tombola careers
tombola careers

#tombolalife

Blog | Tombola Careers

tombola blog
Jan
4th

re:Invent 2021 outside the talks

Posted by Ryan Coates
re:play
There was plenty of fun to be had outside the talks and honestly, I was blown away with everything on offer and couldn’t hope to see everything.

Outside of talks?

 

Bugbust

The AWS bugbust was a lot of fun, Amazon CodeGuru (basically a code analyser) has reviewed a large codebase and spat out a huge number of “bugs”. Developers could just grab said bugs and bust them; they were all pretty small low effort fixes that tend to litter a larger codebase. I enjoyed the gamification, having a leader board and encouraging platform was fun. I think it would be an engaging and enjoyable process to include in the team. We could get a list of low effort bugs, the ones that sit in the backlog deprioritised until they bite us and plough through them in a couple of days.

 

IoT

Loads of cool IOT at the builder’s fair one of particular note was the automated beer brewing. As an avid homebrewer this piqued my interest, disappointingly I can’t seem to find a blog on the project, but I will try and summarise.

 

Brewing beer is basically four steps

  1. Mash – the process of extracting fermentable sugars from your grains by steeping in water
  2. Boil – boiling the sweet wort (extracted fermented sugary liquid) and adding hops at different times to add flavour and bitterness.
  3. Ferment – the process where yeast turns sugar into alcohol
  4. Condition – the painful period needed after fermentation for the beer to clear and flavours to mature

The automations were really focused on the fermentation process, a Bluetooth float was added to the fermenting beer this regularly sent data about the progress of fermentation by measuring the thickness of the liquid (sugar is thicker than alcohol). This data was then sent via a raspberry pie to AWS IOT core, which sends the data via a lambda to a database, you can then use Graphana to visualise the data and see in real time from anywhere how your beer is doing. The temperature is also measured in a similar way and a head pad is triggered when the temperature drops below a threshold. Finally, a pump is triggered when the beer reaches its target gravity and it can be automatically transferred to a keg or secondary fermenter. So really you could set this up so you get the beer fermenting and come back to finished beer.

Well, this is all quite interesting it’s doesn’t do anything to solve the real problem with homebrewing, cleaning.

There are some really fun use cases for IoT core, keep an eye out here for re:invent 2021 builders fair projects

https://github.com/aws-samples/aws-builders-fair-projects

Gameday: Secure legends

We had a really good time at the gameday, it’s a scenario based free for all of a workshop. We were presented with a fictitious business and AWS account that had not invested at all in security or good practices. We needed to work in a team to rapidly fix all the issues.

The gamification made it really fun and working and coordinating in a team really helped us progress and enjoy the experience. I spend the majority of my time debugging and fixing a ruby on rails codebase and improving a devilishly destructive ci/cd pipeline.

We did chat about the possibility of running one of these in the office, they were fun and provider some real-world hands-on learning. Sometimes workshops can feel very paint by numbers this was free flow chaos!

Outside the conference we had an incredible time! Las Vegas is an incredible and ridiculous city, I spend a good portion of the week wondering around the strip slack jawed staring at the lights, fountains, fire and madness! There were loads of sponsored events we popped along to on the evenings, failing to hit golf balls at top golf and enjoying the beer and views at Beerpark to name a few.

Re:Play is the after party and of course the scale was ridiculous, there were loads of activities  like dodgeball, arcade games and a silent disco as well as live music which blew my mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvPcUVIzC6U&ab_channel=BarefooterDude

Summary

While I learned a good amount and had some really good chats with others in my industry at re:invent I maintain the real value of getting away for a conference is to be in a work mindset outside of work. Being away and chatting to other members of the team is really invigorating, I’ve come back completely amped to make the world a better place!

It was a blast, great going away with some great people I really don’t chat to enough, what an incredible perk to get away like this, I am spoilt rotten at tombola!!

 

Also I met Marshall so my son Dylan was happy!

