We host discussions and produce resources around the topics of technology and engineering by CTOs for the community.
In the latest edition of CTOTalk, Raju Shetty, the Head of Engineering at RazorPay gave us deep insights into what it really took for one of India’s biggest payment gateway platforms to scale successfully and witness a whopping 500 percent growth in the last year.
Shetty, who has over two decades of experience in system operations, technology architecture, and product strategies, has worked with several startups including Citibank, Flipkart, and Yahoo!, before finally joining RazorPay in 2018.
CTOTalk Monthly deep dive with Raju Shetty was a phenomenal success and over 180 participants joined to listen and interact with him.
Here are the key takeaways from the CTOTalk session:
In today’s digital world, where new technological trends keep on changing, it doesn’t make sense to invest in technologies that will become irrelevant in less than five years and wouldn’t allow you to scale your infrastructure easily as your business grows in size.
The fact is, you will need to evolve and upgrade your systems every 18–24 months no matter what, or you risk falling behind.
Rebuilding your organization’s entire technology infrastructure from the ground up just because your current infrastructure cannot scale according to the growing and changing needs of your business can turn out to become incredibly costly, time-consuming, and overwhelming for your employees.
When your startup is in the bootstrap stage, it can be tempting to build a complex architecture for your application right at the start, to show all that your company can handle. But building a full-fledged complex architecture, without you even having a good understanding of the domain or how your startup will eventually evolve in the coming years can be a dangerous move. After all, you don’t want to build a complex architecture right away only to realize that it doesn’t even work.
Instead of overengineering, take a simplistic approach to your tech stack and focus on building functional applications that are compelling for the users. While the end user experience is important, it’s equally important to build a product that truly solves the main pain points of your target customers.
When you have a simple application, managing the overall infrastructure, security, and bugs also becomes easier as well.
Building an engineering culture in the initial stages is crucial for startups that are planning to rapidly grow and scale their operations. A great engineering culture in a company leads to things getting done in the right way and at the right time. It also leads to happier employees and customers as well.
To build the right engineering culture, start by taking regular employee feedback to understand what the company can do in order to provide engineers with all the tools and support that they need to perform their best work. You can also choose culture ambassadors from different teams to help reinforce the company’s engineering culture.
As your company grows in size, your engineering team may get further and further away from the customers and lose sight of what they are working towards. That is why, it is also a good idea to have the engineering teams talk directly to customers or sit down with customer support teams in order to understand the current challenges faced by customers.
When your company is still small in size, it is super easy to get everyone into a room and discuss your next plan — whether you want to launch a new feature for customers or craft a roadmap for the next 12 months.
But as your company grows in size and the number of employees increases with it, including everyone in the decision-making process can be nothing less than challenging.
To resolve this, you can create different councils within the organization so that employees can organize brainstorming sessions and suggest the right way to move forward. You can create a tech council, front-end council, security council, branding council, and more with 5–15 employees in each council. The members of these councils don’t have to all be from the same team. You should approach this as a cross-team collaboration in order to make it a success.
It can take a lot to scale your startup successfully and no matter how much you try to prepare for it, you are bound to run into a few roadblocks along the way. It’s all about how you deal with those roadblocks and learn from them. Remember that scalability is a mindset too. Once you have your mind in the game, the whole process becomes all the more easier.
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