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Engineering Principles

The following principles should provide a solid base for all engineers at ChainSafe to act, make decisions, and navigate their autonomy.

  • Open-source everything. Everything we build, code or otherwise, should be open-source. Any exceptions to this should be deeply considered. License restrictions should only be used to ensure the continued freedom of individuals to build on top of or modify our work. Published work should be accessible and welcoming to external contributors.

  • Empower people. It is very easy for processes and structures to disempower individuals, which is why we strive for self-organizing teams with high autonomy. Individuals that feel empowered are far more productive. This empowerment leads to greater satisfaction and engagement, which helps to build better teams and ultimately better software.

  • Standards lead to better code. Use a systematic approach to ensure that code is of high quality. This involves using established practices and tools to create software that is easy to read, test, maintain, and extend. Standards should be encouraged, or enforced where necessary, through established processes such as code reviews. These standards should always be documented, and automated wherever possible.

  • Plan for quality. Quality should be a consideration at every development phase and a shared responsibility. Before building software components or systems a definition of quality must be established. Throughout development, this definition should be periodically re-evaluated and continuously targeted.

  • Every piece of software is a building block. Teams are responsible for creating software in a modular fashion that is designed to be easily understood, maintained, and integrated with other modules in the system. By doing so, we can enable others to build on top of our work, creating new functionality and extending the system in new and interesting ways.

  • Transparency by default. Commitment to transparency fosters trust, collaboration and informed decision-making across the organization. We prioritize open communication channels and comprehensive sharing of information. All work should be visible and easy to find, to enable every team member to contribute effectively.

  • Take initiative in making things better. While not everything should be your job, see how can you help, support your colleagues and assist one another. Proactively approach the problems you notice with a positive and helpful attitude.

  • Autonomous and aligned teams. It's important for teams to have the staff, resources, and independence to deliver value to the organization while aligning their work with company objectives and vision. This requires clear communication and collaboration between teams and leadership. With trusted and aligned teams, we can achieve a culture of ownership, innovation, and continuous improvement.

  • Outcomes over effort. Focus on delivering working software and achieving measurable results rather than just putting in long hours. Set clear goals and expectations, and continuously validate and iterate on your work to ensure that you are making progress towards those goals. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to deliver value to users and impact our community, not just to complete tasks or meet deadlines.

  • Document everything. Our teams should prioritize documenting everything, from code and processes to proposals and decisions. This ensures that knowledge is shared and preserved, making it easier for new team members to get up to speed and for existing team members to refer back to previous work. Documentation should be clear, concise, and accessible to all team members. If something isn't documented, it doesn't exist.