Presentation: Engineering Engineering Culture With Memes

Track: Building Great Engineering Cultures

Location: Seacliff ABC

Duration: 2:55pm - 3:45pm

Day of week: Wednesday

Level: Intermediate

Persona: Architect, CTO/CIO/Leadership, General Software, Technical Engineering Manager

Abstract

You can’t impose culture on a team, but you can induce it.

Have you ever noticed that when you work with the same group of people for a while, everyone starts to use similar phrases, metaphors, and jokes? Those are legit memes: self-replicating concepts that form the building blocks of belief systems that drive people’s behavior.

By skillfully curating the memes that are introduced and reinforced within a team, you can have an outsize influence on how team norms evolve. And this isn’t just for bosses. It’s inherently egalitarian, because anyone who can inject compelling memes can steer team culture.

But there is an art to it.

In this talk, I’ll describe a bunch of real-world examples of memes that helped shape engineering team culture during my years at Google and play an epic role at FullStory today. I’ll also discuss tactics for developing your own effective memes, how they can help with tricky topics like management and diversity, and how to make sure they’re sticky without being...schticky.

Speaker: Bruce Johnson

Founder and COO @FullStory

Bruce is a founder and COO of FullStory, where he's accelerating his professional mission to make life online suck less by arming well-intentioned teams with impossibly powerful tools. Before FullStory, Bruce founded Google's Atlanta Engineering office, which created Google Web Toolkit, Speed Tracer, the Java runtime for App Engine, and other "so crazy it just might work" sorts of technologies.

Find Bruce Johnson at

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Tracks

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Conference for Professional Software Developers