Jessie has been a Software Engineer at Nested for over two and a half years. This article was first written in 2019, and a lot has changed since then, especially following the global pandemic! Although a lot of our team now work remotely several days a week, this piece still reflects our team processes and gives you insight into a typical day at Nested.
I arrive at the office on Thursday morning and sit down at my desk amongst the rest of the Product Engineering team. As a team, we develop and maintain customer-facing products like the customer account, and internal tools like ‘The Nest’ - our CRM. The team is 6 engineers (including myself), our Engineering Manager, Morgan and Product Manager, Matthew. We’re joined on our bank of 8 desks by Head of Design, Will, who oversees design but also has a hands-on role in designing our new features.
Thursday is a normal day at the office with no regular meetings (we try to limit regular meetings to Friday afternoons) and I start the day by checking our Shortcut (formerly Clubhouse) board. This is where we organise all our tasks (“tickets”) and keep track of what everyone is working on. We use a Kanban system, which in simplest terms means we have a long queue of tickets that we work through, rather than breaking them up into sprints. Tickets are added as new features and bugs come along and are moved out of the backlog as we start work on them or complete them.
I remind myself of the ticket I have in progress and see what the rest of the team is up to. I can see from the labels on the tickets that we’re close to hitting our goal for the week, which is shipping a brand new feature: putting the “Property Analysis” into the customer account. One of the things I like about our work at Nested is there’s a lot of greenfield projects building completely new tools to give our sellers insight into or an advantage with their sale. These features are not only new for us, but unique in our industry: no other estate agents are creating powerful digital products or experiences for customers.
At half 10 I go and get coffee with a couple of the other engineers. We’re in a WeWork office at the moment, with a full time barista churning out coffees in the ground floor communal space (alongside the obligatory start up ping pong table and beer taps). We usually get coffee together twice a day, since the coffee is super nice and we are stereotypical coffee-loving developers.
This morning I’m adding some integration tests for my current ticket. I’ve been working on a feature that allows our Relationship Managers to click a switch in our customer management system, which reveals a new page in the customer’s account and triggers an email to let the customer know they have a new feature open to them. It’s been a bit fiddly with front end and back end work, but really interesting.
At 11:50 we have our team stand up, where we go through all tickets on the board that are “in progress” or “in review”. It’s always really fast - we only bring things up if there are blockers on a ticket or things we think the rest of the team should know. We’re done in about a minute and get ready to go to lunch.
We have a tech team tradition of getting Subway for lunch on Thursdays. I’m not sure how this came about, but it’s been at least 3 years in the making. Our office is on the same road as one of the best street food markets in London (Leather Lane) and yet we often pass by the stalls to get our subs on Thursday... I don’t fancy Subway today (to be honest I rarely fancy a Subway) and I get a naan wrap from an indian street food stall instead. As usual, the whole tech team eats lunch together in our kitchen area, whether having bought lunch or brought their own from home.
In the afternoon, I have a couple of hours of unbroken productivity, before a meeting at 3pm. I have pretty few meetings mostly, but I’m acting as “Feature Lead” on a new tool designed to help customers work out how much their asking price might be. Feature leading means I work with one of our Product Managers to manage the delivery of the project, keep stakeholders up to date with progress and measure the business impact of the feature. My colleague Craig wrote a great article on the topic of feature leading, if you want to know more.
The meeting is with myself, Matthew and the Head of Data, Jorge. In addition to the Product Engineering team we have a separate Data Engineering Team responsible for maintaining and developing our many data pipelines and BI and analytics tooling. We’re collaborating with the Data Team on the asking price tool, and we have a quick but useful meeting discussing priorities and requirements.
I return to my desk, and since I’m waiting for a review on a pull request, decide to start on some tech roadmap work. Our tech roadmap is a set of technical tasks and priorities that don’t necessarily relate to any current feature work, but are important for the long term maintainability and scalability of our systems. My task is to implement hot reloading in development for one of our React front ends. I can’t say I’ve done a lot of Webpack, so I take the opportunity to do some reading of documentation and articles about the webpack development server. Gratifyingly, after some time fiddling and trying different things, success comes! It’s a relatively small change, so I put up a pull request leaving CI to run while I head home.
I hope you found it useful to hear about a typical day for an engineer at Nested! We're always interested in talking to other developers. If you're interested in working at Nested, then head over to our careers page for information about open roles and applying.