3 minute read

How engineers and leaders at meta promote an โ€œOpenโ€ culture of transparency through Weekly Q&A, Bring your own coffee (BYOC), Office hours and sharing context over workplace posts

Conversation between different people on a document
Illustration by Katerina Limpitsouni on Undraw

Meta had a core value of โ€œBe openโ€ which loosely translates to increased transparency within the company. This for some reason was recently left out of the current 6 core values but still is very much part of the organizational muscle

Iโ€™ve been pleasantly surprised to see this materialize in a few different ways in the company culture.

Weekly Q&A with Zuck or senior leaders

One unique cultural tenet of Metaโ€™s company culture (formerly Facebook) is a weekly Q&A session with none other than Mark Zuckerberg. The religiousness around it is unlike any other company that Iโ€™ve had the privilege to work at and Iโ€™ve observed this happens most of the time.

In these sessions, Any employee in the company can submit questions in a pre-created workplace post and engineers upvote the most relevant questions or concerns that Mark aims to provide his thoughts on. Having such a direct line to the company CEO or pulse of leadership on a weekly basis is truly awesome considering the size and scale at which the company operates.

I feel that this directly contributes to having a better connection with CEO/company values and alignment across the different product lines

Bring your own coffee (BYOC), Frequent townhall, All hands

Many Senior Directors, VP of Engineering, and org leaders conduct a 30-minute weekly bring-your-own coffee session where they convey their top of mind or discuss important priorities and projects.

This is super useful to get a pulse on how your direct leadership views the roadmap and serves to get clarity on unique situations within an engineering org that every leader/engineer is going through. These sessions are essentially open to all and anyone can join and ask questions directly to the leaders.

Open office hours

Another format that Iโ€™ve seen multiple teams use, especially platform and infra teams is the concept of office hours.

Usually, teams would open up fixed time slots per week as office hours during which any of the teams that such platform team support can join and get advice or pick the brains of senior engineers on any problems that the team is facing and need help with or know about appropriate tool and frameworks for a given problem. This is an excellent way for the platform team to be transparent with their state to the customers they serve and also leads to discovering if the roadmap they are working towards truly serves customer needs.

Workplace posts about progress

Meta being a truly global company has in my opinion a a good written and async communication culture. Engineers, leaders, and cross-functional partners (like business, and design) regularly write about either the projects they are working on, features built and roadmaps along with insights on any shipped impact.

Established teams with fixed charters also write a Quarterly lookback post summarizing all the items shipped in the past quarter and their impact on business or team metrics and a look-ahead** post** with details on plans for upcoming quarters. I imagine this contributes to increased transparency across the org wherein anyone could follow and read these posts on their own time and understand how the plans of a sister or related team could impact their roadmaps.

If alignment is needed, then itโ€™s easy to ping the author and have a conversation around those as well.

A side effect of this is of course information overload, but with time seasoned engineers usually figure out a way to separate signal from noise.

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