I have been working at The Experience Engine full-time
Our customers are "the big guys" (Sea World, Carnival, Hilton, etc).
--- I can say "I wrote software that's running on that cruise ship over there." There's something kind of rewarding about that.
The people are good.
--- The people in the Orlando office are a rather fun group (good sense of humor, sociable, we have a former bartender which is a plus).
--- We don't keep those who can't carry their weight. We either train them up or we get rid of them after a few months if training fails.
--- I don't think I've met, at least in person, anyone here who is not open to creative criticism. This includes the management.
The working environment is very engineer friendly.
--- Politics exist in any environment. Both product owners and both managers I've worked under have done a great job at keeping the politics away from us.
--- We try to follow best practices, when possible, when developing our products, i.e. unit test, do code/peer reviews, microservice all-the-things, take a stab a tech debt from time to time, etc. I've gotten the sense that this supported and encouraged by the executive board.
Working conditions are good.
--- I've been working here for almost a year and I have yet to need to work on the weekend.
--- There are no "dedicated" hours that we're required to work. It's more of a "we have x amount of work that we have to get done by this date" type of environment. I tend to average between 40 and 45 hours a week.
--- While we are expected to be in the office, we are allowed to work from home a few days a week if needed.
--- We are allowed to dress casual (we can wear shorts and flip-flops).
The executives and managers are transparent, care about their employees, and are easily contactable.
Lead developers spend WAY too much time in meetings.
--- Our leads are very good at developing: that's why we put them there. Allowing them to get put in meetings for 4-7 hours a day is counter-productive.
There is a serious lack of documentation.
--- While we have lists of our API calls, including their parameters and returns, there are very few FAQs, user guides, and process flows. There is no documentation, internal or external, for specific sequence of calls required to [insert common process here].
Advice to Management
Schedule one day a week (Friday) where any non-"the ship realistically could sink if we don't have this meeting" meetings are absolutely prohibited.
--- We did this at my last job. Literally no one complained.
Hire 2-4 technical writers: at least one based in Orlando and at least one based in San Diego.
--- This needs to be done sooner rather than later and is going to be exacerbated by our growth. This growth includes our number of employees, number of customers, and number of products.
--- Remember: communication breakdowns can be deadly.
Do not allow the culture to slip.
I applied through an employee referral. The process took a week. I interviewed at The Experience Engine (Orlando, FL) in May 2016.
I had a phone interview and two in-office interviews with various members of the team. Everyone was very welcoming and good at explaining their role and area of expertise. I felt that the interview was truly as much for me to get to know the company as for them to get to know more about me. We chatted about my previous experience and they asked a couple of technical questions.
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