Kaizen Culture


Our continuing efforts to reach Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose

The Japanese manufacturing term "kaizen" means "always improving things, all the time." At Engine SevenFour, we are always looking for better ways to do things. We've switched from waterfall to agile sprints. We switched from boring old IKEA desks to awesome electric sit-stand desks. Standard four-wheel roller chair? Nope. Herman Miller five wheels, adjusted just for you by a trained ergonomist. We want our people to be comfortable, so that they can focus on the task at hand.

We have fantastic fair trade coffee direct from Nicaragua, and lots of snacks. Lunch is catered any time there's a company event (at least once a week), and we frequently break for ice cream, cake, pie, or because one of London's finest food trucks has just parked itself right outside.

If you need to free your mind, you can play a game of foosball or any old MAME games on our Übercade, head upstairs to the lounge for some Xbox One on the couches, or sketch a brainstorm on the 8x8 whiteboard wall. All of this happens in an award-winning historic building, with exposed brick and timber: the London Roundhouse.

On Tuesday afternoons, we have (optional) in-house yoga and meditation.

We have the latest MacBook Pros, with fully maxxed-out CPUs and RAM. We build using Laravel: the PHP Framework for Web Artisans. We have subscriptions to laracasts.com, and budgets for attending conferences and getting whatever books we think might help us do our jobs better. We spend hours each week just focusing on bettering ourselves by trying new techniques, or fixing ugly old bits of code that drive us crazy.

We have a stellar extended benefits plan, which includes things like massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, and we try to make sure that people take all of their vacation days. We try hard to avoid the need for overtime, because we don't want to burn people out. We want people who can do their best work at a sustainable pace, for years to come.

I think that's a pretty awesome list of things, but in the spirit of kaizen, we're always trying to improve. Our most recent changes are some of the best.


A while ago a bunch of us read Drive by Dan Pink. In it he talks about why people show up for work each day, what motivates them. He boils it down to three things: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

We already have a cool purpose in our work: to free people from tedious repetitive tasks, so they can spend their lives pursuing more creative endeavours in art, media, culture, and entertainment.

We already provide our people with enough training and experience to achieve Mastery.

But what about Autonomy? Well, we established some when we switched to sprints, where team members choose their own tickets, but we thought we could do better, so two weeks ago, Engine SevenFour introduced FlexTime® and FlexLocation™.

With FlexTime®, you can work any time you want, as long as you announce your plans for the day in our Slack #scrum before 9:30am Eastern Time. With FlexLocation™, you can work from anywhere with an Internet connection. Thanks to the tetherable cellphone (iOS or Android) you get when you join the team, that means just about anywhere.

Our team has already enjoyed working from cafés, and cottages, trailers, and townhouses... and this is just the beginning.

We have some more things in the works that I can't talk about quite yet, but these are exciting times for Engine SevenFour and our team.

If our style and culture appeal to you, and you're an intermediate or senior Javascript developer or Object-Oriented PHP developer, send your resume and cover letter to careers@engine74.com

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Derek Martin is Engine SevenFour's VP of Production and arguably The Most Interesting Man in the World

UncategorizedDerek Martin