The Rewards of a Speedy Development By a Small Team

Rishit Shah

Senior Director of Engineering at Podium



"I was leading a team of 10 engineers when one of our lead product managers asked me to pilot a separate, unrelated project. He informed me that we basically had no headcount, but that we had to find a way to launch a pilot for this project in partnership with another company in just 4 months."

Actions taken

"Obviously, with no headcount I had to be resourceful. I decided to use some of my engineering budget to hire contractors, thus supplementing the headcount requirement. I went out and found a staffing agency - separate from our internal recruiting - and hired one contractor. I also hired another person who was referred to me by a trusted source. Finally, I brought on one of the full-time engineers from my team to round us out. In this fashion, I assembled a team of three people: one android, one IOS, and one back-end engineer. We designed the project and started building it in November and by early February of the following year, we delivered. Within three months' time we shipped the product out. We launched it in San Francisco and it took off right away. Only two months after the launch, the built product led to the acquisition of the company that we were partnering with. Furthermore, our speedy development and delivery laid the foundation for a completely new business unit. I was then responsible for growing our team from the original three engineers and scaling to over 50 people across six different teams in just over one year."

Lessons learned

  • "You can still build new and innovative products in a large company if you're willing to be scrappy, resourceful, and have a can-do attitude."
  • "Having a smaller team with aggressive but clear near-term goals can be a huge motivator compared to a large team with obscure goals. Try to create clear mission-oriented goals that can be achieved in short time frames rather than complex long-running projects."

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Rishit Shah

Senior Director of Engineering at Podium

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