Introduction to Elli Engineering: Our Guiding Principles

The six guiding principles for technical excellence

Elli is a brand of Volkswagen Group providing energy and electric charging solutions. Software and hardware engineering are key to the business. We as engineers focus on creating and maintaining awesome products for the customer’s needs.

We’ve created this engineering blog to share insights from our exciting journey. To start with, we’re introducing our guiding principles for technical & operational excellence.

The Six Guiding Principles

1. Best idea wins

By empowering an open & collaborative culture, we tend to give and provide feedback seamlessly. In order to find the best solution in product development, we listen to everyone by removing the hierarchy of ideas. As engineers we are involved from the concept to planning execution.

The best idea for the win! (illustration by Jane Kim)

2. Knowledge sharing

Knowledge is power and power must be shared. Following this principle, we unite in workshops every sprint. Engineers from different teams come together to create communities of practice and organise such workshops.

We participate in knowledge-sharing workshops called “Communities of Practice” (CoP) every sprint. (illustration by Jane Kim)

3. You build it, you run it

We strongly believe that a team is most creative and productive when working as independently as possible. To avoid conflicting requirements, each team is accountable for a clear purpose. Teams have full control and ownership of their source code. The team designs it, builds it and runs it.

Each team is an independent entity that owns their own product! (illustration by Jane Kim)

4. Minimise feedback cycle time

We build things fast and don’t over-engineer them at a cost to maintainability. We prefer real-world data to drive improvements. To engage with stakeholders, we announce and explain technical details in Architectural Decision Records, or ADRs. Other teams can then give direct feedback on decisions.

Team Stelline publishes an ADR. The members of the pasta teams review the ADR. (illustration by Jane Kim)
Even Beyonce says so. (illustration by Jane Kim)

5. Technical excellence

Hmm… Technical excellent… (illustration by Jane Kim)

We constantly strive for technical and operational excellence (TOX). What we mean by that is we focus on continuously enhancing our apps until there is no more room for improvement. While in a real world scenario this ideal can never be fully achieved, we still aim for it. 🚀

How is technical excellence achieved?

TOX activities are driven completely by us as engineers. They are seen as a parallel stream to feature development, and within our teams we are dedicated to investing ~ 25% of the time in such tasks.

6. Automate the repetitive

(illustration by Jane Kim)

We automate everything that is worth automating. Hence, our creative minds are freed, and we can push Elli’s products forward instead. Automation helps us to execute repeatable tasks reliably.

To Sum Up

At Elli, software engineering is a crucial part for the business. As dedicated engineers, our goal is to strive for excellence in our platforms. In order to achieve our target, we created six guiding principles that are followed by all teams. With these principles, we encourage strong collaboration, team independence, and continuous improvements.

We strongly believe in open culture, and we want to share our insights publicly via this engineering blog.

Interested? Get in touch!

Elli is here to make our life with electricity easier, more reliable, and totally free of hassle. We are always looking out for new colleagues who can bring new perspectives to our team!

Let’s keep in touch:

Stay tuned!

This article is just the start. We still have so much more knowledge to share, amazing people to introduce, and awesome things to brag about ;). Coming soon!

About the Blog Team

Besmire Thaqi is a Software Engineer focused in backend development. Her current interests include pragmatic programming and bridging the gap between tech and business.

Daniel Owens is a Software Engineer and Tech Lead with a keen interest in architecting reliable distributed systems.

Jane Kim is a Software Engineer in Team Cannelloni and a part-time illustrator for the Elli blog.


Introduction to Elli Engineering: Our Guiding Principles was originally published in Elli Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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