Engineering Planning with RFCs, Design Documents and ADRs
What are some successful planning approaches engineering teams use as they grow?
Q: As our engineering team grows, we feel the need to do more written planning. Which approaches do tech companies use and how do they work?
The question of whether to document engineering planning is an evergreen one. This issue walks through examples of what certain tech companies do and it attempts to showcase some popular approaches. The newsletter closes with advice on how to decide which formats to choose.
Uber’s evolution of planning processes
RFCs, Design Documents
Sourcegraph and RFCs
Stedi: RFCs and Decision Records
Design Docs at Google
Examples of RFCs, and companies that use an RFC-like process. See these in a separate article here.
For the rest of this article, I use the term RFC (Request for Comment) to refer to any type of engineering design document, for simplicity.
1. Uber’s evolution of planning processes
Uber is a good example of how engineering planning can evolve as a company grows from a few engineers, through to a few hundred, to well over 2,000 software engineers, in less than ten years.