Alex's Undercover Blog

Flickr Engineering Team Vision and Guiding Principals

Posted: 2021-11-25T03:59:01.030Z[UTC] by Alex

This past Monday, Flickr Engineering released its Team Vision and Guiding Principals. They’re high-level tenets that the team strives to live by.

This is a quick read but has some really great advice for development teams (though all of it may not apply to your current team). Though all are very helpful, the principals that stand out the most to me are:

  1. ‘’Psychological safety:’’ These sorts of lists often forget the non-customer aspect of things. Safe and appreciated engineers tend to be productive engineers.
  2. ‘’Own your dependencies:’’ I love the idea of contributing back to your dependencies, especially in cases where they’re not a perfect fit but could be with a bit of a nudge.
  3. ‘’Appreciate what came before:’’ I used to be very judge mental of those that originally put together the systems that I owned. “This is awful! Why the heck did they do it this way?” It wasn’t until I was put in situations where the tables had turned that I realized how unreasonable it was. You often have no idea what reasons were used to justify a design or code decision made. If the present situation dictates that a previous solution should be changed to make things better, do it. It’s important to have empathy for those that came before you.

I’ve always had a soft-spot in my heart for Flickr, even though I’ve not been a customer of them for years. I’m pleased to see they’re still doing great work.