Engineering principles: Shaping the solution and building in small steps

With every product we build, we’re always aiming to deliver the most value to our customers as quickly as possible. Our engineering principles help us do just that.

Our product principles are deeply embedded in Intercom’s culture. Over the years, they’ve helped us keep teams aligned, create products our customers love, and guide our decisions through every roadmap, every strategy meeting, and every onboarding.

Recently, we started a blog series exploring the thought process behind each of our product principles, written by the people that know them the best – our R&D team. So far, on the engineering side, we’ve covered the importance of keeping it simple and being technically conservative. Today, we’re going to tackle two more.

First off, our Group Engineering Manager, Levent Ali, explains how engineers should be taking ownership of the solution. It not only encourages engineers to grow and see a product or feature through but ultimately, it means you’re building a product with a variety of perspectives and expertise, which helps to improve the outcome for the customer:

“It also means that engineers learn to think like designers and product managers – and vice versa – making for smoother processes, more effective dynamics, and ultimately, better products. Each discipline starts asking similar questions and caring about the same outcomes, leading to a culture of ownership and zero blame. No one ever says ‘it’s not my job’”

We’ll also hear Principle Product Engineer, Aidan Lynch, talking about how delivering changes in a series of small, easy-to-understand steps speeds up product development and delivers value to customers more quickly:

“Building within complex systems is challenging. When bugs crop up in large changes, or bloated features miss the mark, it’s hard to pinpoint the specific issue. Small steps make it easier to validate, change, and move on – confident you’re building on solid ground”

Looking for a little more? Check out more episodes of our podcast here. You can follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or grab the RSS feed in your player of choice.