 Marshall in Vegas

read more
Jan
4th

re:Invent 2021 key themes and talks

Posted by Ryan Coates
aws re:invent 2021
Well it’s that time of the year and I’ve had the incredible fortune of a 7 day trip to Vegas for AWS re:Invent. 6 of us went, 6! You know you’re working somewhere special where 6 employees get a trip to Vegas!

re:Invent is a conference at a scale that I couldn’t really comprehend, kinda like Las Vegas, with a huge amount of talks, workshops and events it was really hard work making the most of it, but we gave it a good go. I’ll take some time to summarise some of the key learnings and standouts of my wonderfully exhausting trip.

 

Key themes

I generally find every conference I go to there are themes and buzzwords that are very prevalent, this was no exception.

Like ourselves many companies start off with a big monolithic codebase with a big enterprise database like SQL, and now as their applications begin to decompose into smaller more manageable chunks so should the database. AWS are pushing the agenda of using the right database for the job, one size really doesn’t fit all. There are basically aws database types for all your data needs and a series of migration tools to help you get there. In the new world of smaller services, we have the flexibility to use the best database for the job, we need to use it wisely.

https://aws.amazon.com/products/databases/

Making use of huge amounts of data is a growing problem/opportunity in most businesses, we are no exception.  There were a huge amount of tech companies and consultancies offering analytics as a service and AWS are enhancing there offering by essentially making redshift and kinesis “serverless”.

AI and ML have changed significantly in the past few years, there are a huge number of services that can hold your hand and basically train your models for you, it seems that generally use cases for ml are generic enough that you can pick a template off the shelf. It’s incredibly accessible

Cool tech

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/top-announcements-of-aws-reinvent-2021/

Migration hub

A big focus of the talk has been about app modernization (moving all your stuff onto cloud native technologies for the full cloud shackled experience). There are some interesting tools in preview that can help with this.

Migration hub refactor spaces lets you define applications and start rerouting traffic to microservices using the strangler pattern, you could do this with load balancers or api gateway manually, but this does hold your hand through the setup. I did find it very clunky that you needed to hank crank the proxy to get it to work but I imagine this would be streamlined on the release.

Below is a diagram that illustrates the pattern, it’s fairly straight forward, add a façade layer in front of your application so you can start carving off routes to microservices.

 

The migration hub has loads of features to build migration plan and action it.

https://aws.amazon.com/migration-hub/features/

Amplify studio

Amplify studio is a visual development environment to simplify front end development, you can pull in basic components and define backend APIs and models in a simple but limited way. You can define your own components and functionality within and without the framework, it does seem to provide a lot of the boiler plate and a nice framework to get started with. As a terrible front end developer, I would be interested to try create something and compare the experience.

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2021/12/aws-amplify-studio/

Private 5g

Probably not the most relevant to web development but a very cool idea. 5g is extremely fast often faster than fibre in some areas. With private 5g you can create a private network without the need of routers and extension points all over the place. A very useful prospect for campuses and large offices.

read more
Oct
21st

Something's bugging our Marketing Team

Posted by Emma Luke
im a celebrity
One of the things that I love most about working at tombola is the opportunities that come my way. Here's what the Broadcast team have been up to recently as we prepare for our fifth year of sponsoring I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

One of the things that I love most about working at tombola is the opportunities that come my way.  

If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d be at a TV shoot with a very small castle for invisible insects… well, I’d probably have a few questions about why that’d be anyone’s dream job? But that’s exactly what we’ve been up to in the broadcast team this month as we prepare for our fifth year of sponsoring I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! And I love it.  

Our tombola arcade brand first partnered with the biggest show on ITV in 2017, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably have seen our #tombolabugs campaign on TV over the years. Working alongside our creative agency uber, every year we create a set of (hilarious - yes, I do like to laugh at my own jokes!) sponsorship idents that sit around the show’s content. 

Our cast of critters happen to find a misplaced celeb’s phone and discover the tombola arcade games. In the idents they get to know each other just like their celeb campmate counterparts, discuss some classic show moments and play our low stake, unique games. 

