Guest Blog by John Nye on His First Week at 7digital

I have recently started at 7digital and already there are a few things of note that may seem small, but highlight the differences in attitude 7digital take over other companies I have worked for. Below are a few thoughts from my first week at 7digital.

Day 1 - Meet the team

After an incredibly frustrating start, owing to a 4 hour delay on my train journey, I was introduced to everyone, given my security pass and directed to a new starter guide that had a series of tasks that needed to be completed. These tasks ranged from installing software to getting added to email groups to reading up on the 7digital handbooks. So I logged into my Ubuntu machine and started going through the list... wait... Ubuntu?

Thoughts from the day:

  • Incredibly welcoming bunch.
  • Locate an Ubuntu book!

Day 2 - Empowerment

The new starter guide I had been pointed to stated that I should 'get into email groups' with some examples of which groups might be relevant (Tech Teams). Ok, so who do I need to ask to add me? Since I have never had the 'power' to add myself into email groups before I thought this was a valid question, and it was... however the answer was straight forward - 'You can add yourself'. So off I went to the email group management page and added myself to the Tech email groups, that I felt were relevant to me (with guidance from the team).

This was a small shift compared to what I was used to and was a feeling that kept recurring...

Q: How do I get added to TeamCity? A: Oh, just register.

Q: Can I install XYZ on my machine? A: Of course, it's your machine!

Thoughts from the day:

  • I began to realise that I was entrusted and empowered to make the best decision for my situation, which sounds obvious but is not always forthcoming.

 

Day 3 - Getting my hands dirty

After getting myself an avatar sorted I paired up with Yogi on a task. Almost everything here is done in pairs which I have always strived for but it hasn't always stuck. Here, everyone buys into XP mantra and reaps the rewards of applying this discipline. After some productive dev time it was time to push our changes and release the code to SYSTEST and UAT. Everything worked, and the release was really easy since it was automatically triggered from our code push. So SYSTEST and UAT passed all the tests, fantastic. At this point Yogi mentioned something that made my blood turn cold... he nonchalantly suggested that we push to LIVE.... I looked at him to try and work out if he was serious. He was. I knew this happened but my past experience with live deployments meant my natural reaction was to recoil at the thought. We put out an email, and triggered the deployment, which, again, was really simply and easy. A few minutes later, the code was live and the tests had passed and the whole thing was incredibly painless.

Thoughts from the day:

  • Release all the things! It's not scary at all.

 

Day 4 - In the groove

I arrived on day 4 raring to go. I continued to pair with other members of the team and contributed to 2 more live releases. I was able to use the site before a release and then again after the release and see the changes in behavior take place. This was strangely gratifying despite the changes being relatively small. The test suites and environments meant we had complete confidence that if something did not work correctly we will be notified early enough that it would not make it to live. Should a commit make it through the test environments and fail in live then, because of the incremental release system, we can immediately identify the cause of the issue and put in a failing test to allow us to fix the issue as well as catch the error, should it happen, in the future. Why doesn't everybody do this?

 

Thoughts from the day:

  • I think I'm addicted to this release malarkey.
  • Mistakes are OK (and sometimes inevitable), just try and make them early and loudly.

 

Day 5 - End of the week

The week has flown by. Friday rules dictate that we can't release to live since should there be any problems, we don't want all have to lose our weekends to fix it. But that's OK, in fact it's very sensible. Again I buddied up with a colleague and we started the next task. We make some good progress and are able to release our changes up to UAT; ready to be pushed to live on Monday. The cycle continues until the afternoon when we are all invited to listen through some topics members of the company would like to share. The knowledge sharing session lasted an hour and was a great way to learn about technologies you may not otherwise have been exposed to. Once complete, the office began to wind down and the kitchen was suddenly populated with an array of snacks and beverages. I dutifully went to the kitchen and started to mingle with the masses, immediately being made to feel at home amongst the crowd.

 

Thoughts from the day:

  • Knowledge sharing is kept in high regard.
  • Enjoyed getting to know the wider population within 7digital.

 

Conclusion

My first week at 7digital has been great. I've been made to feel incredibly welcome and have been exposed to new ways of working all help to get features out the door quickly.  This all helps to keep the team highly motivated and driven. There is a definite shift in the way 7digital do things compared to other companies.  

I'm looking forward to spending my future here at 7digital and hope I can learn from the plethora of experience and talent.  I'm completely sold on on the continuous release strategy 7digital have employed and look forward to contributing further improvements to the 7digital suite.

 

Find out more about John Nye on his blog - jnye.co.

 

Tag: 
Staff Stories
anna.siegel@7digital.com
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 04:20

Today marks the beginning of the Technical Academy Tour as Academy Coordinator, Miles Pool, VP Technology, Paul Shannon and later, former apprentice, Mia Filisch head out across the UK to talk about our Technical Academy.

 

Continuous learning has always been part of the culture at 7digital and the Technical Academy allowed us to focus those ideas and start hiring apprentices. Changing the team entry requirements and providing a defined period of training allowed us to attract people from more diverse backgrounds and has increased the proportion of female developers in our team; it’s also strengthened the culture of learning and knowledge sharing at every level.

Emma-Ashley Liles
Monday, April 4, 2016 - 13:48

Since I started at 7digital I’ve loved our belief in continuous improvement. Throughout our history as a company we have had a number of influential women working in various parts of organisation yet I knew there was more we could do to improve the diversity of our tech team.

 

Anonymous
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 18:30

Here at 7digital, we see the relationship between the customer and the developer as one of the most important aspects of software development. We treat software development as more of a craft than an engineering discipline. Craftsmen back in the day would have constant communication with their customers, receiving regular visits from their customer to discuss progress and alterations as the item takes shape.

 

Over the last twenty years, the agile software movement and extreme programming in particular has championed this with its short iterations, customer showcases and active customer participation in the creation of features.

 

Mia.Filisch
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 20:10

7digital software developer Mia Filisch attended the October 28th Velocity conference in Amsterdam. She was kind enough to share her account of the core takeaways here with us. She found that the core recurring theme around security was enough to inspire some internal knowledge sharing sessions she has already started scheming on. The diversity of insights led to a productive and informative conference. See below for her notes.

 

Key takeaways from specific sessions: