Engineering Values Handbook – Strong Ideas, Loose Ideas > News
(Not sure what this article is about? Check out Living Bungie’s values as engineers.)
You are still here! Welcome! At this point, you know why you’re here, so let’s dive straight into…
When we first went through the Engineering Values Handbook as a team, we ended up in a days-long thread digging into this specific value. It turned out that we all pretty much agreed on the term “loosely held”, but we had many different interpretations of “strong ideas”! Was it strong advocacy, ensuring ideas were heard fairly? Brave proposals that challenge conventional wisdom? Thoughtful proposals that avoid This section of the manual has given us the opportunity to get into this kind of nuance.
We believe that good ideas can come from anyone, regardless of title, seniority or discipline.
- We strive to have an egalitarian feel in all interactions.
- We seek mutual psychological safety. We recognize the near universality of impostor syndrome and try to edify each other, freely showing respect and admiration while taking great care of the tone and context of criticism.
- We try to visibly show respect to everyone by default, even and especially when we haven’t worked with them yet. This is especially essential to ensure the psychological safety of new employees who have not yet established their institutional credibility.
- During debate and decision-making, we try to separate ideas from those who proposed them.
|“About a year ago, I transitioned from gameplay engineering to graphics, and shortly after that I started working on my first major feature planning job. As I was talking about space problems with my mentor, Mark Davis, a senior graphics engineer with over twenty years of experience, I was struck by the fact that it was just two graphics engineers solving problems together. quite clear that I had an equal footing in the discussion as we went back and forth over potential solutions and complications, and I had never been afraid to challenge ideas or propose them. felt like an integral member of any discussion and my input is valuable and meaningful, whether it’s with Mark, the graphics team, other engineers, or Bungie as a whole. beginning of a career in a new discipline, I grown in my new role and learned so much from being empowered in this way, and it made for a deeply fulfilling and fun experience.
Abby Welsh, 2020-
We are brave enough to be seen as wrong.
- Being seen as wrong can be scary, but it’s essential to our success. If we let our fear discourage us, we sacrifice opportunities for creativity and growth.
- Being seen as wrong should never be a traumatic experience. You should feel welcomed and supported by the team. Our work to maintain psychological safety is essential here (see section above) – we create a place where you don’t have to “toughen up” to feel safe if you mess up.
- We are brave enough to make proposals to help move a plan forward even when our chances of being wrong are high…we’re not sitting back waiting to be 100% sure we’ll look smart with our suggestion.
- We are brave enough to have our ideas challenged without feeling personally attacked.– we try to remember that we are respected despite everything.
- We are brave enough to raise concerns or ideas even when we are not an expert or we raise them to someone older.
- We are brave enough to share our ideas early, seek improvements from others and avoid tweaking our ideas alone for big revelations that catch others off guard.
|“During the development of the new engine model, the Activity Scripting team reorganized how and where activity scripts run in the server ecosystem. Distributing them among various agents within the ecosystem allowed for a more great expressiveness, but it also created a timing trap for writing scripts that might crash or behave unexpectedly due to race conditions. To mitigate this possibility, I proposed a process for code for scripts created by designers similar to engineering code reviews This was not a practice that designers were experienced in and most people who heard my pitch thought we wouldn’t get broad buy-in Instead, we pivoted the technical design to mitigate risk with minimal loss of script expressiveness and did not adopt d are designers at that time. Discussing it as a team allowed us to quickly identify that solving this challenge with continued human diligence was not the right answer, even though it would have made for an exciting technical solution.
Ed Kaiser, 2010-
We believe success is helping a group find the best answer and leave with stronger relationships.
- If you found the best answer but people aren’t happy to work with you again, it’s a fail.
- If you’ve made a meeting or project 25% more efficient, but people aren’t enthusiastic about working with you again, it’s a fail.
- If everyone is excited to work with you again but you haven’t talked about a major flaw or opportunity, it’s a fail
|“For a while, the engineering organization held regular meetings where managers and others in leadership positions would come together to talk about Important Stuff™. When I finally progressed enough to be invited, I felt like I had taken the plunge. It was a great sense of validation but also intimidating. I wasn’t sure I had anything worthy to bring to this room with the best and most brilliants from Bungie. When I finally mustered up the courage to speak up, I was pleasantly surprised that everyone took my comments as seriously as anyone else’s. I realized that this was true for everyone who joined the group. There was never one dominant opinion that trumped all the others. All voices mattered all the time.
James Haywood, 2007-
See you next time for value #4 – Closing is a daily practice!