The 22-day sponsorship campaign is fairly intense, so we always look to refresh the creative with new jokes, games and sometimes a new bug or two. Earlier this month some of the team travelled to Leeds for a two day shoot.  

The attention to detail on the micro-castle set was mind blowing, and we got some fantastic footage. This week we worked through two whole days of bug voice over sessions to record this year’s new scripts, with just five weeks to go we’re really excited to see this year’s campaign come to life. 

read more
Oct
1st

Congratulations to our Graduates

Posted by Rachel Kelly
Degree Apprenticeships
This week, some of our team members are graduating after a long few years of lots of hard work. They joined as Graduate Apprentices back in September 2018, whilst studying Digital and Technology Solutions at The University of Sunderland and they're finally completing their studies to begin new, permanent roles with tombola.

Congratulations to Cameron Laing, Kaine Miller and Michael Cooper.

Here their managers tell us why they've loved having the guys as part of their teams.

This week, some of our team members are graduating after a long few years of lots of hard work. They joined as Graduate Apprentices back in September 2018, whilst studying Digital and Technology Solutions at The University of Sunderland and they're finally completing their studies to begin new, permanent roles with tombola.

Congratulations to Cameron Laing, Kaine Miller and Michael Cooper.

Here their managers tell us why they've loved having the guys as part of their teams.

"Cam has been and will continue to be an asset to both the Ops Support team and the tombola family. Cams mains duties in the world of Ops Support has been our account/ equipment provisioning and providing top quality support to our colleagues when needed.

As part of his studies Cam has been working with the team on some automation works for the user account provisioning process to help make this process easier to the team and help in the quick onboarding of our new starters.

I'm sure everyone at some point has been helped by Cam and I look forward to working with Cam for years to come. "
Graeme Orton, Ops Support Manager

"From their first days in the office Michael and Kaine were affectionately referred to as Michael Kaine, inseparable from each other but also there to support each other on their tombola journey.

It didn’t take long though for both Michael and Kaine to show their own personalities and integrate into the team. Although when we realised they hadn’t seen Jurassic Park it made the rest of us feel pretty old.

Within weeks we could see that the pair were going to be a great additional and more than capable of being valuable team members long before they graduated from their apprenticeships. The first major piece of work the pair picked up together was rewriting our Emoji game from javascript to TypeScript.

After this both Michael and Kaine took on projects on their own.

Michael
After starting with Emoji Michael was tasked with helping out on a variety of projects ranging from ticket fetchers to updating our games to help with the release of Sweden and Denmark's suite of arcade games. Michael was also instrumental in the work on Flip to add in the new bonus rounds. Once Flip was live, Michael began work on a new scratch mechanic that unfortunately never saw the light of day due to mechanic issues however his work and attitude on that project was always positive.

Currently Michael is working on our next free game which is scheduled for release in January.

Kaine
The next undertaking for Kaine was working on multiple game rewrites to bring them up to date with our newer tech stack. The list of games he worked on includes spin 1, spin 2, glow and bubble. Kaine then spent some time updating our game lobbies to help accommodate our rapidly expanding suite of games. More recently Kaine helped update the I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! free game.

Currently, Kaine is working on a match and win game. 

The biggest compliment I can pay to both Michael and Kaine during their time at tombola is that after their first few months we didn’t see them as apprentices, they were developers, and more importantly they were members of the team."
Tom Jolly, Game Lead - arcade

read more
Jul
27th

A big tombola welcome

Posted by Bobbi Temple (L&D)
Induction Group
At tombola we run group Inductions every month to welcome all our new starters and over the last 6 months we have had around 90 people join an induction! In June we had so many people that we had to cover this over two separate sessions.

What a rewarding month June was! It’s been great to see so many new faces joining us, and to see so many teams expanding.

At tombola we run group Inductions every month to welcome all our new starters and over the last 6 months we have had around 90 people join an induction! In June we had so many people that we had to cover this over two separate sessions.

We really try to make our inductions as informative, but fun as possible. Here’s a snapshot of what we cover and the teams who cover all things tombola.

