From agile to pair programming, how to scale up your software engineering practices

Every company has its own idiosyncrasies in how they develop a structured practice that works for their software engineering team. But as a growing business, how can you create a structure that works for your team?

That’s exactly what we dove into in this week’s episode of the ScaleUp Valley podcast, when we sat down and spoke with David Ives, Engineering Manager at Pusher, and Dennis Winter, Engineering Manager at solarisBank AG.

They were joined by Pedro Gustavo Torres, the Engineering Director of Talkdesk, as our moderator and, as always, our host Ryan Foland. Delving into what has worked best for their teams, this episode is full of best practices that can help grow your software engineering team.

Paired programming with Pusher

With an engineering team that makes up half of the company, David Ives is focused on creating practices that will lead to productive software engineering development. While they don’t have a top-down approach — they utilize cross-functional teams with each grouping having flexibility in terms of what they take on to allow each to develop its own personality — they do find that certain practices rise to the top.

What Pusher has been implementing recently, with success, is the use of paired programming. Not only does this help get people out of what Ives calls “the blind alley” where engineers feel as though they’re going around in circles, it also allows for a very positive shared ownership. And further, than that, accountability is more evenly spread.

This pairing has made their engineering processes much more organic, as both sides work together on finding more productive solutions. In terms of the reviewing processes, pairs will go through the problem together and get a full understanding of what it is that they’re trying to solve.

This has not only sped up their processes, but it’s also helped share knowledge and empathy throughout the team. So rather than having a tech lead managing success, it’s much more shared.

While this system works well for Pusher, different teams have their own practices. With solarisBank there are some similarities — but, of course, it comes with its own nuances.

Agile Methodology with solarisBank

While they’re not striving to focus their efforts on any one methodology, they do find that a cross-functional structure with agile methodology strategies serves this rapidly growing team of more than 80 engineers.

These cross-functional teams are focused on collaborative problem-solving with a focus on customer success. Because a customer doesn’t usually have an idea of what the next iteration is in terms of banking, solarisBank focuses on collaborating directly with the customer to then develop this iteration from that crucial intel.

Of course, these aren’t the only best practices for growing a software engineering team that we discussed on this episode of the ScaleUp Valley podcast. There’s a lot more to learn, so check out the whole episode for more.

Then, keep listening and keep scaling. And if you want to know more about ScaleUp Valley initiatives, calendar and purpose, join our community by subscribing to the ScaleUp Valley newsletter.