Tech Team

The mission of engageSPARK is to help organizations interact with anyone, anywhere. We from the Tech Team are building and running the platform that makes this possible.

A few facts about us:

  • We are multiculinary: Whether you like brewing German beer, barbecuing Hungarian sausage, preparing Indian Dhosa, frying Philippine sisig or cooking Polish Borscht, you’ll find someone to enjoy it with. Isn’t that a good thing? Different, interesting food all over!
  • We are a remote team. Some of us are in Cebu City, Philippines—where it all started—others are in India, Spain or somewhere in Asia. We travel often. In Joel Gascoigne’s classification, we’re a 3 on a way to a 4.
  • Programming languages we’re betting on: Golang, JavaScript, Python
  • Pictures? Did you say pictures?
  • We are looking for you!

What else should you know? Maybe the most important question is:

How do we improve?

And it is a good question. It’s a value of ours after all. And it’s the ability to improve that ultimately makes us an effective team. Some thoughts:

  • Everyone can improve it. This is not (just) the CTO’s job. Something regularly ruins your day? You better start a change.
  • Document and automate. We document our processes and support them with automation. That means for example we decide to remind ourselves to take carer of old issues. And we make our chatbot remind us, every day.
  • Let’s try. It’s an attitude. Maybe something is not broken, but maybe it can be better? Let’s try. Do we know if removing the Daily Standup will work? Maybe not. Let’s try.
  • Everything changes. All those processes and tools—up for change.

How do we work?

  • We are a remote team. We’re putting that first, because it changes how we collaborate. And because it’s not easy to pull off, and it’s never “done”. That’s why we dedicated a page of its own to how we work remotely.
  • We use GitHub to organize ourselves. (This mostly still up to date blog post talks about details.) GitHub also stores our code, we create pull requests there and do code reviews.
  • Jenkins checks our pull requests by running tests and static code analyzers and deploys into production.
  • Our QA is there to help the engineers. Not to do their job. Engineers solve problems in adequate quality.
  • We want to move fast. Perfect is the enemy of the good and good enough. Quality needs to be adequate, but it must be adequate.

 

Tech cloud

Ansible, AWS, Django, Docker, errbot, Git, GitHub, Go, Java, JavaScript, Jenkins, k8s, Linux/Ubuntu, NGINX, Postgres, Python, React, SNS/SQS (AWS), Thrift

If you want to know more, read our blog. Here are some excerpts:

Challenging Team Habits

We just threw away a regular meeting. And no one is missing it (yet). How on Earth did we do a meeting that apparently no one needed? Don't worry—all went according to plan. Here is why. Our meetings, before We're a remote team, but we're not fully asynchronous....

Fixing Unlimited Vacation

We at engageSPARK have an unlimited vacation policy. It sounds good, right? Or … too good to be true? Unlimited vacation isn't without controversy. Today we're fixing one of the issues for us, and I'll explain our thinking behind it. Problems with unlimited...

Remote Teams: Beware Bad Office Habits

Bad Office Habits can creep into remote teams just fine. A proud and happy remote worker, I didn't realize this until I read on reddit a couple of days ago that Slack is “asynchronish”. That's to say asynchronous … but not quite. That got me thinking. Slack is...

How Remote Work Helps Me as A Single Mother

As remote work becomes more and more normal, I'm always curious how other people are dealing with it, what they get out of it, with different jobs, in different industries and personal situations. It's not just idle curiosity: other perspectives are one quick way to...

As a Remote Team we Play Board Games at Standup: Here is why

Once a week our remote dev team plays a board game—Carcassonne to be specific. We've been doing this instead of the usual standup for a few months now—and it's been super fun. Where did that come from? It's no secret that, if you work in a remote team, you have...