A legacy, a deadline, and no team.
Fintech Engineering Strategy. Post I
Fintech Engineering Strategy Post Series
Post I. A legacy, a deadline, and no team. [This post]
You will find an Engineering Strategy that:
Team level impact, suitable for people in a Tech Lead position.
Limits Work in Progress to boost velocity.
Tough deadline with high uncertainty and leadership attention to deliver on time.
Build a team from 0 with internal rotation.
Removing bureaucracy during a high risk delivery by implementing novel approaches to fast delivery.
This post assumes you are familiar with the Engineering Strategy structure. Please, read the Designing an Engineering Strategy post series if you find yourself unfamiliar with the structure Diagnosis → Direction → Coherent Actions to describe an Engineering Strategy.
March 2021, I join a FinTech as Engineer Manager in their offices at the lovely and sunny Valencia, Spain.
A FinTech based on São Paulo, Brazil with an office in Spain. It offers loans with the lowest rate on the market.
It had multiple things that made it attractive when I decided to join:
Big and complex domain. FinTech, loans, and applied to multiple verticals such as loans based on payroll, cars, houses, and business services. I joined the latest business unit.
Growing product-engineering team.
Working for a company outside Spain which I could learn a new language.
Good company values and employee benefits.
Proved business model.
Enough time on the market so that there’s an existing software in place that will need to be evolved and maintained (legacy).
I join as a engineer manager with influence on:
Space to make mistakes and learn from them.
With those points on the table, I considered the company to be a great company to push myself outside my comfort zone.
I start on March 1st of 2021 and I start my onboarding. I recall having my calendar full already for the first three days with sessions like company values, ways of working, the first three months expectation, and so on.
My manager wasn’t in the office, she was in Brazil. Indeed, no one of my team was in the office, I’m the first for this team.
I recall one of the first conversations, the summary could be something like:
You are hired for a product that hasn’t been released to the public but it needs maintenance and adjustments from time to time because it’s regulated by the Central Bank of Brazil.
The team was disassembled almost a year ago.
The main developers and product manager who developed the product from grown-up left the company almost a year ago.
A couple of developers have the context of the application because we had to do some fixes the past quarter as an exceptional thing.
We have an important delivery in two months due to new regulations.
We don’t know what needs to be delivered because we don’t have the full picture of what’s done and what’s missing.
We have Business Experts and a Product Manager that’s working to capture those requirements and will be delivered to you.
You need to hire your team, and onboard them.
TLDR; You have a deadline. We don’t know what needs to be delivered yet. You don’t have a team, you need to hire people and onboard them, while being familiar with a code base that the people who wrote it is no longer here.
I loved the challenge. Let’s see what we done to overcome the situation.
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