Here at Tulip, our technical roles span two groups:
- Product Engineering
- Launch Engineering
Our Product Engineering team is a brilliant group of alchemist building new Tulip app features and functionality for our top tier global retail clients and prospects.
Launch Engineering is our specialized swat team responsible for marrying the Tulip solution and product architecture with the systems and environments that are unique to each of our clients. Launch sees the transformation of the retail industry daily and is the team called in to brainstorm and solve some of the most important data and implementation challenges faced by clients.
For Tulip’s next blog series, we’re nominating and recognizing some of our talent within the Launch Engineering team as they speak to their career stories and motivations in working for Launch, technical and leadership skills developed in these unique roles, and the cutting edge technology problems that they’re solving daily to bring the Tulip suite of products to our clients with each implementation.
Join us in our recognitions and in learning about the roles within the Launch Engineering team at Tulip.
This week, you’ll find us in conversation with Rachel Lewis, Senior Software Developer at Tulip.
Tell us about your career story? How did you get to your current position at Tulip?
Rachel: I started at Well.ca fresh out of school, on a 3-month contract because I was leaving the area with my now-spouse. At the end of that contract, we decided that we would try out a remote work arrangement, so I continued to work for Well.ca remotely. After about a year and a half I returned to Kitchener. A couple of months after my return, Tulip was born, with 13 of us joining together to build a new company led by Ali Asaria, who had been the CEO of Well.ca.
I came back from parental leave for my first child and the Launch team (then called “Delivery”) had just been formed. The then leader of that group tried to convince me to join, but I was more interested in staying in the core Product team and declined. A few months later, I joined Delivery because I decided I wanted to try something different (turns out Product was a lot of research and development, and Launch is a lot of solving puzzles and implementing similar solutions across customers – my specialties!). I ended up leading a difficult project, resulting in my promotion to Senior Developer. After this I went on a second parental leave. When I came back, Tulip was scaling fast and Launch felt like it was in a period of difficult transition. I found myself motivated and invested in improving processes on the team. As a result of my work, I was offered the role of Team Lead. I took the opportunity because I wanted to continue making improvements to the team and processes around me.
What education/experience/personality traits do you need to be successful in your current role within Tulip’s Launch team?
Rachel: In client service roles, and here at Tulip too, you need to show care for your clients and deliveries while also prioritizing work-life balance to stay healthy and successful. The ability to leave work and disconnect is extremely important to avoid burnout. As a team lead, I’m often pitching in to help out the team, unblocking others and working with many teams to solve problems. Project success depends on these qualities.
What skills have you picked up in Launch that are unique in dev roles and why did you target getting these skills at this point in your career?
Rachel: I wouldn’t say I’ve been intentional about targeting the acquisition of specific skills at any point in my career, but Launch has exposed me to many parts of the system. I have had to learn about monitors, services, and all the different places to look when things go wrong. When you work in professional services and delivery, there’s a lot to debug! Also, I’m fortunate in that I work with really smart people, and I feel I’ve learned a lot from them.
Give us a day in the life of a Launch team lead at Tulip?
Rachel: When I get in, I spend the first bit of my day catching up on email and chat with the team, and maybe go get some coffee too! I don’t often get much “real work” done before our morning stand-up, but after that it’s time to look through the sprint board, and see if there’s any tickets that need to be reviewed. I also keep an eye on Mattermost (our company wide communication channel, similar to Slack) in case I need to unblock anyone immediately.
I’m responsible for making forward progress in whatever way I can. Sometimes my day is entirely unblocking and testing; sometimes I spend all day writing code. My daily work depends on what’s highest priority and what the needs of the team are. The exact job of a Launch team lead is constantly evolving as no two client integrations are the same.
What problems are you solving daily for clients?
Rachel: My team is focused primarily on backend data integrations with our clients’ internal systems, as well as leveraging our partner integrations to fulfill our clients’ needs. If there are customizations needed or bugs found in what’s being sent to the front-end, that’s where we come in! I’m also personally helping with scoping and architecting new features.
What do you enjoy most about your role and where do you feel you’re developing new skills that were not previously in your arsenal?
Rachel: I enjoy the people I get to interact with daily. I enjoy debugging and investigating tickets. I enjoy participating in the solutioning and future vision of Launch as well as advocating for the team. New skills that I’m developing are around people leadership, decision making, and offering employees feedback to help them improve their performance.