Joining an early-stage company and going through the scaling phase as a Dev
Meet Delphine, Ruby Developer at Trustpair, relating her story of experiencing the switch from a start-up to a scale-up company.
Many companies grow from 10 to 150 people in a snap. Well, we didn’t do it that way at Trustpair. And that’s a good thing! We took the time to hire the best talents to take part in the adventure and structure the company with A-Players only.
Let’s start from the beginning…
Being one of the first five employees, I joined Trustpair early on, when the company just raised its seed funding and was primarily looking at recruiting technical profiles to strengthen the product.
Fun fact: I was not initially a developer, I actually have a master’s degree in Ecology and like many others, I went to a bootcamp to learn programming. I once read that, at any given time, we can step forward into growth or step back into safety. One of the main reasons I decided to join Trustpair was to go out of my comfort zone and tackle new technical challenges to become a better developer (as cliché as that sounds). And I wasn’t disappointed.
… and get down to business!
When you are part of such a small team (a dozen at that time, including the three founders), there is a lot of proximity between each person and you learn day after day!
The workload is certainly intense — especially the first year — but that’s part of the game. The balance between work and personal life can be tricky to maintain; but I am always careful not going over the edge. There was never a time when it was expected of me to intervene while I was off the clock. It’s quite stimulating to know that there’s so much to do and that you bring your own contribution.
The company evolves, so are the working methods
Building a team can be very hard. The way we organize ourselves within the tech team and work cross-team was a daily challenge. Along the journey, we struggled a lot around the development cycle. Questioning ourselves and making our working methods evolve is crucial, it is part of our DNA !
Nothing should be set in stone, especially work habits
One of the biggest changes I experienced was switching our development cycle methodology. We always try to adapt ourselves to mitigate our shortcomings, improve our feature deliveries while balancing our technical debt, and try new techniques that we’ve not explored yet.
At any level of responsibility, your idea and your voice matter and can have a lot of impact on the whole company. Well, you don’t believe me?
Taking part in decisions is a reality at Trustpair
When we were experiencing classical scrum methodology, we weren’t entirely satisfied. We almost never delivered on time, and we suffered from a lack of visibility and reflection before entering the development cycle. We were deep diving into feature development.
Well, as we were facing issues with Scrum, we decided to try something else!
While doing some technological watch, I stumbled upon “Shape Up” from Basecamp, an unusual methodology that provides more time for design thinking. Just what we were looking for! After sharing this method with my team, we quickly decided to adopt it !.
So yes, Shape up — our official current way to work — is an idea coming from a slack conversation at the developers’ level. Since then, that methodology change has been embraced by the whole company. It would not have been possible without the support of the founders. Every time we made some changes, we had no guarantee that it would work, but we were not afraid to try. We are never afraid to strive.
Time for scale-up has come
When a company grows, processes and organization have to be put in place. When the workload increases, along with the business opportunities, you know it is time to staff the team… in a smart way!
Regarding the Tech team, we always felt the need to grow. But if some teams were represented by few people, the other ones — marketing, customer success, operational and so on — did not even exist. We started to recruit team managers to set up each new department. One of our strengths is that we didn’t hire too many people at once: onboarding is crucial, it takes time, and we wanted to handle them properly!
This period was also marked by moving to larger offices, far more spacious to ensure the onboarding of all new players.
But scaling-up has also its share of problems. For us, it was about knowledge sharing. Real in-depth work and the setting up of specific tools were put in place to overcome this issue.
The team is in a rocketship, ready for take off !
Over the last three years, a lot of things happened.
We evolved, by going from 10 to 70 in 2 years! This growth could get a bit bumpy but overall felt quite natural: scale up and recruitment are good signs, it proves your project is on track. If there were still 10 of us, I’d be worried about the company’s fate…
We certainly made some mistakes but we tried to learn from it. It’s ok to make mistakes. I literally crashed the production environment at my first deployment (oopsie) and I did not get fired. To err is human, the important thing is to take responsibility, learn from it and move forward.
Our evolution goes on, with its share of challenges and successes. It’s great to know that at our own level, we can make a difference. There is still so much to do, but I have no doubt that we will get ahead. What we do is important, but not more than with whom we do it. With so many challenges ahead of us, we are looking for new talents. Tech, Data, Product… feel free to check out our Trustpair career page or drop us a line, we’ll be delighted to chat with you.