Applying Andela’s EPIC Values to Software Engineering

In my last post, I listed 12 attributes I believe to be key to good engineering leadership. The 7th attribute was:

A documented set of engineering practices & values the team lives by

In this post, I will describe my team’s engineering values and how they cascade from the overarching company values.

What are Andela’s values?

Andela’s values are Excellence, Passion, Integrity, Collaboration or “EPIC” for short. These values drive the day-to-day decision making for every Andelan, the way we work and collaborate globally, regardless of timezone, country or office.

Each department then uses these values to guide how they operate while incorporating nuance and context from their specific job function (e.g. Sales, IT, Engineering, etc).

How we apply Andela’s EPIC Values

I lead the Engineering team within Andela’s Technology department which is responsible for architecting, implementing, and delivering technology solutions to help scale Andela’s business operations.

My team is geographically spread across multiple locations in Africa (Lagos, Nairobi & Kampala), and we are committed to the notion of distributed authority and individual empowerment. To facilitate this we need alignment around common values and goals. Because the alternative is to regress into command and control systems.

These values define how we respond to situations and how we make decisions. We came together as a team to identify the philosophy we want to follow when making engineering decisions; from architecture, building new features, fixing bugs, responding to customer issues, etc while in alignment with Andela Company Values.

Simply put, what does it mean to be an EPIC Engineer at Andela?

Excellence

We are lifelong learners who strive for mastery of our craft

  • We plan, execute and deliver on time
  • We aspire and strive to reach mastery of our craft
  • We don’t sacrifice quality for velocity
  • We strive for simplicity

Passion

We believe we are going to change the world and act accordingly

  • We learn with curiosity
  • We remain resilient & persistent
  • We empathize with our users and optimize for their value
  • We actively look for opportunities to better serve our users

Integrity

We choose extraordinary people, then trust them to do the right thing

  • We don’t over-engineer and we don’t cut corners
  • We trust each other to take ownership without being prompted to
  • We share our concerns, blockers, failures and successes freely and openly
  • We avoid the blame game, yet don’t shy away from giving or receiving hard feedback

Collaboration

We know our sum is greater than our parts

  • We put the team before ourselves
  • We are remote and distributed first
  • We over-communicate to stay informed
  • We are consistent and intentional about knowledge sharing
  • We collaboratively create solutions and resolve issues

We leverage these values to celebrate each other and/or give each other feedback whenever an engineer does something we consider or do not consider to be EPIC. We are able to grow our team and propagate the culture to new team members while staying true to Andela’s overarching values.


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