3 Engineers, 1 Product Manager: A Recipe to Success
Joeseph Ferland

Hello, Joeseph here. I am an Associate Software Engineer at Sibi and one of three engineers on the Users and Identities (UNI) team. Although we are the smallest team at Sibi, our size does not dictate our ability to consistently and successfully deliver.

When it comes to functioning efficiently as a team of engineers, there is no universal recipe that works for every team out there. My team has concocted our own Recipe for Success™️ that drives our ability to contribute meaningfully to the overarching goals of our organization. With the holidays around the corner, I hope that you can adapt our recipe to cook up a variation that works for you!

The ingredients

The UNI team consists of four members: Charlie, Safaa, Mark, and me. Our team was formed not long after I joined Sibi, and each of us adds unique perspectives and skills that are integral to this recipe (Of course, feel free to make your own substitutions 😉).

1 Lead Product ManagerCharlie

Charlie joined the team in May of 2021, and serves as the Lead Product Manager. He adds some Tex-Mex zest to this dish. You can find him constantly chasing clarity, and shaping our piece of the pie perfectly onto the plates of our users.

1 Senior Engineer — Safaa

Our personal team wizard and the sole Senior Engineer, Safaa helps drive our engineering efforts. Having been at Sibi since 2017, Safaa brings extensive knowledge of Sibi’s legacy product and customers to the table.

1 EngineerMark

Although he is a recent graduate with a degree in Informatics, Mark brings the tenacity of a seasoned engineer to the table. He can be found in our Gilbert office cooking up pull requests.

1 Associate EngineerJoeseph

As a recent graduate from Arizona State University, I bring a new flavor to the company. From my outside perspective, to my hunger in becoming a full stack developer, I add a fresh flavor to the UNI team.

The recipe

It was not always easy for us to run as a team. When we started, there were a few bumps in the road. At times, Charlie would inadvertently be ignored, as he was the sole member of the team working remotely. There was also the responsibility of starting and defining how we wanted our team to work. The process of finding what worked and what didn’t took time. Even today we are constantly striving to improve our recipe, but it has come pretty damn far. Our team has isolated three main steps to creating success, so let’s cook it up 🧑‍🍳.

We begin by stirring in some Active Communication, particularly between Charlie and the engineers. We maintain an active heartbeat from Monday to Friday. This means that as soon as someone gets context on work, or obtains clarity on an issue, we try to communicate it as soon as possible. This step took a bit of prep: our team worked hard to build camaraderie from the infancy of UNI, and breaking the social barrier helped make communication easier. Over time, experience working with one another has enabled even greater trust in each others’ ability to do their job, and with that, communication has become even easier and more frequent.

Next, we add in a dash of Planning. Each week, we have a cycle, and hold a planning meeting after Monday morning standup. In said meeting, we shift issues on our board, and assign issues from our backlog to the current cycle. At surface level, it’s no different from how everyone else in the industry does it. However, our planning is intentional. What do I mean by that? For starters, most of our projects are predefined. We try to give the business team a roadmap that spans out a few months, so they can have a reasonable expectation of when our next features are being released. Additionally, we take the time to estimate the complexity of each issue, so that we can ballpark how much work we have assigned ourselves for the week. This forward thinking provides us with clarity that helps to reduce any problems or barriers to getting work done.

Finally we place our concoction into a dish, creating and Maintaining a Boundary from the other teams at Sibi. How does a team successfully handle requests from a flurry of engineering dependency requests, legacy user issues, and more? We establish boundaries. We pride ourselves on a great (but narrow) focus on the work we are doing for the week. While we love Barrie, our CCO (Chief C.R.E.A.M. Officer), we can’t implement every feature he requests when he stops by our pod. The same goes for the rest of engineering. Any pressing issues or incidents are dealt with based on priority. Obviously, if we break production, we go all hands on deck to solve the issue. However, most requests outside of the current scope and with lower priority go into a ticket on our Linear board, and we prioritize it to determine the best time to work on it.

The completed dish

A holiday dinner spread.

Just like that, we’ve completed our recipe to success, and yielded a wonderful Engineering team with successful output. Numbers are not always the main factor to success, particularly with active communication, planning, and maintaining boundaries. It took us time and repeated effort to bring the team to this level of success, and we hope sharing has brought you one step closer to success of your own!

Our UNI dish is looking for new flavors, and we hope you can be one of these new ingredients! Check out our open opportunities here.