 

Ops Support team

Our Ops Support team give regular support to everyone throughout our business on a daily basis. When someone new joins us the team are on hand to help, whether that's setting up teams, emails, systems etc, basically making sure everyone is ready to go from day one.

 

HR team

The HR team are usually one of the first teams that anyone will speak to when joining us. On top of sorting contracts, carrying out employment checks and setting people up on internal intranet & HR system, the HR team is also on hand to answer questions from new starters and managers in the run up to someone’s first day. The team host a session for our new starters covering who’s who in our people team, as well as some of our great benefits and perks. 

Learning and Development

Our Learning and Development team give our new starters a run down of all thing's tombola covering; our brand, our history, our values, the structure of our departments and much more.

 

Safeplay at tombola

Responsible gambling is at the heart of everything we do at tombola so it's important to us that everyone gets to hear from our Safeplay team as soon as they join. Our new starters are introduced to our tools and features, the importance of Safeplay, the impact this can have on our players and why our teams do what they do.

 

FY22 plans and tombola’s strategy

Our COO James comes along to every induction to host a meet and greet with the group. He also talks through the FY22 plans and our strategy. This helps everyone understand our business objectives and the part we all play in achieving our goals.

 

An introduction to tombola arcade & tombola bingo

Our bingo & arcade teams join us to give our new starters a taste of what our games look like. We’re also introduced to the structure of the teams, important terminology, our brand values and where we sit in the market.

 

Information Security

Our Infosec team come along to make sure our new starters have a solid understanding of all things Information Security and help people know what to do and where to go if they notice anything suspicious.

 

An hour in the life of a Chat Moderator

Everyone who joins us gets the chance to spend some time with our chat team and experience what it’s actually like to be a Chat Moderator. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to see what our player community is like, how we interact with them and the work that goes on behind the scenes. 


We’re always reviewing and finding ways to make the tombola induction experience a great one for everyone that joins. The feedback we receive from our new starters, plays a crucial part in paving the way for any changes or enhancements we make to our induction programme.

 

read more
Jul
22nd

Diversity in our tech teams

Posted by Krysta Storey
Diversity in our tech teams
Despite our overall workforce being made up of 59% women and non-binary individuals, this isn't always the case within our technology teams. We're therefore committed to ensuring we create equal opportunities within our tech teams to support our goal for a diverse and representative workforce.

Our people are encouraged to be their authentic selves at work and we’re super proud of having a diverse workforce. We really care about diversity and recognise there’s a lot more progress we can make in this area. 
 
Despite our overall workforce being made up of 59% women and non-binary individuals, this isn't always the case within our technology teams. We're therefore committed to ensuring we create equal opportunities within our tech teams to support our goal for a diverse and representative workforce.
 
Recently we celebrated a promotion which meant we have our very first female tech lead. We want to keep building on this and achieve further diversity in our entire tech team and this is why we’re currently working on building an internal Women Support Network which will be inclusive of they/them and she/her. The aim is to empower this group to bring about positive change within tombola.  

We’ve also recently opened our graduate scheme and we think this is an ideal opportunity for more diversity in our tech teams.

read more
Jun
8th

Application Modernisation Team

Posted by James Conway
Application Modernisation Team
The AMT will be a small virtual team. The team will include our most senior developers and engineers and will also be different people over time depending on the tech being looked at. The AMT members will be responsible for building a strategy and vision collaboratively. Their main focus will be to review the group wide technology landscape and solve group wide technology challenges. The stuff that isn’t owned by a single team.

As mentioned in a previous article about Durable teams tombola has come a long way since its inception.

From a technology perspective there have been many, many achievements that should and have been celebrated. tombola has grown to become quite complex in terms of technology. This increase in complexity is natural in a growing business. It is often required to improve performance or speed of delivery. However, in some places our technology has become unnecessarily complex and is a result of an evolution in many different areas.

