Tech Leadership Principles
At BuzzFeed, we believe that every member of the Tech team, regardless of their level or role, can and should strive to become a leader. Laid out below are a series of principles - core beliefs that we value and attempt to live up to with every interaction we have and each artifact we create - that help us evaluate our decision-making and nudge us in the right direction when we lack clarity.
Being leaders at BuzzFeed means that we...
Assume the Best Intent
When disagreement or conflict arises, it's tempting to make assumptions about others' motivations, skills and attitudes. At BuzzFeed, we encourage challenging ideas and assumptions, but know it's simultaneously imperative to assume the best intentions from our coworkers and to approach each other with empathy. We put ourselves in each others' shoes and attempt to deeply understand each other's goals and challenges so that we can solve problems together more effectively.
At BuzzFeed we recognize that communication is a critical factor in the success or failure of a project, team or cross-departmental collaboration. We place a high premium on transparency, always erring on the side of over-communicating, even (especially) when the news is bad, a project is off-track, or our team isn't functioning as well as we'd like. Leaders at BuzzFeed embrace the idea of Radical Candor and communicate their ideas, challenges and concerns in a straightforward and empathetic manner.
We do what we say we will. At BuzzFeed, when we commit, we commit fully and deliver on time, and communicate proactively if we need more time or help.
We are always aware of how ourselves and our teams spend their time and attention. We ensure that the conditions and processes are right for great work to happen, on timelines that allow that work to happen. If we find ourselves working against an overly-aggressive timeline or crunching to meet a deadline, we stop and evaluate the way we’re planning and staffing our work so that we can execute at a high-level without running the risk of burnout or shipping hurried, bad work.
Our products are only as important as the impact they have on the people who use them. As leaders, we evaluate any proposed project by its potential impact - whether that's impact on our audience, business or even our culture - and what we can measure to ensure we achieve that impact. We set clear, measurable goals and keep ourselves and our teams focused on those at every step throughout a project. If our products and processes don't achieve meaningful impact, we either give ourselves space to iterate and try new approaches, or we gracefully shelve the product and move on to other ideas.
We are always looking for opportunities to share our experience with people around us. Whether mentoring or sponsoring a colleague, helping out when someone is stuck or teaching our craft to a coworker from another department, we are generous with our knowledge and our time, because it makes us better collaborators and people.
Raise the Bar
We hold ourselves and each other to high standards, and are always on the lookout for ways to improve our skill sets, our products and our culture. We regularly challenge our anchors, and endeavor to raise the level of execution and discourse across our teams and all of Tech: whether by questioning the goals of a proposed or ongoing project, seeding and leading new Tech-wide initiatives, running retrospectives to find potential future adjustments or helping out colleagues from other departments.
Ship Great Products
Whether we're working on products for our coworkers, the BuzzFeed audience, or running an experiment on a small percentage of our overall audience, we make decisions that balance speed with maintaining the integrity of our products and user experience. If we’re asked to intentionally take tech debt or “cut corners”, we thoughtfully consider how that decision will this impact the user, the project, and our team’s morale.
We recognize that one of BuzzFeed’s greatest strengths is our ability to embrace, pursue and adapt ourselves to change. As leaders, we care deeply about the products we work on, without being precious about those products or our own ideas. This means that whether there’s a shift in company strategy, adjustments to priorities for our team, or pivots to our roadmaps after an A/B test or research session, our focus is always on doing what is best for BuzzFeed and our audience.
Hold Strong Opinions and Low Ego
As leaders, we have a strong point of view and advocate for our opinions. We push ourselves and our teams to do the best work possible by being vocal when we disagree and backing up our opinions with sound logic. At the same time, we strive to discover and support the best idea. We are open to our own ideas evolving and recognize that, once a decision has been made, we must commit fully to keep the team moving forward.
You’ll never hear, “That’s not my job,” or “That’s someone else’s fault,” from a leader at BuzzFeed. We are quick to jump in and help people, and frequently engage with other teams, disciplines and parts of the product. When we see an opportunity to solve problems - in the product, on our team or in the culture - we dive in headfirst and get the right people involved. And when things go wrong, we take responsibility and ownership rather than pass the blame onto others.
Value Breadth of Knowledge
As leaders, we work to develop skills in areas orthogonal to our own discipline. Whether we are an engineer delving more into data science, a designer getting to know our business strategy or a data scientist attending an editorial brainstorm, we relish opportunities to more deeply understand other functions and areas of expertise so that we can work better together and be more informed in our own decision-making.