Two Characteristics of Great Engineering Departments.

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Some engineering departments rock. Some suck. But how can you tell the difference?

One option is to run an exhaustive due diligence. Examine all teams. Examine all processes. Examine technology. Examine management. That’s important. But it will take time and your can’t do it too often.

Or you use a simple rule of two…

Two Characteristics of Great Engineering Departments

Over the years I’ve developed a quick and dirty way to assess an IT department quickly.

The best IT departments I’ve seen have these two characteristics:

  1. They consist of highly motivated people.
  2. They consist of teams that deliver the right stuff, incrementally, on-time and with the highest quality.

In short: Great people and great teams.

What This Means For You As a Leader on CTO / VP level

These two characteristics are very very powerful. If you want to create a high- performance organization you need both ingredients.

If you think about your department - do you really have highly motivated employees? If not it is time to address that. You won’t achieve your goals with a mildly motivated workforce.

And then shuffle through your teams. Are they all delivering great stuff? Something that clients value? Something that is of the highest quality? If that’s not the case, then you have to debug your teams. Your goal must be to put them in a position of high performance asap.


Great people and great teams are the ingredient of great engineering organizations. Make sure to drive your department into that direction. It’s more fun and you get more done!