It’s easy to look at our technology and look at some of the decisions that have been made with the gift of hindsight and see where another direction might have been better, but I think this does us all a disservice. We have achieved a lot over the years and our technology has helped enable lots of these achievements.

Being critical of our technology is essential though, but only if we turn criticism into positive action. We’re all used to retrospective reviews, whether it be games, payments projects or “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” but we rarely do this with our overall technology landscape at tombola and as tombola grows this starts to cause more and more challenges.

We have several large development teams at tombola, all with their own goals and objectives. It’s important that each team is empowered and enabled to be a distinct unit with complete technical freedom but that comes at a price. This freedom increases the risk that two different development teams solve the same or similar problems in two completely separate ways. This costs tombola time from a development and operational perspective.

This is a common problem in technology and most businesses solve this problem with a separate technology architecture board, or team, that designs all system implementations. In my opinion there are more serious problems with this approach though, such as limiting innovation and restricting ideas to a few select people. This not only limits innovation but also limits ownership.

This technical freedom is quite unique. You don’t see this in many organisations because of the challenges it creates. The benefits are great though. The problem we have now is that the challenges are starting to encroach on the benefits. If we don’t start to consider and retrospectively review our technology landscape soon the balance may start to tip in the wrong direction.

To solve this problem, we are introducing what we are calling “The Application Modernisation Team” (we'll refer to it as AMT).

 

What is the AMT?

We have long felt the need for something that fostered more collaboration and sharing between the tech teams. We have tried things in the past that didn’t work due to a lack of resource or ownership (Technical Innovation Team). 

You can think of the AMT as a Durable Team focused on technology. The AMT will be a small virtual team. The team will include our most senior developers and engineers and will also be different people over time depending on the tech being looked at. The AMT members will be responsible for building a strategy and vision collaboratively. Their main focus will be to review the group wide technology landscape and solve group wide technology challenges. The stuff that isn’t owned by a single team.

 

How will the AMT work?

The AMT will initially spend a lot of time reviewing our platform technology capabilities and collaboratively highlighting capabilities that could be useful to tombola. They will use these highlighted required capabilities to formulate a strategy and plan to deliver these capabilities. They will then be responsible for delivering these capabilities.

 

 

read more
May
26th

Introducing Meet Free Mornings

Posted by Krysta Storey
Meet Free Mornings
We're introducing Meet Free Mornings on a Thursday each week across the whole business. We hope that this dedicated meeting free time is a chance for our people to really focus on getting things done and be at their very best.

Our people have made us so proud over the last year with how well they have adapted to a new way of working in such unusual circumstances. We know that working from home has brought with it many positives for them, but also many challenges - an increased amount of time in virtual meetings being one of them. After over a year of working this way and listening to feedback from our recent staff survey, we know it's important that we learn and adapt to ensure we’re equipping our people to be at their very best. 

So, from next week we're introducing Meet Free Mornings on a Thursday each week across the whole business. We hope that this dedicated meeting free time is a chance for our people to really focus on getting things done – maybe it’s that thing that's been on their to do list forever or just the opportunity to get away from their screen and come up with ideas, designs or plans.

For those of the team who ordinarily work in the office full time the idea is that we’ll keep this going when we're all back together in the office too. 

This shift in the way we work will hopefully give everyone the opportunity to get uninterrupted time and enable them to be at their very best. 

read more
May
18th

We've partnered with AWS

Posted by James Conway
AWS
One thing we have is a unique culture around technology. Technology decisions are never “top down”. We make a point in empowering our teams to build solutions in the best way they can using the right tools for the job – and any tool is an option. We have just partnered with AWS to deliver a deep dive training course to almost 50 of our engineers. Everyone gets a place on this course, from our most junior new starters through to our most senior tombola stalwarts.

As mentioned in my previous article on durable teams, over the years tombola has grown significantly. When I joined 7 years ago there were maybe 20 developers looking after 3 territories. Today we have over 150 developers and engineers looking after 6 territories.  

