With Rapid Growth, It's Important to ‘Trust the Process’
“Trust the process.”
It’s a common phrase in the sports world when a team is going through a rebuilding phase, asking its fans and players to trust that the moves they’re currently making will result in a more competitive group in the future.
The same phrase could be used for a rapidly growing technology department.
For example, Jesse McClure was the first full-time engineer hired at Sunday. Since then, the VP of technology has helped his team grow from a few engineers to 20 in just two years. How were they able to accomplish such a feat?
By creating sustainable processes.
“We recognized early on that our team would require new and different processes in order to remain effective and productive as we grew in size,” McClure said. “We intentionally encourage experimentation with how we structure our teams and the tools that we use while remaining steadfast to clear communication and individual career development.”
Want an inside peek as to what happens when an engineering team goes through rapid growth? Built in Colorado has you covered. Read what McClure had to say about why his engineering team needed to expand so quickly, along with some of the “aha moments” he learned along the way.
What they do: Sunday is a data-driven startup based in Boulder with a mission to empower consumers to take better care of their land.
Why did your engineering team need to be expanded so quickly?
Based on the highly custom nature of our Smart Lawn Plans, we chose to build a lot of the core technology that powers Sunday in-house. Offering individualized plans tailored to each user required integrating across a number of different domains to gather real-time property and weather data, process variable length subscription cycles, and handle third party logistics in an effort to get items to customers right when they need it. This complexity overlaid with 10x year-over-year revenue growth in the first year necessitated that we expand our team quickly to help scale the business and our products in order to serve our growing customer base.
What was the process of scaling like and how long did it take?
As the first full-time engineer hired at Sunday, I’ve had the opportunity to grow our team from a few engineers to 20 in two years. Early on, one of the best decisions we made was to focus on infrastructure and automation. This drastically improved developer quality of life and productivity which meant we could easily onboard new members and have them contribute code within their first week.
We also recognized that our team would require new and different processes in order to remain effective and productive as we grew in size. We intentionally encourage experimentation with how we structure our teams and the tools that we use while remaining steadfast to clear communication and individual career development.
Lastly, we emphasize ownership of our code so that anyone can release software into production without being slowed down by formal QA processes.
We could easily onboard new members and have them contribute code within their first week.”
What’s the most exciting project your engineering team will be taking on in the next few months?
As Sunday continues to expand its product offering, we are looking to be the partner for all our customers’ outdoor home needs. This means meeting them where they are — in their lawns and gardens. In an effort to bring both the physical and digital experiences together while our customers are outside on their lawn, we will be launching a native mobile app in the second half of 2022. Rather than being another selling tool, the app’s primary aim is to provide users with all the guidance and knowledge needed to better care for their land. This will include an array of tools, content and even direct connection to live lawn advisors. All of these aspects require Sunday to build and integrate new technologies that leverage data from a multitude of sources, and deliver them directly to the customer in smart and targeted ways.