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Engineering growth: tracks

Table of Contents

Mobile

Works effectively within established iOS or Android architectures, following current best practices

signals:

  • Delivers features requiring simple local modifications
  • Adds simple actions that call server endpoints
  • Reuses existing components appropriately

examples:

  • Added existing button to a different iOS surface
  • Add follow button for publications on Android
  • Fetched and displayed a new stream, using existing stream item styles

Develops new instances of existing architecture, or minor improvements to existing architecture

signals:

  • Defines new useful and appropriate proto-generated objects
  • Creates simple new activities on Android
  • Migrates code from old patterns to new patterns

examples:

  • Upgraded SDWebImage to a new major version
  • Added support for rendering a new type of stream item
  • Prototyped a simple new feature quickly

Designs major new features and demonstrates a nuanced understanding of mobile platform constraints

signals:

  • Implements complex features with a large product surface area
  • Works effectively with Android reactive programming framework
  • Adds support for new iOS features after a major iOS version upgrade

examples:

  • Designed iOS caching strategy for offline reading
  • Built series reader on Android
  • Informed the team about recent best practice changes and deprecations

Builds complex, reusable architectures that pioneer best practices and enable engineers to work more effectively

signals:

  • Pioneers architecture migration strategies that reduce programmer burden
  • Fixes subtle memory management issues
  • Implements interactive dismissals that bring delight

examples:

  • Upgraded CocoaPods to a new major version
  • Designed architecture for fetching and rendering stream items
  • Migrated Android persistance layer to reactive programming

Is an industry-leading expert in mobile engineering or sets strategic mobile direction for an eng team

signals:

  • Defines long-term goals and ensures active projects are in service of them
  • Designs and builds innovative, industry-leading UI interactions
  • Invents new techniques to responsibly stretch limits of the Android platform

examples:

  • Defined and drove complete migration plan to Swift or Kotlin
  • Implemented Android recycler views before platform support existed
  • Pioneered application-level abstractions for multi-app environment

Servers

Works effectively within established server side frameworks, following current best practices

signals:

  • Adds NodeJS endpoints using layers architecture
  • Adds golang endpoints using Gotham architecture
  • Makes minor server changes to support client needs

examples:

  • Added IFTTT trigger for new bookmark to medium2
  • Added delete audio route to Buggle
  • Queried a Dynamo LSI appropriately

Develops new instances of existing architecture, or minor improvements to existing architecture

signals:

  • Assesses correctness and utility of existing code and avoids blind copy-pasting
  • Generalizes code when appropriate
  • Determines data needs from product requirements

examples:

  • Identified need for new index on Dynamo
  • Acted as caretaker for routes protos
  • Updated Facebook API version and codebase dependencies

Designs standalone systems of moderate complexity, or major new features in existing systems

signals:

  • Acts as primary maintainer for existing critical systems
  • Integrates third party services effectively
  • Writes playbooks for new service maintenance

examples:

  • Implemented Google Auth login to Medium
  • Implemented payments integration with Stripe
  • Built Textshots server

Builds complex, reusable architectures that pioneer best practices for other engineers, or multi-system services

signals:

  • Delivers complex systems that achieve their goals
  • Avoids subtle architectural mistakes when considering new systems
  • Makes appropriate buy vs build choices

examples:

  • Designed Medium's ranked feed architecture
  • Designed custom domains architecture
  • Created Gotham framework for creating Go services

Is an industry-leading expert in server side engineering or sets strategic server side direction for an eng team

signals:

  • Designs transformational projects of significant complexity and scope
  • Makes decisions that have positive, long term, wide ranging consequences
  • Identifies and solves systemic problems with current architecture

examples:

  • Researched, vetted, and selected Go as Medium's statically typed language
  • Defined microservices architecture and medium2 migration plan
  • Defined and implemented proprietary IP core to the company's success

Foundations

Works effectively within established structures, following current best practices

signals:

  • Writes thorough postmortems for service outages
  • Makes simple configuration changes to services
  • Performs backfills safely and effectively, without causing pages

examples:

  • Made safe and effective Ansible changes
  • Implemented new ETL pipelines based on existing ones
  • Resolved out of disk errors independently

Develops new instances of existing architecture, or minor improvements to existing architecture

signals:

  • Made minor version upgrades to technologies
  • Builds machine learning jobs within the ML framework
  • Triages service issues correctly and independently

examples:

  • Upgraded NodeJS from 8.0 to 8.1.1
  • Built custom packages for RPMs
  • Improved ETL efficiency by improving Dynamo to S3 loading

Designs standalone systems of moderate complexity, or major new features in existing systems

signals:

  • Acts as primary maintainer for existing critical systems
  • Designs moderately complex systems
  • Makes major version upgrades to libraries

examples:

  • Designed Ansible configuration management
  • Built Medium's realtime stats pipeline
  • Designed flexible framework for writing machine learning jobs

Builds complex, reusable architectures that pioneer best practices for other engineers, or multi-system services

signals:

  • Designs complex projects that encompass multiple systems and technologies
  • Demonstrates deep knowledge of foundational systems
  • Introduces new databases and technologies to meet underserved needs

examples:

  • Designed and built BBFD
  • Designed AWS configuration management
  • Introduced Kinesis and pioneered streaming events pipeline

Is an industry-leading expert in foundational engineering or sets strategic foundational direction for an eng team

signals:

  • Designs transformational projects in service of long-term goals
  • Defines the strategic vision for foundational work and supporting technologies
  • Invents industry-leading techniques to solve complex problems

examples:

  • Invented a novel ML technique that advanced the state of the art
  • Defined and developed Medium's continuous delivery strategy
  • Developed and implemented HA strategy

Web client

Works effectively within established web client architectures, following current best practices

signals:

  • Makes minor modifications to existing screens
  • Fixes simple design quality issues
  • Uses CSS appropriately, following style guide

examples:

  • Implemented sticky footer on the post page
  • Hooked up the action to dismiss a post from a stream
  • Built PaymentHistory screen using ResponseScreen

Develops new instances of existing architecture, or minor improvements to existing architecture

signals:

  • Makes sensible abstractions based on template and code patterns
  • Specs and builds interactive components independently
  • Prototypes simple new features quickly

examples:

  • Built credit card input component
  • Created shared buttons template
  • Built modal system

Designs major new features and demonstrates a nuanced understanding of browser constraints

signals:

  • Provides useful design feedback and suggests feasible alternatives
  • Performs systemic tasks to significantly minimise bundle size
  • Acts a caretaker for all of web client code

examples:

  • Designed font loading strategy for Medium
  • Researched utility of service workers for Medium
  • Designed and implemented ResponseScreen

Builds complex, reusable architectures that pioneer best practices and enable engineers to work more effectively

signals:

  • Pioneers architecture migrations that reduce programmer burden
  • Implements complex UI transitions that bring delight
  • Makes architectural decisions that eliminate entire classes of bugs

examples:

  • Designed Medium's post morpher and delta system
  • Implemented Medium's scrolling text over image blur
  • Designed and pioneered proto-based model storage

Is an industry-leading expert in web client or sets strategic web client direction for an eng team

signals:

  • Invents new techniques to innovate and overcome browser constraints
  • Identifies and solved systemic problems with current architecture
  • Defines a long-term vision for web client and ensures projects are in service of it

examples:

  • Invented CSS in JS
  • Defined and drove migration strategy to Lite
  • Implemented unidirectional data flow to completion

Project management

Effectively delivers individual tasks

signals:

  • Estimates small tasks accurately
  • Delivers tightly-scoped projects efficiently
  • Writes effective technical specs outlining approach

examples:

  • Wrote the technical spec for featured post images
  • Delivered stream item support for email digests
  • Delivered payment history dashboard

Effectively delivers small personal projects

signals:

  • Performs research and considers alternative approaches
  • Balances pragmatism and polish appropriately
  • Defines and hits interim milestones

examples:

  • Delivered promo editor
  • Delivered audio uploading for web client
  • Executed the recommends to claps backfill

Effectively delivers projects through a small team

signals:

  • Delegates tasks to others appropriately
  • Integrates business needs into project planning
  • Chooses appropriate project management strategy based on context

examples:

  • Ran project retro to assess improvement opportunities
  • Completed launch checklist unprompted for well controlled rollout
  • Facilitated project kickoff meeting to get buy-in

Effectively delivers projects through a large team, or with a significant amount of stakeholders or complexity

signals:

  • Finds ways to deliver requested scope faster, and prioritizes backlog
  • Manages dependencies on other projects and teams
  • Leverages recognition of repeated project patterns

examples:

  • Oversaw technical delivery of Hightower
  • Managed infrastructure migration to VPC
  • Involved marketing, legal, and appropriate functions at project start

Manages major company pushes delivered by multiple teams

signals:

  • Considers external constraints and business objectives when planning
  • Leads teams of teams, and coordinates effective cross-functional collaboration
  • Owns a key company metric

examples:

  • Managed technical migration to SOA
  • Lead technical delivery of 10/7
  • Delivered multi-month engineering project on time

Communication

Communicates effectively to close stakeholders when called upon, and incorporates constructive feedback

signals:

  • Communicates project status clearly and effectively
  • Collaborates with others with empathy
  • Asks for help at the appropriate juncture

examples:

  • Updated The Watch before running a backfill
  • Updated project status changes in Asana promptly
  • Gave thoughtful check-in and check-out comments

Communicates with the wider team appropriately, focusing on timeliness and good quality conversations

signals:

  • Practises active listening and suspension of attention
  • Ensures stakeholders are aware of current blockers
  • Chooses the appropriate tools for accurate and timely communication

examples:

  • Received and integrated critical feedback positively
  • Created cross-team Slack channel for payments work
  • Spoke to domain experts before writing spec

Proactively shares information, actively solicits feedback, and facilitates communication for multiple stakeholders

signals:

  • Resolves communication difficulties between others
  • Anticipates and shares schedule deviations in plenty of time
  • Manages project stakeholder expectations effectively

examples:

  • Directed team response effectively during outages
  • Gave a substantial Eng All Hands presentation on React
  • Gave notice of upcoming related work in Eng Briefing

Communicates complex ideas skillfully and with nuance, and establishes alignment within the wider organization

signals:

  • Communicates project risk and tradeoffs skillfully and with nuance
  • Contextualizes and clarifies ambiguous direction and strategy for others
  • Negotiates resourcing compromises with other teams

examples:

  • Lead off-site workshop on interviewing
  • Wrote Medium's growth framework and rationale
  • Aligned the entire organization around claps

Influences outcomes at the highest level, moves beyond mere broadcasting, and sets best practices for others

signals:

  • Defines processes for clear communication for the entire team
  • Shares the right amount of information with the right people, at the right time
  • Develops and delivers plans to execs, the board, and outside investors

examples:

  • Organized half year check-in company offsite
  • Created the communication plan for a large organizational change
  • Presented to the board about key company metrics and projects

Craft

Delivers consistently good quality work

signals:

  • Tests new code thoroughly, both locally, and in production once shipped
  • Writes tests for every new feature and bug fix
  • Writes clear comments and documentation

examples:

  • Caught a bug on Hatch before it went live
  • Landed non-trivial PR with no caretaker comments
  • Wrote hermetic tests for the happy and sad cases

Increases the robustness and reliability of codebases, and devotes time to polishing products and systems

signals:

  • Refactors existing code to make it more testable
  • Adds tests for uncovered areas
  • Deletes unnecessary code and deprecates proactively when safe to do so

examples:

  • Requested tests for a PR when acting as reviewer
  • Reduced the number of zelda fitzgerald exceptions
  • Fixed a TODO for someone else in the codebase

Improves others' ability to deliver great quality work

signals:

  • Implements systems that enable better testing
  • Gives thoughtful code reviews as a domain expert
  • Adds tooling to improve code quality

examples:

  • Improved PRB to run the same volume of tests faster
  • Simplified hermetic test data modification
  • Created fixture system for visual quality

Advocates for and models great quality with proactive actions, and tackles difficult and subtle system issues

signals:

  • Builds systems so as to eliminate entire classes of programmer error
  • Focuses the team on quality with regular reminders
  • Coordinates Watch priorities and projects

examples:

  • Added code coverage reporting to iOS CI pipeline
  • Iterated repeatedly to develop Medium's underlines solution
  • Defined and oversaw plan for closing Heartbleed vulnerability

Enables and encourages the entire organization to make quality a central part of the development process

signals:

  • Defines policies for the engineering org that encourage quality work
  • Identifies and eliminates single points of failure throughout the organization
  • Secures time and resources from execs to support great quality

examples:

  • Negotiated resources for Fix-It week with exec team
  • Instituted and ensured success of a 20% time policy
  • Started The Watch

Initiative

Identifies opportunities for organizational change or product improvements

signals:

