Heavily Team Oriented
We all succeed or fail together.
Teams jointly commit to deliverables and help each other achieve those goals. Since we offer so many products and services, coordination and cohesion among teams is crucial. We rely on good teamwork and synchronization to ensure we're not duplicating work or changing things that will have upstream or downstream impacts on other processes or products.
We utilize scrum meetings and quick daily stand-ups with team leads to sync up with relevant teams. Product and UX work across teams so all parties understand their role in the overall vision and stay aligned. We use Aha! for roadmapping and strategic product views and Jira for sprinting and executing on those initiatives. These products are “open” in that there is a common view and understanding to manage natural complexities.
Everyone on our engineering team, regardless of level, is expected to make decisions or contribute to them. Some decisions are routinely made at the team level (design patterns, open-source libraries, etc.) while others need to be made with more insight into cross-team or cross-product strategies, company goals, or industry trends and may be made by engineering leadership with input from relevant teams. For certain products, there are bi-weekly architecture meetings open to anyone who is interested. Not all decisions are democratic, but all team members have a say in how their solutions are built.
Billtrust promotes a "we all succeed or fail together" culture. People ask for help when they need it and generally everyone is willing to help, whether it be through code reviews, pair programming, mob programming, sharing lessons learned, or bouncing ideas off each other. The dynamic is different on each team, but getting to done is culturally and objectively a team effort. Since we have development teams in New Jersey, Colorado, and India, we use tools like Slack, Google Meet/Hangouts and Zoom to connect with one another. Our engineering teams work in “agile pods,” which have their own screen that can be connected to a Google Meet allowing remote teammates to join at any moment and have pseudo face time with everyone.
Customer Comes First
We serve a diverse group of clients and their feedback is crucial to our long-term success.
Our customers range from SMBs to Fortune 500 businesses — all of whom face common challenges with invoicing and receiving payments from their customers, and applying those payments to the proper open invoices so they can realize the revenue. Our products range from Invoicing and Payments, to Cash Application, to Collections and Credit and more, all of them helping automate these challenges. That way, our customers can spend less time chasing down numbers and more time on higher value activities.
Our Product Owners/Managers invest time talking to our customers and watching how they do their jobs. We have a quarterly Customer Advisory Council where select customers get to directly influence our long-term roadmap. We hold UX design sessions and also sponsor an annual Billtrust customer summit. Last but not least, customers attend sprint reviews with some of our teams so they can give direct feedback on features as they are being built.
One of our core values reads: “We’re not on this planet so that we can work and make money.”
The business prioritizes milestones and product vision, but our engineering teams are responsible for release and sprint commitments. Teams are trusted to complete the work they have committed to and we focus on providing value to the business, not on how many hours we spend in the office. Our engineering teams are trusted to ensure they meet release and sprint commitments but while we work hard, Billtrust is not the kind of company where people wind up working long weeks on a regular basis.
There may be an evening deployment occasionally, where members from the team are standing by, but otherwise there is no expectation to work on weekends. (If we do, it’s an individual choice and never a mandate.) Work hours are flexible (with the understanding that you are still engaged with your team) and 40-45 hours per week is typical. We prefer employees to be on site as much as possible, as we value collocation and feel the best collaboration occurs in person. However, if you need to be home for an appointment or one of your children is feeling sick, there is plenty of flexibility.
We look for technologists who can translate product strategy concepts into reality.
We start by asking what features make the most sense for the broader market, then we test those ideas and incrementally deliver them. User persona and journey maps aligned with these needs are crafted, user tested and meticulously maintained. Product vision is defined by achieving a good balance between user needs, business needs, and technology needs, and is influenced by both customers and intense collaboration between Product, UX, and Development leads.
In terms of how this impacts the type of engineers we seek to hire, we value folks who can work together on an agile team, design and build quality working software, and can check their egos at the door. Teamwork is key. More specifically, we look for engineers who understand how to translate concepts into reality in the context of B2B SaaS. This means engineers who can solve problems while considering microservices, massive reuse, scalability, security and integration with a broad ecosystem of 3rd party applications and technologies.