 

Our technology 

From a technology and infrastructure perspective the evolution has been rapid. 3 or 4 years ago we migrated our on-premises infrastructure into AWS. Initially it was a “pick up and shift” exercise and a gradual migration to AWS native services. We have made huge progress and have seen huge benefits being 100% hosted in AWS and we’ve learned a lot along the way. 

 

DevOps? 

One of the big learnings was the cultural shift that being cloud native would cause. One of the most notable shifts was how our developers engaged with the underlying infrastructure. The lines between developers and cloud infrastructure are blurred heavily by AWS. In some cases, there is no distinction.  

This has presented some interesting challenges. Our developers and infrastructure engineers are forced to work in a very collaborative way with automation being key  

Previously our infrastructure engineers would operate largely behind a help desk – “Can I have a new server?”, “Can you open port x?. There wasn’t much crossover between our development and infrastructure teams and likewise with their respective development projects.  

Nowadays our developers and infrastructure engineers form multi-disciplined development squads – everyone is very much closer to the product.  

This is all great for our product. We see much better collaboration and innovation. Much more valuable conversations are being had with an improved open dialog and we have reaped the benefits of this as a business. Because of this, we believe that we, as a business, produce some of the most highly skilled AWS engineers in the region. 

So how do we keep the skill levels and the engagement levels high with our engineers? 

One thing we have is a unique culture around technology. Technology decisions are never “top down”. We make a point in empowering our teams to build solutions in the best way they can using the right tools for the job – and any tool is an option. 

There are lots of benefits in this from a business perspective: 

  • We are always innovating at the front line of technology development.  
  • We have some of the most highly engaged and highly motivated technologists in the region.  
  • Our engineers get huge exposure to the latest tech allowing them to develop and learn quickly. 
  • We have a great working relationship with AWS 

There are, however, some challenges that should be acknowledged: 

  • Our architecture can sometimes fragment 
  • Development of our engineers requires constant investment. 

While we may call these last points “challenges” tombola are happy to invest in and manage these challenges because we believe the benefits hugely outweigh the challenges. 

As an example of how we invest, we have just partnered with AWS to deliver a deep dive training course to almost 50 of our engineers. Everyone gets a place on this course, from our most junior new starters through to our most senior tombola stalwarts. We believe in creating a baseline of knowledge within the organisation. Everyone is trained to a certain extent using broad training initiatives like this one and then personal development is overlaid on a case-by-case basis. This creates a well-documented “minimum” level of knowledge and skill in AWS that can be assumed, along with a common vocabulary. 

We believe there isn’t a better place to be an engineer in the North East. We have a unique technology culture that benefits the business as much as the individual engineers. We’re proud of this. We believe we are a great place to work, whether you’re a principal engineer with years and years of experience or whether you’re a graduate fresh out of university. You will learn and develop at tombola working alongside some of the best engineers in the region, all while being supported by tombola. 

 
Come and join us 

We have exciting plans for growth and are recruiting at all levels of experience to support that, if you would like to consider an opportunity at tombola please take a look our current available roles. 

 

read more
May
10th

Introducing Durable Teams

Posted by james conway
To prepare ourselves for our ambitious growth plans we are about to introduce some changes to how our developers and product managers work on our platform projects at tombola.

To prepare ourselves for our ambitious growth plans we are about to introduce some changes to how our developers and product managers work on our platform projects at tombola.

We define platform as anything, from a software development perspective, that isn’t a game. This includes things like safeplay tools, player signup, security etc. 

We’re considering this an evolution in how we work rather than a fix or restructure. tombola has achieved LOTS since the days of it being hosted from a couple of old desktop PCs plugged into a dusty cleaning cupboard in the basement of our first office. We love to celebrate this fact but with all of this success and growth we need to acknowledge and be comfortable with the challenges that are presented.

When I joined tombola 7 years ago, slightly wet behind the ears with, probably, more hair ?? , there was one platform development team with maybe 10 platform developers and there were 4 or 5 main stakeholders around the business looking after 3 territories. We mostly fit in one or two rooms so getting the right piece of work done at the right time was a lot simpler. 