  • Writes Hatch posts about improvement opportunities
  • Raises meaningful tensions in tactical meetings
  • Asks leadership team probing questions at FAM

examples:

  • Wrote about problems with TTR on Hatch
  • Wrote about content policy problems on Hatch
  • Reported a site issue in Github

Causes change to positively impact a few individuals or minor improvement to an existing product or service

signals:

  • Picks bugs off the backlog proactively when blocked elsewhere
  • Makes design quality improvements unprompted
  • Takes on trust and safety tasks proactively when blocked elsewhere

examples:

  • Advocated on own behalf for a change in role
  • Implemented flow typing for promises
  • Audited web client performance in Chrome and proposed fixes

Causes change to positively impact an entire team or instigates a minor feature or service

signals:

  • Demonstrates concepts proactively with prototypes
  • Fixes complicated bugs outside of regular domain
  • Takes ownership of systems that nobody owns or wants

examples:

  • Defined style guide to resolve style arguments
  • Proposed and implemented at-mentions prototype
  • Implemented video for Android independently, unprompted

Effects change that has a substantial positive impact on the engineering organization or a major product impact

signals:

  • Champions and pioneers new technologies to solve new classes of problem
  • Exemplifies grit and determination in the face of persistent obstacles
  • Instigates major new features, services, or architectures

examples:

  • Created the interviewing rubric and booklet
  • Implemented and secured support for native login
  • Migrated medium2 to mono repo and bazel

Effects change that has a substantial positive impact on the whole company

signals:

  • Creates a new function to solve systemic issues
  • Galvanizes the entire company and garners buy in for a new strategy
  • Changes complex organizational processes

examples:

  • Migrated the organization from Holacracy
  • Built Medium Android prototype and convinced execs to fund it
  • Convinced leadership and engineering org to move to Medium Lite architecture

Org design

Respects and participates in processes, giving meaningful feedback to help the organization improve

signals:

  • Reflects on meetings that leave them inspired or frustrated
  • Teaches others about existing processes
  • Actively participates and makes contributions within organizational processes

examples:

  • Facilitated effective tactical meeting with empathy
  • Explained tactical meeting format to a new hire
  • Provided feedback on sprint planning meeting

Identifies opportunities to improve existing processes and makes changes that positively affect the local team

signals:

  • Defines meeting structure and cadence that meets team needs
  • Engages in organizational systems thinking
  • Advocates for improved diversity and inclusion, and proposes ideas to help

examples:

  • Defined Frankenmeeting structure for small team
  • Improved Watch on-call rotation scheduling
  • Defined standard channels for inter-team communication

Develops processes to solve ongoing organizational problems

signals:

  • Creates programs that meaningfully improve organizational diversity
  • Solves long-standing organizational problems
  • Reallocates resources to meet organizational needs

examples:

  • Developed baseline team templates for consistency
  • Created bug-rotation program to address ongoing quality issues
  • Defined Guilds manifesto and charter

Thinks deeply about organizational issues and identifies hidden dynamics that contribute to them

signals:

  • Evaluates incentive structures and their effect on execution
  • Analyzes existing processes for bias and shortfall
  • Ties abstract concerns to concrete organizational actions or norms

examples:

  • Connected mobile recruiting difficulties to focus on excellence
  • Raised leadership level change discrepancies
  • Analyzed the hiring rubric for false negative potential

Leads initiatives to address issues stemming from hidden dynamics and company norms

signals:

  • Builds programs to train leadership in desired skills
  • Creates new structures that provide unique growth opportunities
  • Leads planning and communication for reorgs

examples:

  • Lead efforts to increase number of mobile engineers
  • Directed resources to meaningfully improve diversity at all levels
  • Built the growth framework rubric

Accomplishment

Helps individuals identify blockers and helps them identify next steps for resolution

signals:

  • Notices when someone is stuck and reaches out
  • Helps others break down problems into feasible, tangible next steps
  • Talks through problems non-judgmentally

examples:

  • Completed training on diagnosing problems
  • Unblocked a group member
  • Reinforces and affirms positive feedback for good work

Helps individuals resolve difficult performance issues, with insight, compassion, and skill

signals:

  • Gathers context outside the immediate problem
  • Recognizes issues within local environment and suggests change
  • Works to encourage ownership of actions and responsibilities

examples:

  • Completed training on decision making
  • Convinced a group member to solve a problem directly, rather than doing it for them
  • Gave honest feedback about poor performance, with compassion

