Evan Stoddard, Site Reliability Engineer, “At OppLoans, all opinions are welcomed. No matter who you are, your thoughts are given weight and value.”
Before I joined OppLoans, I was working for a tech team of thousands of people. I was doing well in my job – in fact, I had recently been promoted – but I wasn’t engaged in my work. When you are in a department that large, with employees spread across multiple time zones, it is really hard to get things done. I wanted to find a place where I could make a more direct impact, and where I wasn’t going to be stuck in a narrow silo.
When I joined OppLoans, the tech team had approximately 20 people. Immediately, I could see that the department thrived on collaboration and my work would have a direct impact on the business. While the teams had their specialties, we weren’t siloed. OppLoans was exactly the kind of work environment I was looking for.
A year later, the department has more than doubled in size, but it’s still an environment built on close collaboration and promoting the best ideas. I’m not waiting for a dozen people to sign off on something just for the sake of signing off. Instead, I can take the ownership that I need to get a project done. And if I need to ask someone a question, I just walk over to their desk and ask them.
OppLoans prides itself as a company where the best ideas win, and that’s especially true in the tech department. But that can be easier said than done, right? How do you know which ideas are actually the best? The OppLoans answer is simple: You create a culture where anyone can offer a suggestion, egos come last, and people truly focus on an idea’s merit.
On the tech team, we have a biweekly architecture meeting that serves as a hub for new ideas. Everyone in the department is invited to attend and make a suggestion or propose a change. When a new idea is presented, all opinions are welcomed. No matter who you are, your thoughts are given weight and value.
Once an idea has buy-in, interested teammates work to develop it into a proposal. When they present it at a future meeting, the same process is repeated. The proposal is debated and discussed, and everyone is encouraged to provide feedback. If an idea makes sense, and it is fairly easy to implement, we will decide right then and there to make it happen.
As we continue to grow – and the tech team will grow even faster in 2020 – we will need to continue to build process. But I am confident that we will preserve our core philosophy that everyone’s input is valued.
Working on such a fast-growing team is exciting and challenging. I find it especially exciting because I know OppLoans has only scratched the surface of what we can do. While I’m thankful that our tech department’s head count won’t reach into the thousands any time soon, I’m eager to see what new ideas we will be dreaming up next year and beyond. Whatever they are, I’m confident the best ideas will win.