Highlight’s mission is to bring consumers and brands closer together so they can build better products for all, helping to prevent the waste that comes from the thousands of products that fail in the market every single year. Our platform for physical product testing enables user-centered physical product research to be faster and yield higher-quality data, so product developers can iterate confidently and exceed consumers’ rising expectations.
But before building great technology, comes building a great engineering team. Highlight is growing a world-class team of engineering rockstars, and with the rapid team growth comes a need to ensure everyone is aligned – enter the Engineering Philosophy.
Why an Engineering Philosophy?
Software engineering is hard. Bending computers to our will is not an easy task, and there is never a single right solution for how to solve a problem. Engineering is also a social sport: as much as the stereotype of the lone wolf programmer continues to prevail, no software company can be successful at scale without teamwork and communication. When difficult problems are being solved by large groups of people, those groups need common ground and guidelines to be able to make coordinated and complementary decisions.
An Engineering Philosophy serves as a platform of common understanding between members of a team. It improves internal alignment on how we execute our day-to-day tasks, aids in decision making in complex scenarios, and helps codify the type of people who will fit into the team – both for internal hiring purposes as well as displaying to the world what we believe in.
Like any good philosophy, it helps us grapple with the existential questions of our role. Are we Agile or Waterfall? Do we prioritize speed or quality? Do we mentor junior developers up through the ranks or only hire senior professionals? Codifying our beliefs helps ensure alignment up and down the team and gives concrete examples of what is important to us.
Highlight’s Engineering Philosophy
The Highlight engineering philosophy consists of five statements that are a product of our team’s collective beliefs about what will lead us to be the best engineering team in the world. These beliefs work in harmony to describe how we work as a team and with each other.
1 - We try lots of things and keep those that work
This belief speaks to our culture of iteration. It means we develop proof-of-concepts and minimum viable experiments quickly to understand if a concept holds water, and pivot if it doesn’t. We aren’t afraid to try a new approach or tool if we believe it is the best tool for the job, and don’t get stuck on doing things because “that’s the way they have always been done before.”
2 - We don’t release code we can’t be confident in
Our customers and teammates put ultimate responsibility on us to keep our applications working and deliver new features. If we can’t be confident in the code we’re delivering, we risk losing the trust of our stakeholders and confidence in ourselves. We commit to excellence in every line of code we ship and don’t cut corners.
3 - We give freedom and expect accountability in return
Highlight is a fully remote workplace because we believe employees should be able to live their best life both during and outside of work. The freedom that our employees experience extends from how they spend their day to how they implement their code, but always comes with an appropriate expectation of accountability for one's work. As a team, we understand people have lives outside of work but that we are also all important in the functioning of the team.
4 - We collaborate respectfully to build trust
Teams need to be able to collaborate and communicate, and the bedrock of that communication is psychological safety and the ability to trust that our teammates will be honest and respectful. Our interpersonal relationships are founded on the appreciation that we are all unique, diverse, and everyone brings their own valuable perspective to the table. We know those diverse perspectives all make our team better.
5 - We are invested in each other’s growth and success
We want to see our teammates improve and grow personally and professionally. We contribute to building our colleagues up and celebrate our wins. Success of an individual is materially the same as success of the team.
Our philosophy describes what we believe makes Highlight Engineering the best place in the world to work. If you agree, we’d love for you to join us!