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Engineering Success: What Makes a Successful Engineer at Paperless Parts?

Engineering Success: What Makes a Successful Engineer at Paperless Parts?

We’ve built Paperless Parts with a tight-knit, gritty engineering team of A players. As we expand our team, we’ve asked ourselves an important question: What are the characteristics of a successful engineer at Paperless Parts? Here’s how we answered.

Successful engineers take ownership of the entire lifecycle of a user story
There may be some companies where an engineer can implement a ticket without asking why it’s important or what happens after they push the code. Paperless Parts is not that kind of place.

Our engineers are most successful when they take ownership of user stories and technical tasks from the very inception of the idea all the way through to seeing our customers successfully use the new feature to do their jobs more effectively.

Our engineers care deeply about each step of user story’s lifecycle and love doing the following:
– Identify a user problem within our mission
– Prioritize based on corporate Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
– Scope and accurately estimate the work
– Implement with high quality
– Follow-through until users (internal and external) are successful
– Respond to bugs and support issues
– Demonstrate willingness and ability to communicate effectively with product managers and designers

Successful engineers have high effective intelligence
Each of our engineers is talented and excellent at what they do. While this certainly requires being smart and getting things done, it’s really about effective intelligence — the ability to apply one’s talent to solving important problems.

Engineers with high effective intelligence:
– Consider, identify, and solve the hidden problems of scale, security, performance, testability, and maintainability
– Learn fast and like to do it (tech stack, code base, new tools we need)
– Fact-find and separate the signal from the noise
– Implement efficiently, always balancing thoroughness against speed depending on the needs of the task

Successful engineers deliver completed work while also recognizing nothing is ever perfect or done

In the military, there’s a concept of Completed Staff Work — when delivering a recommendation or report up the chain of command, an officer is expected to have thoroughly analyzed the problem, come up with a fully baked solution, and submit a solution that is ready to be approved (or disapproved) by the commander.

There’s no chain of command at startups, but when contributing code, each member of the team asks peers to review their work, and expects their teammates to code with high quality. Great engineers complete tasks thoroughly or call out what was rushed and why. They also take and give feedback respectfully, both from the team and from customers. They also ask for help when they need it.

Successful engineers have good character
Guess what? When you’re trying to revolutionize a trillion-dollar industry, you encounter hard problems and setbacks. We like people who can bring positivity to these tough situations. That doesn’t mean we ignore problems, but rather, when the going gets tough we roll up our sleeves and get to work. Each member elevates the team by owning problems and never blaming others.

Maybe this could go without saying, but we also expect our teammates to work with legal and ethical integrity.

— Scott Sawyer, Paperless Parts Co-founder and CTO

Are you an engineer looking to do work that will change the world? Visit our careers page to learn about open opportunities.