Intervenes in long-standing performance issues with targeted behavior change or performance plans

signals:

  • Aggregates signals of poor performance and creates process for improvement
  • Investigates motivation and externalities for consistent poor performance
  • Puts together comprehensive, achievable performance plans

examples:

  • Worked with group member to address persistent communication failures
  • Arranged a transfer to another team, resulting in improved performance
  • Managed group member closely to maximise chances of PIP success

Mediates escalated situations, empowers underperforming teams, and resolves conflict

signals:

  • Recognizes heightened situations and toxic or aggressive interactions
  • Inserts themself into conflict where appropriate to calm and mediate
  • Encourages open dialog and builds trust between parties in conflict

examples:

  • Empowered a team to drive forward amidst uncertainty
  • Protected team from externalities so they could focus on goals
  • Mediated sit-down between team members to address tension

Resolves complex organizational dysfunction, or persistent conflict at senior levels

signals:

  • Takes control of dysfunctional teams to organise chaos
  • Repairs broken team dynamics and builds harmony
  • Presides over a well-oiled team of teams

examples:

  • Turned around the performance of a problematic team
  • De-escalated serious tensions between teams
  • Rebuilt trust between senior team leads

Wellbeing

Uses tools and processes to help ensure colleagues are healthy and happy

signals:

  • Keeps confidences unless legally or morally obliged to do otherwise
  • Applies the reasonable person principle to others
  • Avoids blame and focuses on positive change

examples:

  • Ensured group members were taking enough vacation
  • Put themself in another's shoes to understand their perspective
  • Checked in with colleague showing signs of burnout

Creates a positive, supportive, engaging team environment for group members

signals:

  • Sheds light on other experiences to build empathy and compassion
  • Validates ongoing work and sustains motivation
  • Proposes solutions when teams get bogged down or lose momentum

examples:

  • Coordinated a small celebration for a project launch
  • Connected tedious A|B testing project with overall company goals
  • Noted a team without a recent win and suggested some easy quick wins

Manages expectations across peers, leads in the org, promotes calm, and prevents consensus building

signals:

  • Trains group members to separate stimulus from response
  • Maintains a pulse on individual and team morale
  • Helps group members approach problems with curiosity

examples:

  • Completed training on transference and counter transference
  • Completed training on compromise and negotiation techniques
  • Reframed a problem as a challenge, instead of a barrier, when appropriate

Advocates for the needs of teams and group members, and proactively works to calm the organization

signals:

  • Ensures team environments are safe and inclusive, proactively
  • Grounds group member anxieties in reality
  • Tracks team retention actively and proposes solutions to strengthen it

examples:

  • Relieved org tension around product direction by providing extra context
  • Encouraged group members to focus on what they can control
  • Guided people through complex organizational change

Manages narratives, channels negativity into inspiration and motivation, and protects the entire team

signals:

  • Recognizes and points out narratives when appropriate
  • Works to reshape narratives from victimization to ownership
  • Increases the psychological safety of the entire team

examples:

  • Converted group member from a problem haver to a problem solver
  • Challenged false narrative and redirected to compassion and empathy
  • Cultivated and championed a culture of empathy within the entire team

Career development

Gives insight into opportunities and helps identify individuals' strengths and weaknesses

signals:

  • Advocates on behalf and in defense of a group member
  • Shares opportunities for improvements and recognises achievements
  • Explains appropriate available industry paths

examples:

  • Collected and delivered feedback
  • Discussed career options and areas of interest informally
  • Hosted a Floodgate Academy intern

Formally supports and advocates for one person and provides tools to help them solve career problems

signals:

  • Ensure a group member has an appropriate role on their team
  • Offers effective career advice to group members, without being prescriptive
  • Creates space for people to talk through challenges

examples:

  • Set up and attended regular, constructive 1:1s
  • Provided coaching on how to have difficult conversations
  • Taught group members the GROW model

Inspires and retains a small group of people and actively pushes them to stretch themselves

signals:

  • Discusses paths, and creates plans for personal and professional growth
  • Advocates to align people with appropriate roles within organization
  • Works with team leads to elevate emerging leaders

examples:

  • Reviewed individual group member progression every 6 weeks
  • Suggested appropriate group member for Tech Lead position
  • Arranged a requested switch of discipline for a group member

Manages interactions and processes between groups, promoting best practices and setting a positive example

signals:

