Ryan Frantz
Engineering Ownership

These are slides from a presentation I gave on the topic of engineering ownership. I plan to write a long form version of this, but this @mcfunley-style format will have to do for now.

Owners support coordination. We need coordination.


Framing for this discussion: we are an interdependent group that intends to work toward a common goal.

System boundaries are arbitrary. We can redraw them. There is no distinction between the work you do as an engineer and the product itself. Is Customer Service distinct from the product? Nope.

This is a common point of view for many folks when they get started in their career.

Look how messy and undefined it all is!

We communicate over time, media, audiences, etc. Duplication feels wasteful, but it helps reach people where they are.

This is a non-exhaustive set; it’s a short list of folks with which you will coordinate.

Assess impact on delivery; identify your own ability to learn and fill gaps to address dependencies.

Basic framework for how I think about planning. It’s NOT a prescription for a planning template. Share with others so they can factor into their own planning.

Planning, like software, is never done. Rinse and repeat for each iteration.

Keep those loops TIGHT! Sometimes it’s OK to request feedback, not receive it, and move on. There is an art, borne from experience, that helps you gauge when this is OK.

ADRs. RFCs. Design docs. Share what makes sense at the time.

Yeah, but it’s not as big a part of being an owner as you might suspect.

Others gain confidence in you, in the work. Reinforces the interdependence of the group.

Drive it home, y’know? If you have a single source of truth and use it as an anchor when delivering your message, it can be a powerful combo.

Surprise! It’s work.