Armin Reiter, Cryptix CIO, participated in Devjobs.at’s “Tech Lead Stories” series and discussed the opportunities and challenges he faces while building an international development team. (Note: The interview was originally published in German and translated into English.)
How big is the Dev team? What is the composition of the team, divided into functions?
We are currently working on two products: eCredits and Blocktrade. For each product, we have several small teams in different locations. This adds up to over 35 people in development, including project managers, architects, developers, quality assurance, designers and DevOps.
How is your Dev team organised, and why did you choose a particular organisation? What are the advantages, what are the disadvantages?
The Cryptix Group was founded two years ago and has been growing steadily since. The organisation in the DevTeam has been continuously adapted to the size.
In the beginning, when only a few people worked in development, we worked very informally on call. With the expansion, we oriented ourselves more and more towards Scrum. Of course, it does not make sense to use the complete Scrum framework for three people, but as the team started growing, it became necessary to formalise the organisation more.
We are still growing and expanding our products. As part of this, we are constantly adapting our organisation to find the best balance between formal and static as well as informal and dynamic processes.
In addition to the agile development process, we use higher-level project plans to synchronise individual streams, such as app and web development, support, accounting, core or both product lines.
What makes your team special compared to other teams?
We are very international, and even in our still small team, we already unite over ten nations. This diversity brings different points of view and helps the entire company not only to live an open mindset but also to experience it daily. The cooperation is characterised by mutual respect, trust and the knowledge that we can rely on each other.
How is your dev department integrated into the recruiting process?
We invite potential applicants for several interviews. This helps them to learn more about their future colleagues and the working environment in order to get an idea of the position. If time permits, we will try to have lunch together so that the applicant and our team can get to know each other outside the office.
Is there a concrete procedure for new colleagues? How are they integrated?
We put special emphasis on independence and personal responsibility. Therefore, new colleagues are ‘thrown in at the deep end’ and start directly with the first tasks. If the new employees are involved from day one, onboarding is usually very fast.
During the introduction, the basic tools and working methods are demonstrated. Short webinars explain the organisation, systems and their dependencies. For unclear topics that might also be interesting for other new colleagues, we hold a video conference on Microsoft Teams and record it as a webinar.
New employees are also encouraged to add to the existing documentation and guides to make it easier for all subsequent employees to get started.
In addition to qualifications, what else do you value when looking for developers for your team?
The candidate must fit into the team not only professionally but also personally. Enthusiasm for technology is essential. We work with cutting-edge technologies: Without the relevant interest, it is hardly possible to keep up with all the developments.
What technical challenges do you face?
We are a cloud-only fintech company that develops financial products. In this area, there are legal requirements, such as PSD2, MiFID ll or EBA guidelines, which we have to meet. At the same time, we ensure the security, scaling and high availability of our products. This is particularly important in the financial sector.
Blockchain is another core technology in the company. The entire area around Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies is rapidly developing technologically but also legally and regulatory.
What technologies do you work with?
We use the most suitable technology stack for each of our products. Cryptix, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, is very Microsoft focused: We use, among others, Microsoft Azure (PaaS), C#, .net Core and Angular. The mobile apps are native apps in Java and Kotlin or Swift.
How has the company’s technology changed since it was founded?
The main tech stack has remained unchanged. The recent acquisition of Blocktrade, a digital assets exchange, has expanded our tech stack. We will harmonise these two stacks to a certain extent.
We are also conducting research into various blockchain technologies, and we are staying on the ball here as well.