  • Manages team transitions smoothly, respecting team and individual needs
  • Develops best practices for conflict resolution
  • Ensures all group members' roles are meeting their career needs

examples:

  • Completed training on situational leadership
  • Built a resourcing plan based on company, team, and individual goals
  • Prevented regretted attrition with intentional, targeted intervention

Supports the development of a signficant part of the engineering org, and widely viewed as a trusted advisor

signals:

  • Supports and develops senior leaders
  • Identified leadership training opportunities for senior leadership
  • Pushes everyone to be as good as they can be, with empathy

examples:

  • Provided coaching to group leads
  • Devised Pathwise curriculum for group leads
  • Advocated to execs for engineer development resources and programs

Evangelism

Represents Medium well externally, and influences individuals positively

signals:

  • Shares personal and organizational successes with their network
  • Attends Medium-hosted events and talks with guests
  • Communicates genuine and honest excitement about their work externally

examples:

  • Shared a Medium product launch post on Facebook
  • Acted as a guide for a non-friend visitor to the office
  • Supported PR efforts by giving a quote or having a photo taken

Participates more centrally in small events, and takes simple actions that positively influence groups of people

signals:

  • Takes meaningful action to introduce people to Medium
  • Joined public Slack group and represented Medium appropriately, and well
  • Organizes positive small- or medium-sized events that bring people to Medium

examples:

  • Volunteered as a helper for CODE2040 writing workshop
  • Organized a short tour of the office by college students
  • Talked at a Women Who Code event hosted at Medium

Works hard to positively influence large groups of people on their views of Medium

signals:

  • Mentors or participates in a high visibility way in an external organization
  • Builds fruitful partnerships with external organizations
  • Writes blog posts about Medium that receive moderate traffic

examples:

  • Represented Medium on a panel at a conference of industry experts
  • Established close ties with Creative Commons
  • Built a durable, long-standing relationship with Code2040

Establishes Medium as an great, innovative company and workplace to the whole industry

signals:

  • Establishes themself as an industry thought leader who attracts talent
  • Publishes material about Medium's organizational or technical innovations
  • Leverages significant following to evangelise Medium

examples:

  • Published a paper on Medium technology in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Authored joint-press release with EFF on DNT
  • Published "Why Content Editable Is Terrible" on the Medium engineering blog

Introduces Medium in a positive light to a wider audience outside the industry

signals:

  • Delivers key messages to broad, mainstream audiences
  • Influences people with large audiences to talk about Medium positively
  • Drives recognition and adoption of Medium in significant numbers

examples:

  • Published or interviewed in a mainstream newspaper or website outside tech
  • Keynoted a conference with international attention
  • Represented Medium in national televised media

Community

Is available and present on current teams, and works to contribute positively to company culture

signals:

  • Participates in team activities and offsites
  • Treats colleagues and clients with respect
  • Joins groups or committees outside regular duties

examples:

  • Joined and actively participated in the web client guild
  • Brought a small gift back from vacation for the team
  • Wrote entertaining and informative Prod Ops writeups on Hatch

Steps up, builds connectedness, and takes concrete actions to promote an inclusive culture

signals:

  • Makes space for others to participate
  • Collaborates with other engineers outside direct responsibilities
  • Finds ways to ramp up and engage new hires quickly

examples:

  • Created onboarding bingo
  • Brought shy and introverted people into a dominant conversation
  • Volunteered as secretary for a team

Contributes to improving team relatedness, and helps build a culture of lending support

signals:

  • Takes on additional Watch shifts at short notice
  • Pitches in to help other teams hit deadlines, without missing own deadlines
  • Uses position to raise difficult issues on someone's behalf

examples:

  • Lead Watch cycles with little support while still contributing to projects
  • Started and drove the LGBTQIA ERG
  • Stayed positive and improved team morale during period after layoffs

Exemplifies selflessness for the team without compromising responsibilities, and lifts everyone up

signals:

  • Goes above and beyond on the Watch, serving the team without complaint
  • Implements concrete programs to signficantly improve team inclusivity
  • Takes on large amounts of tedious grunt work for the team without being asked

examples:

  • Devoted large amount of time to helping outside direct responsibilities
  • Refactored hundreds of legacy Shepherd nodes
  • Acted as sole maintainer of Boxen for years

Lives the company values, guards positive culture, and defines policies that support relatedness between teams

signals:

