An engineering team that is gelling together is a wonderful thing. There is nothing like watching teams of smart people work together to solve really hard problems. They're so good at it they make it ... fun! This only happens when they're motivated, empowered to do what they feel is right, and not afraid to push back when they feel they're not doing the right thing.
Getting there is hard. The usual engineering management guidance is usually about hiring the best people - A players don't do well with C players, etc, etc.
Well, of course. Who doesn't try to hire the best people? But, it's really freaking hard to get right! There's gotta be more to it...
Spotify was nice enough to share their engineering culture strategy in a couple of videos on their engineering blog a few years back.
Their practical approach, based on learning from things that didn't work, is a breath of fresh air compared to most software management in organizations I've seen. I loved their strategy because it focuses on people first as opposed to metrics and engineering rigor. Of course those things are important, but culture is far more important. Everyone does better when they feel comfortable and empowered.
I've rewatched these videos many times, and recently took the time to take some notes on the second part that I thought I would share. If you're intrigued by a particular note, you can go to that portion of the video to learn more. Though, if you have the time definitely watch both videos all the way through.
There is also a Part 1, which is great, but Part 2 has a good overview of it at the beginning, if you're short on time.