As a Web Engineer at Mettle, most of my time is spent building features for an application that we have semantically named the ‘Ops Tool’. This is the admin user interface (UI) that our hardworking operations agents use to perform critical customer service functions like onboarding new Mettle customers, replacing lost cards, or verifying transaction details.
Since I joined Mettle nearly eight months ago, I have been consistently impressed both by the system architecture and the people responsible for building it. Nevertheless, rather than exhaustively detailing the tools we use, I’d like to focus a bit on what I like most about our approach to creating software and why I enjoy working here.
First of all, Mettle’s Product and Engineering teams understand the importance of balancing technical and product priorities. Mettle explicitly allocates time for what we call Cross-Mission Engineering (CME), the goals of which are determined collaboratively by members of various ‘chapters’, or working groups, within different disciplines (e.g. backend, web, mobile, and quality assurance).
CME tickets are specifically designed for things like critical software upgrades, refactoring and deprecation of old code, and quality of life improvements for developers. By accounting for tech debt and developer efficiency, we ensure that when we do need to build a new feature or fix a bug, we’re able to achieve our technical aims using up-to-date libraries and modern code design patterns.
As background to the preceding point, I should mention that I spent many years in environments where priorities were wholly product driven. In such contexts, deadlines are determined not by the agile process, but by specific dates and milestones that have been negotiated with customers or decided by non-technical stakeholders.
The results of this sort of practice are entirely predictable: relentless accumulation of technical debt, with software upgrades, refactoring tasks, and testing tickets pushed further down the backlog to make room for more and more features. I don’t need to explain what it’s like when you’re an engineer trying to fix a critical production bug in application code that uses an outdated framework and hasn’t been touched in years. Needless to say, it isn’t pretty.
Another positive about working at Mettle is the fact that during each sprint, every person on my agile team is allotted time for professional development. Personally, I have used this time for everything from completing online courses to reading up on new technologies or learning more about the UK banking sector via modules provided by our parent company, NatWest. We’re given the time and space to learn, which gives me confidence that Mettle is cultivating my talents and investing in me as an employee.
There are many things to like about my job, but what I appreciate most is the balance we strike between all the important tasks in the software development lifecycle. We don’t cut corners technically, and we genuinely appreciate the contributions of our peers, both within and outside of our functional areas.
Want to know more about what it’s like to work at Mettle or see our open roles? Head to jobs.mettle.co.uk.