When ShareFile became part of Citrix in Oct 2011, there were about 10-15 Engineers who knew its products end their ends.
Today we have 100+ engineers and we are very proud about the growth we’ve had, but not so proud about the way we on-boarded the new engineers to the ShareFile team. As we didn’t have an efficient on-boarding process, we ended up creating silos where engineers didn’t know the products or enough to lead a feature end-to-end, which put pressure on the original ShareFile Engineers.
To face (and ultimately overcome) this challenge, in Q3 of 2014, the engineering team decided to try something new.
We established ShareFile Bootcamp.
Every new engineer that joined ShareFile Team–whether they were a recent college grad or a new director–would go through an intensive six week program designed to immerse the new engineer into the ShareFile code base and promote the types of habits that would allow us to scale up our organization. Bootcamp programs involve fixing bugs, implementing small enhancements or features, or building internal tools, or making improvements to our infrastructure.
The main goal of Bootcamp is to get people up to speed on our all parts of our code base while promoting good habits that we believe will pay dividends in the long term, such as courageously fixing and verifying the bugs as we come across them rather than leaving them for future engineers. It is a steep learning curve and our engineers have to meet high expectations. Part of Bootcamp is making sure those expectations are met. A rotating set of senior engineers serve as Bootcamp mentors and work regularly with new engineers to coach them on how to be more effective at ShareFile. The mentors review all the bootcampers’ code or test setups and answer any questions that engineers might otherwise be too shy to ask. We also have a chat room dedicated for bootcampers so they can air their questions and concerns, and which are timely addressed by the senior engineers.
Even with all this support, most Bootcamp graduates agree that the most valuable part of Bootcamp is the tasks they are assigned and the network they establish. Engineers have real work assigned to them the first time they open their laptops and many push code to production or verify a bug to overcome a customer issue within their first week.
Whether it is fixing or verifying bugs reported by the customers, writing code, creating a test plan for a new feature/enhancement, or making improvements to our infrastructure, most bootcamp graduates agree that there is simply no better way to learn than by diving into a code or into real issues where they have an opportunity to make a difference. Additionally, they would interact with most of the subject matter experts at ShareFile, learn from them and get to know them. Without this bootcamp, it’s likely they would have rarely (or never) interacted with these engineers.
Bootcamp also helps educate engineers about the many opportunities at ShareFile, ensuring that they’ll have an opportunity in the future to pick a team or project they are passionate about and where they feel they can make the biggest impact.
As the program has developed, we’ve noticed a number of additional benefits. One of the most obvious incentives is that we now have a large team of highly motivated and talented engineers working on bugs that might not otherwise get engineering attention. Also, some of them land up implementing small features which would otherwise have taken some time to put in place.
The Bootcamp program is young and is evolving to better fit our needs, like most things at ShareFile.
Some of the improvements are quickly adapted as we get feedback from the many talented engineers in Bootcamp. Together, we will work hard to make sure that every engineer has all the tools, knowledge and support to be able to hit the ground running and make changes that positively impact 50,000+ ShareFile accounts, whether it is your 1st week or your 156+ (like me).
Finally, a big thanks to Jesse Lipson (VP and GM, Document Cloud), Praveen Grover (Sr. Director, Document Cloud) and entire ShareFile engineering team for making it possible for me to lead and manage such an awesome program that has a huge impact and upholds 2 out of 4 document cloud ways of doing things “Be Remarkable” and “Show Customer Empathy”
Some of the comments from Bootcampers:
“I strongly believe bootcamp really helped me gel with the team and greatly understand exactly why we do what we do here. It reflects the culture we have of being remarkable and putting our customers first to meet their needs”
Pratik Somanagoudar, Platforms Software Development Engineer
Read more at http://www.sharefile.com/blog/sharefile-engineering-boot-camp/#kpMbJvYWURuKihTf.99
“The last week of the bootcamp was easily my favorite part. Our goal for the week was to think of a new feature and develop a proof of concept that we could implement in any part of the ShareFile platform, which is incredible for the sixth week of a new job”
Wesley Honeycutt, Android Software Development Engineer
Read more at http://www.sharefile.com/blog/engineering-new-hires/#5hSVmL2ApGGb6KSO.99
Director, Product Development