Creating financial momentum for 4 million customers with three simple engineering principles
By Mark Durrand, CTONov 30th 2021
Like any business, as TotallyMoney has grown, principles have been needed to ensure everyone works to the same standards and to achieve the same aims. From copywriting to customer operations, these guidelines are useful to ensure everyone, from long-time employees to those who have just joined TotallyMoney, are on the same page.
Engineering is another area this applies to. They’re not rules that engineers have to abide by, or technologies that we use at TotallyMoney. Rather, they’re three main principles that we work to, in order to achieve our best work so we can help everyone move their finances forward.
Move fast with agility
The most important of these three principles is agility. An agile organisation can move quickly, building and collaborating across different departments, teams, squads, and missions in order to deliver new features to customers quickly.
TotallyMoney engineers are encouraged to regularly release code to production if it passes internal tests, multiple times per day if necessary. We work to an ethos of ‘fixing fast’, or rolling back to a known working version if something unexpected happens.
On an organisational level, increased agility also means teams can pivot to new setups or frameworks easily. In fact, TotallyMoney has done this recently, shifting from a squad-based framework, to mission-based, in order to better serve our customers and improve our product.
Stripping away bureaucracy
One of the ways we put agility into practice is by giving each individual engineer a large degree of autonomy over how they do their job.
Simply put, stripping away the bureaucracy from the engineering process allows engineers and developers to be more agile and ship code faster. That way, they have to deal with less “am I doing this correctly?” and more on “how can I do this the best way to benefit our customers?”.
Everyone has their own way of working, the tools they use, and the methods they employ to get to the end result. TotallyMoney wants to embrace this, which is why we believe autonomy is important for each and every individual engineer or developer.
Build it, own it, fix it
The benefit of autonomy is ownership. When you feel you have ownership over something you create, you care more about it and are more engaged about making it the best it can be. If you build it, it’s your responsibility to fix it if it breaks, or deal with issues when they come up.
As well as individual ownership and autonomy, each mission has ownership over its remit. This gives each of our missions the authority and freedom to try new things and experiment in pursuit of their end goal.
These three principles help us to work to the same standards, and mean our focus is solely on our product and improving the customer experience, to help as many people as possible move their money forwards and create financial momentum.