  • Brings separate teams together to build relatedness
  • Holds individuals, teams, and leadership accountable to Medium's values
  • Sets the tone, policy, and goals around maintaining an inclusive company

examples:

  • Organized wine and olive tasting offsite to Napa for the whole engineering org
  • Devised, delivered and acted on findings from an engineer happiness survey
  • Challenged and corrected exclusionary behaviour or policies

Recruiting

Brings new candidates into the pipeline and understands how to evaluate candidates at Medium

signals:

  • Reviews existing network for hiring leads regularly
  • Shadows interviews to gain familiarity with process
  • Reviews current job postings regularly

examples:

  • Completed interview calibration
  • Set up casual sessions to practice asking questions
  • Referred appropriate individuals for open positions

Interviews regularly, helps the team make meaningful hiring decisions, and helps build a diverse pipeline

signals:

  • Uses interview rubric to provide clear, objective feedback on candidates
  • Interviews candidates with empathy and treats them all with equal respect
  • Researches approaches for sourcing candidates and diversifying hiring

examples:

  • Added observable evidence for every rating
  • Started a monthly brunch for candidates to meet Medium employees
  • Tested a new service for quality and diversity of candidates

Maintains and strengthens the integrity of the current process, and regularly brings in great candidates

signals:

  • Teaches new interviewers how to interview with empathy
  • Models great interview technique and feedback when shadowed
  • Reverse shadows trainees and helps calibrate their feedback

examples:

  • Wrote new interview question which meets our question quality criteria
  • Brought candidates into our pipeline proactively, with a high conversion rate
  • Proposed useful, tangible improvements to the interview process

Actively contributes to and leads hiring decisions, and goes to great lengths to source great candidates

signals:

  • Documents subtle cues in interviews that indicate values alignment
  • Makes hiring decisions, resolving discrepancies between conflicting reports
  • Top-grades candidates and teases out character traits

examples:

  • Planned engineering summit on interview process and training
  • Organized and lead Medium's presence at a recruitment fair
  • Started CODE2040 internship program

Sets recruitment strategy, invests in long-term relationships for critical roles, and recruits at scale

signals:

  • Sets the tone, policy and goals around building a diverse, high-quality team
  • Identifies and brings in promising acquisitions
  • Tracks industry activity, identifying opportunities for critical roles

examples:

  • Talked with a senior candidate over many months to fill a critical role
  • Organized efforts around convincing acquired engineers to join and stay
  • Set goals, then tracked and reported metrics on team demographics over time

Mentorship

Informally mentors individuals in an ad-hoc way, supports new hires, and conveys institutional knowledge

signals:

  • Makes themself available for informal support and advice
  • Acts as sounding board for peers and more junior members
  • Provides sound advice when asked

examples:

  • Acted as an onboarding buddy
  • Paired with an engineer to help them with an unfamiliar area
  • Helped a colleague understand their feelings

Mentors people proactively, and guides people to realizations rather than providing the answer

signals:

  • Takes time to explain concepts and best practices
  • Asks questions to illuminate concepts, rather than stating them
  • Allows others to lead efforts when it will help their development

examples:

  • Shared interesting article with a team member to help with their growth
  • Offered unprompted feedback to help growth, with empathy
  • Lead from behind to support someone new to a leadership role

Teaches small groups of engineers and contributes to Medium's shared knowledge base

signals:

  • Avoids siloing information when it can be usefully shared with others
  • Works to increase the bus factor of systems
  • Finds tools that work best for a team member's personality

examples:

  • Gave a brown bag presentation on payments
  • Wrote Hatch post on avoiding RDS backfill issues
  • Wrote Medium-U content module

Encourages people to mentor each other, and creates ways for them to do so

signals:

  • Defines an entire curriculum for a discipline
  • Draws positive attention to well-modeled mentor and teaching behaviours
  • Creates brown bag series and lines up speakers

examples:

  • Created and lead Medium's Women in Eng group
  • Organized an Eng All Hands with an outside speaker
  • Designed and taught web client guild curriculum

Instills and promotes a culture of learning and development within the team

signals:

  • Sets incentive structures to recognise and reward mentorship
  • Empowers team members to develop themselves
  • Role models productive and healthy mentor relationships

examples:

  • Instituted the professional education budget for engineers
  • Mentored mentors
  • Started the eng advisor program and lined up external mentors
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