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Edmond Lau: “The Effective Engineer” | Talks at Google


How do the most effective engineers make their efforts, their teams, and their careers more successful?

In this talk, Edmond will share the most valuable insights that leaders from various top tech companies learned and the most common and costly mistakes that they’ve seen engineers — sometimes themselves — make. He will distill down some of the key themes and share a unifying framework called leverage that you can use to identify activities that produce disproportionate results.


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  1. To add to what Ed said about unit testing. "Rails Conf 2013 The Magic Tricks of Testing by Sandi Metz" was a great talk (on the youtubes) to solving for the unit test problem. It reduces to "write unit tests your public methods" and "test drive your private methods which are ok to break" Another engineer shouldn't be afraid to run your test suite.

  2. Another issue is that these approaches need an environment where critical thinking and questioning of assumptions is actually encouraged and where programmers are not just supposed to 'just do it', so question #0 is where do you find such an organization and how do your fit in ?

  3. 1. Optimise for learning
    2. Invest in iteration speed
    3. Validate your ideas aggressively and iteratively
    4. Minimise operational burden
    5. Building a great engineering culture

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