Prakriti Mateti

Talk: One does not simply... rebuild a product

Director of Engineering at Culture Amp

One does not simply... rebuild a product

“A rebuild is never finished, only started”“It takes 3 times as long as you expect to rewrite a system”You’re not supposed to do purely technical rebuilds but where’s the fun in that? Come hear about why I decided to do it and what I learnt. It’s either the best or worst decision I ever made.

“A rebuild is never finished, only started” “Technical rebuilds are doomed to fail” “One does not simply walk into Mordor”

We’re rebuilding Culture Amp’s second largest product - Performance. It’s 9 years old, came in as a Series A acquisition 5 years ago, has over 2700 customers with the largest one at 77k users. Against conventional wisdom, we’re rebuilding it from the ground up with an aggressive timeline. The underlying model is outdated, slow to iterate on, and not extensible. The monoliths are riddled with tech debt, tightly coupled, patched and band-aided over many times, and won’t scale to the $3b global Performance market we’re targeting.

That wasn’t challenging enough already I’m also using this opportunity to re- build our engineering culture. Setting a high bar for engineering standards, ways of working, and hoping to improve engagement as we go.

In this talk, I’ll share: - How I came to this decision - How we got buy in from Exec and the Board for a purely technical rebuild - How we tried to set up for success, our principles and standards - Where we failed - Where we succeeded - Lessons that could be useful for anyone thinking about rebuilding a product that’s hampering speed and hindering your ability to innovate or deliver value to your customers.

The rebuild is still in progress. I don’t have all the answers (or any!). But we’ve already learned much - what to do, what not to do, and where the spiders are hiding.

Bio

Prakriti Mateti is a Director of Engineering. She cares deeply about diversity, inclusion, and equity in tech, code quality, engineering culture, and what makes teams work well together. Prakriti loves travelling and food, experimenting with different cuisines and cultures. She enjoys reading, conducting workshops, presenting talks, and occasionally jumping off something high.