog.pamelafox.org/2013/07/what-to-look-for-in-software.html http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html Wednesday, October 9, 13
  32. Planning your code Bad culture: Expects great code to emerge

    with no thought or collaboration. Good culture: Values the process of planning code. Wednesday, October 9, 13
  33. Design Docs • google template? • can happen in a

    jira discussion Wednesday, October 9, 13