Introduction to the Wise Platform team

Laura Woo
Laura Woo
Mar 25 · 4 min read

With the rapid growth of Wise and our platform over the last few years, teams within the Platform tribe have formed and disbanded organically. While this refactoring of teams will continue to evolve over time, we’ve reached a place where we need to become more mature in terms of our offerings to the wider Engineering community — really showcasing what platform has to offer.

Let’s do a brief history of our Platform team at Wise:

  • Pre-2018: All our workloads were running in a single region in an on-premise data center.
  • 2018: The migration journey to the cloud (AWS) kicked off. This was motivated by the need to scale our infrastructure and work towards providing a more reliable product for our customers. Our CTO Harsh has written a public post mortem with more context around the drivers behind the cloud migration.
  • 2021: Platform tribe is made up of 13 teams and has grown since 2018 from ~10 to ~60 engineers.

So, logical grouping of teams are taking place and we are refactoring the tribe to form squads.

All aboard the mission zero shuttle!

Let’s imagine our platform is part of a galaxy that is centered around a star called The Wise — which is at the very heart of our solar system….

  • Several planets orbit The Wise: data, service and product — these represent our squads.
  • These planets have their own moons that are in orbit — these represent the teams within the squads.
  • The space station provides a hub for exploratory research into space — this represents the platform’s governance function that will monitor the platform and define the constraints, guardrails, and policies that determine how the platform should run.
  • Rockets zoom between our planets — these represent the teams that work across multiple squads and act as boosters to teams and other tribes (Platform Integrations and Observability).
  • We also have some comets in orbit, these curious cosmic snowballs may yield clues about the formation of our solar system — these represent the teams that surface insights with Wise data (Machine Learning and Analytics Platform)

Take off in 3,2,1…

What are the focuses of the squads?

The product platform squad is made up of four teams that have the biggest interface with our product engineering teams: Site Reliability Engineering, Engineering Experience, Observability and Automation and Tooling.

The mission for the product platform squad is to:

“Provide a ‘paved road’ for Wise engineers that balances our autonomous culture with feature velocity and business goals, while still ensuring our systems are reliable and observable.”

One of the main challenges that the product platform faces is having to come up with and roll out solutions that are adopted engineering wide and cater for the majority (if not all) of our customers’ use cases.

The service platform squad consists of two teams: service platform core and service platform connect.

They’re responsible for the Kubernetes platform running on AWS, maintaining and extending our service mesh capabilities and the network connectivity between internal/external services. The teams have provided an extensive platform to run our services and products, aiming to create interfaces and abstract central concerns away from engineering teams. These include optimising the efficiency and deployment process onto the platform and exploring the cutting edge tech in the Kubernetes and service mesh space.

The data squad is made up of database engineering, realtime data platform, analytics platform and machine learning teams.

The squad is responsible for looking after Wise’s data in transit and at rest, they’re also the specialists in data processing. As data is one of the most important assets to the modern day company, the squad isn’t short of interesting challenges to tackle, ranging from ensuring our databases are able to failover in case of disasters to exploring building a distributed data mesh.

I hope this blog gives a glimpse into the journey we’ve been on as a tribe and how we have evolved as the platform has grown….

P.S. Interested to join us? We’re hiring. Check out our open Engineering roles.

Wise Engineering

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