In 2021, the American CoderPad and the French CodinGame joined forces to become a global leader in technical recruitment. In one year, the two experts in developer assessment grew from a tech team of about 15 people each to more than 40 engineers altogether, with new hires onboarded every month. This merger was a great opportunity for testing and experimenting with how to manage tech teams spread across multiple time zones. Here are 5 key learnings.
Embracing a new flexible working mode
Before the pandemic, whereas CodinGame was mostly an office-based company with people working remotely only a few days a week, CoderPad was already a 100% remote company. The pandemic has accelerated the switch to a full remote working policy for both.
A recent survey conducted by the two companies found that 70% of tech professionals prefer to work remotely, at least a few days a week, with the hybrid work style offering the best balance. Some team members appreciate the flexibility of hybrid work to foster social interaction and break isolation. In places where they don’t have offices, CodinGame and CoderPad encourage people to gather in coworking spaces to work collectively and meet.
The Engineering Team organizes a lot of online Brown Bag Lunches/Technical talks to share their passion for technical topics and learn from each other. This is an informal way to encourage colleagues to interact as much as possible and to allow everyone to get to know each other better.
Coordinating across time zones
Loick Michard, CodinGame’s CEO, confirms: “Virtual teams can definitely be as productive as on-site teams if we provide the right frameworks to work with”.
With people working in 10+ different time zones without the ability to be online simultaneously, one very important step to facilitate remote collaboration between tech teams is to consolidate processes globally.
For live meetings, CodinGame and CoderPad people keep free time slots in their agendas where everyone can get online at the same time. For instance, Pacific Time employees try to stay available from 8 am to 10 am PT to be able to work with CET colleagues for which this slot is at the end of the working day. For everything else, the company adapted to asynchronous communication.
Adapting to asynchronous communication
Working asynchronously requires documenting as much as possible so that teammates can find needed information at any time, as soon as they start their day. At CoderPad and CodinGame, people had to switch from open discussions at the coffee machine or in the open space to online communication and documentation tools like Slack, Notion and P2.
To prevent people from getting stuck with an unanswered question that they asked asynchronously, the company put in place a process to answer inquiries with maximum responsiveness. Overall, managers try to anticipate and avoid as much as possible back and forth between distributed teams so that people can work in autonomy with minimal friction.
Choosing appropriate remote working tools
Slack is a great tool for remote team conversations, however, CoderPad and CodinGame noticed that it has limitations in certain cases. First, notifications can be disruptive and create an unnecessary sense of urgency, which is not compatible with serene asynchronous communication. Second, for brainstorming sessions, Slack proved not to be the most effective tool. Too often, channels are cluttered with interruptive short messages and important information is lost because of time shifts.
CoderPad and CodinGame decided to pair Slack with P2, a microblogging WordPress plugin which is very convenient to keep up, discuss, iterate on ideas and collect feedback. P2 can be even better than a live conversation because no one speaks louder than the other and everyone can contribute and share their views.
For anything else regarding procedures, corporate information, Department operations, they use Notion which is amazing to document and sort everything in the long term in the manner of an internal wiki. Well documented Notion pages allow to get rid of a lot of live meetings. It’s the place where people can find any information regarding what’s going on in the company or which is meant to last.
For the tech team in particular, CoderPad and CodinGame organize a technical kick-off meeting for each upcoming feature, which is very well documented in Notion (covering technical descriptions, storage details, critical tests, monitoring and alerting, security by design, CCPA, scaling projections, UI, etc). Asana is favored for project management with better flexibility and interaction.
Creating flexible engineering Squads
Because it’s complicated to be agile in a tech team of more than 10 people, CoderPad and CodinGame decided to create engineering “squads” which are smaller teams in charge of specific projects. Squads are generally composed of one lead Product Manager and one Lead Developer. They are a great way to mix people with complementary skills, which reinforces collaboration. To keep each squad strong and efficient, knowledge sharing is key. It allows people to switch teams easily without having to undergo a big learning curve, while avoiding silos.
About CoderPad – CoderPad is a comprehensive technical assessment platform that helps companies efficiently hire candidates with the strongest skills. Our technology empowers customers around the world to screen and interview best-in-class talent with a focus on candidate experience, bringing a layer of transparency and fairness to the hiring process. CoderPad’s suite of technology covers the entire interview process from initial screening to live programming interviews and allows companies to hire the best developers based on skills and not resumes. Headquartered in San Francisco, CoderPad serves over 3,300 customers, including Goldman Sachs, Netflix, Slack, Snowflake, Stripe, and more, and has hosted more than 3 million technical interviews in 30+ languages. Visit www.coderpad.io for more information.
About CodinGame – CodinGame is both a game-based training platform for developers and a powerful technical hiring suite for companies. Over 2 million passionate programmers from around the world sharpen their skills, for free, by playing games and solving puzzles on codingame.com. Companies looking to recruit skilled programmers turn to CodinGame’s hiring solution to streamline their processes with online, pre-employment technical tests. Recruiters use these tests to quickly, efficiently and fairly shortlist developers based on their coding skills. CodinGame’s customers include Nasdaq, Electronic Arts, Samsung, and Facebook. Visit www.codingame.com/work for more information.