Current Role: Software Development Manager
“One of the great things about working in technology for Tesco is that we develop all the software across the business ourselves. We’re able to control what we do and how we do it. And if we need to adapt the tech, we’ve got the ownership to be able to do the work ourselves.
It means we’ve got a lot of responsibility (the tech my team works on is currently used on 4,000 checkouts in the UK alone), but it also means we feel a lot of pride in what we do. Everyone’s really invested in the quality of the product. It’s a democracy, so we all decide as a team how to move forward together. And that means everyone’s got the chance to make a big impact.
“It’s important that cash payments are just as easy, fast and simple as other options.”
I’ve been at Tesco for 10 months now as a Software Development Manager. I was a Software Engineer for a long time and, though I enjoyed the tech, I slowly started to become more interested in the people side of things. I’d heard great things about Tesco and when I looked into them, they had opportunities for managers. So I applied.
My team is responsible for the software that handles cash payments for Tesco checkouts. A lot of our customers still want to pay by cash, so it’s important that these payments are just as easy, fast and simple as other options – for customers and for colleagues. Our software is what makes that happen.
On our self-service tills, the software enables the device to tell how much money has been deposited, and how much is left to put in, all in real time. And on attended checkouts, the software does a similar thing and helps the colleague calculate change, as well as ensuring they’ve collected the right amount of cash for the transaction to take place.
“Having full ownership of the software makes our job really interesting.”
The code itself is deceptively simple, which might be surprising. But it means we can implement changes and add new features, then roll them out to thousands of checkouts pretty quickly. The software also allows us to see the flow of transactions and understand what’s happened during each one. We use that to check for any issues, and make sure that the money is being counted and reported on correctly, which is so important, because our software is dealing with tens of thousands of transactions per day, depending on the time of year. Eventually, when the software’s rolled out to more checkouts, we’re expecting this to rise to 1 million transactions per day. So speed, efficiency and accuracy will become even more important as the use of our software grows.
Having full ownership of the software makes our job really interesting, because if we do encounter issues, we’re the ones to fix them. It gives us a way to make fast improvements and support our in-store colleagues with troubleshooting. For example, if we experience a new problem like a coin getting jammed somewhere in the self-service checkout, we can help the in-store team through it, and then afterwards we’ll update the software with a new error message.
We can access the back end with a few clicks, write the content, then publish the changes to all checkouts in one go. That way, if it happens again in any store, there’s a clear error message. It’s all about speeding things up for people. And we take real pride in having that ownership from initial development all the way through to implementation, and beyond. It’s a unique challenge.
“Everyone has equal say. It’s just how things are at Tesco.”
My team is multinational, with colleagues based in Hungary, UK, Ukraine and India. Our success depends on us all moving as one – and it’s my job to facilitate that. It’s important that we all come to an agreement on how we want to move forward with a piece of work, because that way, everyone feels a sense of ownership over the product. It’s their team too, not just mine, so everyone has equal say and I encourage everyone to speak up and share their opinions. It’s just how things are at Tesco.
I’m enjoying coaching people individually and helping with their development – it’s one of the reasons I wanted to become a manager. I get to pass on my coding knowledge, but I’m also learning new things myself about leadership. There’s a lot of great training on offer, and as long as you plan ahead, you can take whole days out of your schedule to dedicate to it. I’ve accessed management training so far, but there’s also the option for the engineers to take time out to upskill themselves in new coding languages. Tesco’s commitment to investing in their people, and helping them grow, is one of the many things that make this such a great place to work.”
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