Currently we have 3 platform teams totalling more than 40 platform developers, looking after 6 territories (8 if you include the territories we’re due to launch in soon) with stakeholders almost too numerous to count! This poses many challenges for the platform teams, stakeholders and their projects.  

To prepare ourselves for our ambitious growth plans we are about to introduce some changes to how our developers and product managers work on our platform projects at tombola.

platform team

The old way - Projects 

Now is probably a good time to talk about the platform teams project backlog. It’s a bit like A&E on a Saturday night except that the nurses and doctors are platform developers and product managers, and the patients are projects from stakeholders. The patients that aren’t considered emergencies by the nurses and doctors tend to have a ridiculously long wait and because of this some patients don’t even bother turning up to A&E even though they probably should. 

All of our development teams worked in an agile way but agility was limited by a completely un-agile project backlog.

Challenges 

There are numerous challenges presented with how we currently schedule projects: 

Prioritisation 

How do we decide which project is done before the rest of the projects in the queue? Should it be the one that’s been there the longest? The project from the stakeholder that is the most vocal? Or the project with the biggest impact on the business? 

Measuring success 

Because of the sheer number of projects in the backlog the teams never feel comfortable taking time to measure the success of a project when it is launched. There is an implicit pressure to quickly move onto the next project – mainly because of the sheer volume of projects and the length of time some of them have been waiting. 

overview

Resource  

We really don’t like to refer to our people as “resource” but let’s be grown up here. To deliver a project successfully we need developers, infrastructure engineers, designers, testers and product managers and we don’t have infinite numbers of people in our teams. Worse still is the ability for a large important project to consume all of the people we have. A project’s ability to consume the people in the teams is a difficult thing to measure and predict. 

The new way - Durable teams

Durable teams are a way of aligning people with the product that the players see. It is not aligning development resource to specific projects or stakeholders. It’s a collaborative and agile approach to product development that aims to keep ownership and decision making close to the product.

We have divided the non-game side of the tombola product into several areas and in each area we will form a squad. Membership of this squad is going to be durable but not permanent. These are the durable teams.

Reporting lines will not change and the divisions will remain structured in the usual way: 

division overview

How will this help? 

Because we have sliced up the overall product into areas, we think it makes managing the above challenges easier. 

Prioritisation 

Prioritisation becomes much more focused. We no longer have to prioritise certain initiatives in one area of the product against initiatives in another area of the product. 

Measuring Success 

We think durable teams builds in much more ownership of a focused roadmap. There is no more pressure to forget about a recently launched initiative and move onto the next one from the huge raft of ancient projects. Because stakeholders are members of the durable teams, we will have the luxury of having stakeholder engagement baked in from the beginning and we think this will form a culture of continuous improvement. 

Resource 

Durable Teams give us the opportunity to discuss “resource” in a much more focused way. Those all-consuming projects have a much smaller blast radius – only within their product area. We can have conversations about recruiting new people focused in a specific area without impacting the other durable teams. With Durable Teams, we actually hope to lose the word “project” from our vocabulary completely. 

When does Durable Teams start? 

Durable Teams is not something that can be kicked off overnight. We are currently going through a process of mapping business stakeholders with durable teams and fleshing out objectives and roadmaps in each team. I like to think of this process as spinning up the wheels of Durable Teams. 

Phew… 

It should be said that durable teams is a new direction of travel in terms of how we work. It’s the starting point not the final destination. We expect durable teams to evolve significantly. The vision is that we will build a new culture of ownership and collaboration around platform projects. With the following principles in mind: 

  • Focus on group strategy, objectives and KPIs 
  • Maximize ownership 
  • Minimize competition for resource and priority 
  • Reduce the need for signoff 
  • Continuous improvement 

It should also be acknowledged that durable teams will come with its own challenges. We will discover areas or projects that don’t seem to have a home. We think this is a good thing because it forces us to deal with this kind of ambiguity head on. 

It’s an exciting change to how we work full of opportunity and we hope that everyone will see the benefits very soon. 

 

read more