I will talk about the year in five parts/posts:
May 2019 – The company had been without a VP of Engineering or Head of Engineering for about 6 months and it was also missing a VP of Product for a number of months. We are scaling..
May 2019 Governance
- The CTO/CoFounder was serving Engineering, Data Science, IT and Product
- We had a version of the Spotify (yes the music streaming company) model operating framework – i.e. Tribes, Chapters, Guilds
- We had three tribes (Departments) – Consumer (B2C), Operator (B2B) and Platform
- Incident management and support was solely focused on Consumer side of business (i.e. not on B2B Operator side)
- Most vendor management was done by the CTO
- Two Tribes felt they had little time to learn i.e. Consumer and Operator – Feature Factory
- We were very ‘Web First’ and ‘Mobile Second’ focused in terms of engineering, even though most customers used our Mobile Apps
- We had many SDLCs, with a mix of modern software practices (and not), depending on the squad, Jira was used very differently depending on the Tribe/Squad
- Whilst SpotHero Values were not integrated into the Engineering Team or Engineering Leadership Team – The phrases like Remember to signal and Don’t get stuck in traffic were being used in a meaningful way. It would also be fair to say that Ownership really did exist, and this could be seen in the dealing of Incidents.
- Promotion and merit increases were not on top of mind for Leaders
- Documentation was sporadic, and onboarding new humans was expensive
May 2020 Governance
My Approaches/Perspectives – Transparency. Lead before Manage. Experiment and have space for growth. Learn from success and failure. Have a process, system or principle if needed, version it and remove it if it’s not needed. Communicate and avoid surprises. Allow people to make decisions. Work like a scientist – stating problem and hypothetical solution through open living documents allowing people to comment, suggest, critique.
So where did we get to after 12 months?
- Defined Engineering strategy to meet the needs of our business with over $15 million budget
- Much stronger vendor management with thorough reviews and delegations of ownership to the Engineering Leadership. COVID-19 helped with this.
- Introduced Discovery Day – half a day at the end of every sprint where Engineers can work on any technical or people project – anything but sprint work
- Updated Incident Management to accommodate for both sides of our marketplace – Consumer (B2C) and Operator (B2B). Starting to align Defects, Incidents and Security Incidents to be consistent across Engineering.
- Organized our Native mobile teams, with Mobile leadership expertise, to respect native ecology and user needs
- Aimed to be good at supporting Remote working
- Introduced ‘Agile’ humans to support our Engineers and Product in shared understanding, prediction and delivery
- Embrace Confluence, encourage template, Documentation Awards, Archeology Squad
- Introduced much more transparency into Engineering, decisions and opportunities within our documentation
- Committed to having a learning plan and career plan for every human.
- Driving for easy observability into what is going on via Jira and Confluence for the whole of the organization.
- Introduced Tribe Change Logs for each Tribe, which includes people changes, and architectural Changes to allow us to keep up to date with what is happening with other Tribes