WAND Software Team Update: Continually Improving

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A special guest blog by Erik Hanson, VP of Software Development at WAND Corporation

It has been quite a year for the WAND Software team and since it is the time of year where many people look back and examine how things are different now than they were a year ago, I thought now would be a great time to post a brief update. In short, I am proud of how far we have come, and incredibly excited for what we are doing next.

First off, we have kicked off development of two brand new green-field development projects.  We have built new teams of developers, product owners, UI/UX designers and QA analysts to build the next generation of restaurant management applications. These teams are using leading edge technologies such as AngularJS, TypeScript, Cordova, hBase, Spark and Kafka just to name a few. These projects were just ideas a few months ago and it has been extremely exciting to see the teams come together to bring these ideas to inception, and I am thrilled to grow these teams and these products even further in the New Year.

Another exciting development this year has been our ability to release our existing applications more frequently, thus allowing us to more quickly deliver value to our customers. We have been able to release to production twice as frequently in 2015 as we were in 2014, and through our embrace of automation and our goal of truly being able to treat our infrastructure as code in 2016, we are planning to increase our rate of release by another 40%. This will continue the trend of delivering value to our customers faster, and closing the feedback loop to ensure we are delivering the best solutions for them as well.

One of the biggest reasons we have been able to start these new projects and deliver updates to our current projects more frequently is our refinement of our practice of Scrum. I plan on writing a whole entry on our use of Scrum and where we have found success with it, so I won’t go into too much detail now, but one thing I will highlight is the increased collaboration. Development, QA and Product are collaborating on User Stories; Dev and QA are collaborating on testing the application; and discrete product teams are collaborating on shared architecture. This collaboration is spawning innovation which in turn is creating an energy that leads to further collaboration and innovation. A truly virtuous cycle.

And it is that environment that makes me the most excited. Everyone I work with is excited to celebErik Hanson Restaurant Softwarerate our successes, but at the same time look for a way to do better. Each team member is looking for a way to continually improve, be it the process, the product, or their own performance, and that is an exciting environment to be in. I cannot wait for what is next.

Erik Hanson is one of WAND’s many Rock Stars and leads the software development team at WAND. Erik and his team focus on developing restaurant software to expand WAND’s capabilities in the digital menu space, as well as increase its point of sales and back office restaurant management features. Outside of work Erik enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters and pursuing the perfect cup of coffee.

 


WAND CORPORATION: A Day In The Life in Software Development

A special guest blog by Erik Hanson, VP of Software Development at WAND Corporation

Erik Hanson Restaurant SoftwareOne of the most common questions that I get asked during the interview process is “What does the typical day look like?” I struggle to answer that question, because while we definitely have a routine, each day is a bit different, and each team member has a little different day.

For example, we are flexible in our daily schedules. I have one team member who gets in around 5:30 and leaves by 2:30. Others get in much later and leave later.  Also, we practice Scrum, so we have stand-ups every morning for each team where we cover the three questions. Then once every two weeks each team has a day of Scrum ceremonies, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective and then Sprint Planning.

And from time-to-time there may be a meeting on TypeScript best practices, AWS automation or automated testing tools. Or, a team member may request an in person code review as well to get some help or to demonstrate a new technology.

However, when it comes down to it, my team spends most of their time on two things: Code and Collaboration.

Software is what WAND does, and it is critical the Software Department focus on building the best Restaurant Management software on the market. WAND works hard to allow the development teams to focus their efforts on this crucial job, for example:

  • Every morning we have what we call “studio sessions” where we eliminate outside distractions from the development room.
  • Each team member also has a light at their desk to indicate if he or she is in the zone (red) or if he or she is available for a conversation (green).
  • Collaboration within each dev team, however, is always encouraged. Each dev team is co-located with developers, QA analysts, UI/UX designers and others all sitting together.
  • Each team’s product owner is also in close proximity in case any questions arise.

Every day I see team members working together on designing, developing, testing, validating and iterating on our applications, continuously working to make them the best.

And that is the constant: the comradery, the collaboration and the passion for killer technology.  An individual team member may do different things from writing code to reviewing user stories to developing automated test cases to automating the deployment of our application. But the teamwork, the intense passion for the work, and the joy of well-crafted code; that is a day in the life of a Software Development Team member at WAND.

Erik Hanson is one of WAND’s many Rock Stars and leads the software development team at WAND. Erik and his team focus on developing restaurant software to expand WAND’s capabilities in the digital menu space , as well as increase its point of sales and back office restaurant management features. Outside of work Erik enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters and pursuing the perfect cup of coffee.

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A break out area for the WAND software development team.