Slow to production = Slow to market = An opportunity for the competition to beat us.
At a strategic level, Billtrust is comfortable taking big bets and incubating them as they evaluate them for success or failure. We set aggressive timelines for getting new products off the ground quickly. We’re careful not to constantly make “false starts” and jerk ourselves around; but if something is not working out we fail fast and move on, which we consider a strength.
At a slightly more tactical level, the challenges our customers are facing are constantly changing and they are looking to us to provide the solutions quickly. The pace of adapting to our customer/market is not counted in terms of years, but weeks. Newer applications and products are deployed upon sprint completion, i.e., CI/CD. Our teams recognize the importance of each feature and the need to get it into production with high quality. We strive to have an environment of under one day turn around, which means we should be able to start our day by identifying a fix/change/problem, spend the day developing, building, and testing the modification, then promote it into production before leaving the office for the day without impacting any users.
We focus on the right technologies for the job and pivot when needed.
We hold regular architecture review meetings where all team members can present how they are proposing to solve a problem, including what new technologies might be used. At Billtrust, a combination of architectural standards and team-based decisions drive the adoption of new technologies. For example, we had three scrum teams accustomed to building monolithic traditional three-tier manually tested software transition to containerized microservices with full CI/CD using a 70% different tech stack, on AWS, in one year.
Our microservices architectures are inherently platform vs. vertical application-oriented which allows for massive reuse and rapid time to market execution. We believe in full CI/CD pipeline implementation and we rabidly pursue automating everything. Our next-gen Quantum platform is distributed, event-driven and leverages a microservices architecture — it’s written from the ground up as cloud-native, which enables us to build scalable, reliable systems and quickly iterate.
Full-stack experience is very helpful as well as some experience with cloud-based platforms. That said, no engineer is going to know everything and we are open to hiring engineers who are willing to learn on the job. If you are language agnostic, know how to deliver incrementally without having to 'gold plate' software, see the value in CI/CD, and love to learn, we’d love to meet you. We provide a fair amount of opportunity for learning on the job, pairing with other engineers who have different skills, and regular lunch-and-learns.
Creative + Innovative
Our culture is not a dictation of a solution, but rather engineers working together with stakeholders to build a solution.
Creativity is a huge plus in terms of what we seek in a potential hire because, while we have the freedom to implement in the way we want, that only matters if we come up with something that improves on the existing paradigm. We need to produce enterprise-grade quality software while finding innovative solutions to get there. When we look to hire new team members, we ask: How can they contribute to the team and introduce something (solution or experience) we don't currently have?
Engineers at Billtrust have many creative outlets. Devs can write tools that we use in our pipeline and are encouraged to update open source software to suit our needs. We don't think you need a personal project to fit in, but you need to be able to be willing to solve a lot of problems with code. We’ve had proofs of concept transform into products, and have incorporated hackathon projects into our core workflows. Engineers have ample opportunities to create a solution that becomes part of our general practice or product suite so long as it benefits our customers or internal teams.
We create safe spaces for communication within our teams and we welcome different and challenging ideas from all members.
We're all working towards the same goal, so we should be able to raise our concerns and discuss everything openly. A part of open communication is also being receptive: when things don’t go our way, we make sure everyone understands why so we can accept the decision and get behind the agreed-upon direction.
Our office has a good mix of open and "closed" seating. Development teams are in groups of 6-10 and are seated together in a room. Physically sitting together in smaller groups makes communication easy as you're able to talk to anyone and everyone quickly, but it also provides a good balance for quiet time when people need to focus. Some teams enforce the “headphone rule,” which means that no one should interrupt or disturb anyone wearing headphones unless it's an emergency. This allows engineers to stay focused and prevents them from context switching too much.