A Declaration of Excellence and Grace in Software Engineering

By Jeremy Duvall

At this inflection point in the growth and evolution of 7Factor Software, we declare our renewed commitment to abide by the seven factors that define our culture and drive our success. 

Through hard work and dedication, with humanity and grace, together we have created a company, a culture: of continuous growth, diverse thought, mutual support, and excellence in our craft. 

We will not abandon this culture in exchange for revenue growth. Rather, we will recognize that our culture is the foundation of our success, and we will do the difficult work of scaling that culture to our expanding opportunities. 

Many software engineering firms have been where we are today. With vision and intention, they started small and created something special together, just as we have at 7Factor. As early success led to greater opportunities, they struggled with the tension between their founding principles and the uncaring requirements of commerce. 

Too often, they chose to compromise their culture, bowing to the hegemony of commoditized expansion. 

This is not our path. 

We will not abandon our culture for revenue and riches. 

We will not stifle our growth with a culture that cannot adapt. 

We choose instead the third way: to do the hard work of staying true to our beliefs while scaling up our culture to match the scope of our opportunities. 

And so we reassert… 

We believe that small, high-performing teams of engineers are the irreducible unit of quality software solutions. 

Our growing company might be simpler to manage with a hierarchy based on fewer, larger teams of engineers. We might capture additional revenue by renting out individual developers in the commoditized marketplace of staff augmentation. 

But we know that small, self-organizing, high-performing teams of engineers deliver more value than any other configuration. 

So we choose to grow by creating more small teams, assembled and utilized according to the best practices we have proven effective through hundreds of successful projects. 

We believe that software engineering teams should be managed by engineers. 

Our founder is our chief engineer and has been the direct manager of all our high-performing developer teams. This flat organizational structure worked well for our first several years, but our growth has put him in the role we all abhor most in any SDLC: a bottleneck. 

But we know that engineer-led teams produce the highest quality solutions. 

So we choose to distribute management authority to engineering managers: seasoned software developers who will each manage several engineering teams. 

We believe in relentless improvement and uncompromising excellence in our craft. 

We will never be the cheapest software development solution because we will not compromise on the excellence of our craft. Our growth will always come from clients who value quality solutions over lowest cost commodities. To date, our founder has defined our engineering standards and served as the primary mentor of all our engineers. However, as we continue to grow, this role will be unsustainable. 

But we will not dilute our commitment to continuous learning and quality engineering. 

So we choose to recognize distinguished engineers, the most accomplished developers at our company, and we charge them with defining our engineering standards and elevating the skills of the entire company. 

We believe in kind candor, balanced lives, and grace. 

We were founded on human-centric principles. We care about the health and happiness of every member of our company. We value diversity of thought and being, and we work toward consensus through honest, rigorous, and graceful communication. Living these principles requires thoughtful intention, with heightened dedication as the size of our company grows. 

But we have come together to grow together, to do meaningful work together, to build good things together. 

So we choose to stay true to the humanity that brought us this far. 

This is all non-negotiable. 

No contract, no client, no convenience or capital will divert us from this course. 

And it’s all open-source. 

We don’t want our company’s culture to be unique. We hope other companies will take inspiration and insights from our principled approach to expansion. We want all our software engineering colleagues to have similarly satisfying careers of excellence and grace. 

So we declare, 

The Humans of 7Factor Software