I have recently had a casual talk with my CTO about a lot of things. Starts from random things about the current political situation, and somehow ends up in a conversation about team culture, habits, and how managers should approach it.

What’s Up With It?

An engineering culture might be as important as the product that the team build itself. I have recently read an article about balancing engineering culture and realised that there are a ton of ideas, approaches, and priorities towards this topic and of course, there are a lot of pieces that often time being ignored.

Which one is the ‘right’ approach?

Well, just like a lot of things that are being asked of an engineer, the answer is always the same: it depends.

But, in this journal, I’d like to talk about the other aspects of developing engineering culture that oftentimes are being set aside (even ignored) by engineering leaders.

Can you even afford the engineering culture that you want?

Everything Have a Cost

Developing a culture in a team is highly dependent on tons of factors. But you my dear readers, whatever your position is, thou shall not ignore the following criteria while developing a culture:

In the startup world, many teams are trying to follow the culture of “build fast, fail fast” which prioritises the speed of iteration.

If you’re part of (or even leading) that team, can you really afford it?

Building fast and failing fast often comes with a cost that your product is buggy, poorly documented, and has questionable performance. Technically, it also requires a great understanding of your tech stack, great CI/CD, and other supporting tools to really achieve that. Can you afford it?

On the other side, in the big teams, a lot of them follow the culture: “everything is urgent, but everything moves really slow” mentality.

Can you afford it?


A lot of people coin a different term for this aspect, such as a trade-off. Whatever terms that you use, and whatever culture you want to grow within your team, there’s no such thing as a perfect culture.

And it’s (might be) part of your jobs, my dear friends, to lead your team forward to a better place.

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