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Application Modernisation Team

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.

 

 

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