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Working at Flanksource
A platform providing multi-dimensional system visibility with integrated incident lifecycle automation, empowering diverse teams, executives and vendors to coordinate and communicate better.
How engineering works at Flanksource
How are the teams structured?
We have a flat hierarchy at the moment, although we are quite small – we're currently only 10. As we grow a little bit larger, we'll spread out into more focused teams but the goal will be to always maintain a flat hierarchy.
What tools do engineers use?
- Source Control: GitHub
- Project Management: GitHub Projects
- Monitoring: Prometheus
- Frontend Components Development: Storybook
- Deployment: Netlify
- Chat: Slack
Can developers pick their own tools?
Developers can use whatever OS or whatever tooling they want on their desktop. From a code and a library perspective, we're not too prescriptive, as long as you can make a logical argument to include a library that is somewhat well maintained and has a compatible license, we will use it.
From a programming language perspective, we're pretty fixed on Golang and React.. We have gone all in on Postgres as our database. Those are the only things that you can't choose, but everything else is open for debate.
How does the development process work? What's the process for working through bugs, features and tech debt?
We don't really separate features, bugs, or tech debt. We follow a Kanban workflow, so we have a backlog. We put stuff at the back of the backlog and people pick a task from the top to work upon. We'll set some directions dictating where we want to go but that’s pretty much it. For example, if we're working with a customer and we want to prioritize them, then we’d convey that to the team. We also don’t ask our engineers to do time estimates for their work #NoEstimates.
How does code get reviewed, merged, and deployed?
When you open a PR, we run a lot of PR based tests and integration tests. We have linting rules set up to check everything automatically. We also have a few mandatory tests, but if you break the other tests, you're going to be expected to fix them at some point.
Although we encourage reviews, it's not a hard requirement. If you don't have the time for it, it's not a hard and fast rule, but it's something that is recommended. I'd say approximately 95% of PRs get reviewed before they are merged.
For deployment, we have a Sandbox environment, and as soon as you merge into main, it will be deployed into that environment.
What is the QA process?
The solution that we're building is not a SaaS offering at this point. It's designed to be deployed inside customer networks. So our Sandbox environment acts as our QA environment, and from there, we tag a specific build of that for promotion into customer environments.
For customers, it's deployed as a Helm chart. You can pick the version of the Helm chart that you want to run and you can override individual versions of some of the components if you just need a hotfix or something similar. But other than that, it's just a matter of creating a new tag for us to release an updated version.
What are some recent examples of interesting development challenges solved by internal teams as part of building the product?
We use Postgres JSON support quite a lot, we decided to use it rather than introducing a separate document data store. As a result, there's a lot of interesting, complex JSON queries that run on Postgres. We have implemented a new Postgres SQL variant designed for our dataset, that includes a SQL parser and a conversion engine.
There's a lot of data manipulation that is not CRUD, we actually don’t do any CRUD. We have PostgREST that sits in front of our database and we push most things through that. There are a couple of SQL functions, and some graph related work.
How does on-call work?
We have an on-call system, but so far it's never been activated. We have two teams – a development team and an SRE team. Currently, the SRE team is handling on-call. We normally run shifts where you can pick an individual shift or an individual week, and then you get paid for the on-call time that you're on standby.
Hiring process at Flanksource
How does the application process work? What are the stages and what is the timeline?
We aim to finish the entire process in three weeks but it might stretch a little bit beyond that. We divided the interview process into following stages:
- In the first stage, we normally do a screening call which is about 15 minutes and is focused on compatibility.
- After that, we will either do a take home assignment, or if the applicant has enough public code, we'll review that public code.
- In this stage, we do a 75 minute read test. In that test, we'll ask the candidate to walk through our code base, and trace a particular function call. We then ask a systems design question based on the code that was walked through.
- In the last stage we check for candidate’s compatibility with our team culture and verify their past references.
What is the career progression framework? How are promotions and performance reviews managed?
We have given thought to it, but we haven't implemented it yet. We don’t have a specific process because of the size of the team, but it is under discussion.
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