In the world of ever changing technology, one of the most important degree for any engineer to have is curiosity. Sometimes working in a fast paced startup where the team/sprint velocity is super critical, one can miss out on making sure the team is growing and learning at the same time. While on one hand companies are fighting to acquire talent, a lot needs to be done to make sure each one of them are growing.
Increase product ownership
At SocialCops engineers go on the ground to meet partners and bring back a lot of energy and ownership to the team. Some of our users are people who are using smartphone for the first time — simple things like changing the phone settings is not an easy task for them. Meeting these real users, helps the team to understand the pain points of the product so that they start looking at users beyond the metrics.
Not the obvious
We have teach for tuesday(TOT) sessions where engineers talk about new technologies and transfer cross domain knowledge. While building a lean team its important that every one in the team understands if not execute the full technology stack of the company. People who are delivering these sessions are in fact the ones that derive the most out of these sessions. Not only they go in-depth on these topics in order to deliver a good session but also get a chance to improve their public speaking skills.
Friday’s are when the projector rolls down and the whole company sits together to look at some amazing demo’s engineers have been working on. The business and sales team also get this opportunity to pass on quick feedback on the progress making it an iterative process. If you are in Delhi, ping me to join one of our awesome demo sessions. You can read more about the demo — http://blog.socialcops.com/team/tgif-socialcops-fridays
Learning curve may result in missing the deadlines, but its important to keep bringing fresh challenges to the team and bring people out of their comfort zones. Our front-end stack is primarily based on Backbone/Marionette but when we started working on the data cleaning/transform tool, we had a challenge to optimize the frontend experience for large dataset processing. We started working on a prototype with React.js and the performance improvement was remarkable. We used the Teach on Tuesday sessions to bring everyone on board while continued shipping features at the same velocity. The wrangler tool is currently on beta, drop me a note if you are looking to get early access.
When all kinds of new IOT hardware, drones surround us its important that we don’t limit the engineers to hack on them only during their leisure on weekends. While speed and focus is critical to any startup, the growth of the initial team decides the future.