What “mission-driven” actually means to an engineering team

Every company has a mission statement — but not all companies are considered mission-driven. That only happens when the mission serves a higher purpose — and when you have people turning up for work each day knowing that what they do today will change and save lives. That sense of purpose drives engagement, collaboration, and fulfillment — a win-win for all involved.

A LinkedIn/Imperative study backs this up: employees who feel a strong sense of purpose at work are 54 percent more likely to stay at a company for five years, and 30 percent more likely to develop into high-performers. That’s the kind of team we want at Quartet — it’s what I was drawn to first when I was interviewing for a role on the engineering team.

I spent most of my career in healthcare, so it was important for me to work on something I cared deeply about — improving access to mental healthcare. I believed then, and even more a year later, that collaboratively tackling a difficult problem to improve people’s lives strengthens and empowers an engineering team.

Our mission drives our engineers to do their best work every day, especially when the work is technically challenging. For us, meaningful work necessitates a set of values that every team member upholds: these ensure we encourage and celebrate the right behaviors and align with the rest of the company.

We’re all about impact.

For us, being a mission-driven team means building towards improved patient outcomes while delivering real value to primary care and mental health providers. Bridging the gap between physical and mental healthcare presents us with a significant challenge — but together, our team is building solutions to deliver personalized, integrated care at scale.

Our architecture was built for flexibility, allowing us to grow, adapt, and rapidly iterate on our products as we build to further the mission. For any foundational project we do, engineers create design documents and open them up to other team members to debate and discuss approach. It’s all of our responsibility to ensure we make sound decisions in every part of our technology stack.

This also necessitates working on cross-functional teams: we bring in insights from product, data science, and marketing to inform what our users need, and not what they think they might want. Our user-centered design approach means that we directly engage with our users, allowing us to build a platform that supports providers in caring for patients and, in turn, helps patients lead healthier, happier lives. For me, for our whole team, that impact is far more important than building something flashy that doesn’t actually meet the practical needs of our users.

We put we before me.

We believe that team success is more important than individual wins and that diverse ideas are more valuable than a singular viewpoint. Sharing our diverse perspectives has resulted in better solutions and has encouraged all of us to contribute to our team’s success, not to get ahead ourselves. We value engineers who can weigh pros and cons of an approach or tactic — and who seek to understand why we prioritize some features over others.

“We before me” translates to helping each other out, too: engineers are responsible for providing timely code reviews and pair programming, for example, to help each other through difficult problems. We document our struggles to share our learnings and make life easier for our teammates and future selves. We retro our sprints and our mistakes and ensure we learn from them, together, to get better.

We embrace change.

We’re engineers — we signed up for a life of constant learning. We learn new patterns, improve our testing mechanisms, unlearn bad habits. Personal growth is supported through coaching from senior engineers and development discussions with your manager. As a larger team, we share things we learn in our product and tech meetups and informally through Slack.

One of the great benefits of being an engineer at a rapidly growing startup is that it inherently fosters the ability to experiment, learn, and iterate on our products and services. We believe in running experiments and using data insights to measure the outcomes. We prefer data over personal bias to help drive better decision making and outcomes. We automate reports and dashboards to surface important information about how our systems are being used and when problems occur.

We go beyond.

We’re always looking for opportunities to improve and proactively create better solutions. We encourage engineers to step outside their comfort zone by participating in field visits to meet the providers we’re working to help, and pitching in on calls to support patients. We have found it extremely valuable for engineers to develop empathy for, and understand the perspectives of, our users. The combination of proactive problem-solving and focus on users ensures we always raise the bar of our engineering teams.

A year into my work at Quartet, I continue to be excited to come to work every day. This isn’t a one-person show: our mission drives all of us each day to our best work and together tackle a real, meaningful problem that impacts millions of lives across the country.

We’re making big strides, but our mission to help people lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives has not been accomplished yet — we need more great minds to help us get there. Join us.