We spent most of the month of June getting ready to support a steadily larger team.
This means continuing to reconsider how our teams are organized, along with identifying and closing process gaps.
As we evolve our engineering leadership roles, our work continues in terms of documentation, dividing responsibilities, plugging gaps and accounting for duties that have been a part of our previous structure. Our objective at this time is to identify and bridge these gaps via process.
We improved our hiring processes and standardized these internally.
We introduced checklists for all our job openings. A few items were previously missing from our job openings—for example, a technical test, assigned hiring managers, etc. We’re getting more standardized upfront, establishing and defining the conditions under which we will or will not move forward with a particular candidate’s application.
We’re working out better performance management strategies.
We started working on our 7geese programs to help us improve our performance management, set established timelines for review, feedback, validation of skills, etc, and to fill any gaps in our processes.
At this time, we’re working out a structure to implement these. These will act as the backbone that will support our new team organization effectively, allowing for a smoother transition. We’re trying to make sure we cover all the data points across the year, including all the people that team members interact with, from project managers to peers.
As we work to identify the gaps even before the policies and documentation have been completed, we hope to minimize the challenges that our team members might face further down the road.
We worked on clearing a lot of our backlog items.
We dealt with a number of backlog items related to Zoho as well as various operational issues, along with taking decisions on a few items that have been lingering for a while. These were small items and dependencies that have been holding other people back. We’re glad to have gotten these out of the way this month.
We focused a lot on training team members.
This month, we received a lot more training requests than in the last few months—not just via our peer mentorship program, which is our most popular vehicle for collecting and addressing mentorship requests, but also for training individuals who will be taking over engineering management and leadership roles in the coming months.
As this role demands a lot of mentoring and guiding team members, several team members have chosen to retrain themselves on soft skills. Additionally, we had many new team members join and opt for mentorship, as they’d like to be able to contribute back to Axelerant with their knowledge and skills.
To address these, our Engagement Manager conducted a "Know Axelerant Culture" call on two occasions, which interested individuals were able to join to learn more about Axelerant culture and values, and how we practice these values in reality. Through these calls, they learned how to use our values as a handy tool to deal with certain situations they may find themselves in through the course of their tour of duty. This helped resolve a lot of concerns faster, and also allowed new team members to be introduced to others in the team.
And we kicked off Axelerant Academy!
We launched the Axelerant Academy for Software Development graduates in Jaipur and Srinagar, India.
This program will bridge the gap between academic learning and current industry skills for recent college graduates by providing support and guidance within the Open Source community. The academy is going to follow a flipped-classroom style which will enrich the learning experience for recent graduates.
What challenges are we dealing with?
We've learned through certain experiences with our trial hire process (Trial hire has been replaced since October 1, 2020 with 90-days onboarding in which new team members are considered full Axelerant employees from day 1.) that we need to make some improvements on our end. We’ve started having those discussions now.
In essence, these are our takeaways:
- We need more due diligence during induction.
- During induction, there should be a longer gestation period before new team members are assigned to a project.
- We need to improve the induction process altogether for engineering team members.
We’ll be working on putting these practices in place in the weeks to come.
This is how we’re doing in terms of engagement.
From December 2018 to June 2019, our all company engagement score has held steady at 8.7.
This is great, but if we look closer within departments, we’re finding that our engineering management team scores are lower, down to 7.1, and we find this worrying. We’ll be working on rectifying this in the weeks to come.
Overall, we didn’t encounter many major concerns during the engagement meetings that were held in June.
On the whole, our teams are happy in terms of how they’re dealing with projects, the pressure they face at work, and their work life balance. Team members are happy with Zoho being rolled out and with being able to get answers faster via our helpdesk—this clarity has helped people.
We’re also finding that more people are asking for and giving open feedback, from our leaders to our engineers. And we see this as a positive sign.
Our team members got together in several cities this month.
|NCR team meetup|
NCR team meetup
Workationx: team meetup in Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Pune team meetup
Vizag team meetup
Indore team meetup
Srinagar team meetup
We continued our efforts to learn and teach each other.
Some of the webinars that were conducted this month:
- Using HTTP middleware for API testing in PHPUnit
- Run multiple PDF engines - Entity Print
- Creating custom CKEditor Plugins in Drupal 8
- iRewards API and TripAdvisor API integration via custom service
- Writing E2E tests with Cypress
What’s our focus for the near future?
This month, we’re going to continue developing our 7geese programs and cleaning up our 7geese templates. Simultaneously we’ll be implementing our new team structure, figuring out where the gaps are, and addressing these.
Along with that, we’ll be ensuring alignment of the engagement team with our V2MOM (Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measures). We’ll also be shifting more of our focus towards our recruitment processes and improving outreach, projecting our culture outwards (which means you can expect to see more logs like the People Report soon!)
Thanks for reading!
Do let us know if you have any tips, insights or feedback for us.