Current Role: Software Development Manager
“What I like the most about Tesco is people’s attitudes. They enjoy what they do, and everyone is keen to support each other. And personally, I like that within my role as a Software Development Manager (SDM), I get to work with people and have influence on how we work, while still getting to stay connected to the technology side of things.
I Joined Tesco about 14 months ago and before that I was essentially doing a similar role, but managing a team of over 20 people in an outsourcing company, which meant I missed out on the technical aspect. Also I wanted to work somewhere I could still focus on the product and be part of the company that is using it, and that’s when I found Tesco.
“The service may appear simple but there’s lots of technical challenges behind it that make it work.”
Here, I’m part of a team of six and we support the Tesco Location Clusters Service. It’s an API that groups Tesco’s physical locations, such as stores, petrol stations or fulfilment centres. We arrange these locations into what we call Clusters using attributes they all share such as store type, trading status, etc. so that we can send updates to specific clusters (i.e. all Tesco Extra stores in the UK) as needed. This could include price changes, new products or restrictions.
It sounds simple, but when a change is needed, everything needs to be recalculated. So as well as developing and maintaining this service, my team also resolve issues that arise. We have to keep track of any changes, adapt them, update them, and notify others of these changes. If updates are not sent, it can create many issues for an entire group of stores – like tills not starting in time for opening, for example.
“My team are able to gain experience in more than just building software.”
My entire team is made up of Software Development Engineers, with some being more senior than others, all responsible for testing applications and coding. But on top of this, they also get to prepare infrastructure, provide on-call support and create monitoring dashboards. It’s more than just software development, so they get to gain better skills and experience, which I think makes Tesco different.
“There’s a freedom to how we develop things and the way we work.”
It’s a crucial service and we have a lot of responsibility. We write code, release it to production and support if something goes wrong. We face a lot of technical challenges, but we enjoy it. This service isn’t cutting edge or unique, but from my perspective, it’s how we develop the service and the problems we need to solve that’s interesting. And I really like the fact that my team is self-reliant. If we need to reconfigure something, or it stops working, we’re able to implement solutions ourselves.
We have to stick to approved technology and there are boundaries, but there’s freedom and flexibility to decide how we work. For instance, we recently decided to change our process to something called Scrumban (a project management framework that combines the important features of Scrum and Kanban). This meant we stopped estimating tasks and planning them in sprints, which we’ve found works so much better for us.
“I’m trying to make sure my team has everything it needs to do the work.”
I observe our processes and try to remove all the obstacles that could impact our work. I work alongside the product manager and prioritise our backlog. This can mean I’m putting to-do lists together, making sure we’re meeting our objectives, reviewing issues we’ve faced so we can avoid them in the future. And I also get to be part of recruitment and other initiatives such as employer branding and developing our technology hub in Krakow – things that aren’t directly related to software development. This is something I really enjoy.
“I like the attitude of my team and the atmosphere in the workplace.”
Most importantly for me, my team are positive. You can tell people really like what they do. Whether it’s related to their role or what they’re working on or not, if someone needs support, everyone is happy to make time to help. And the culture at Tesco is great too. I really like that the people here are open-minded. You’re welcome, whatever you do, wherever you’re from.”
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