A Look Inside: Software Engineering at The Very Group

Nov 08, 2021
hackajob Staff

There's a reason why The Very Group were the only retailer to appear in Glassdoor’s top list of places to work for work/life balance. Not only are they an ambitious business that are going places, but they’re also absolutely committed to looking after their people and making Very the best possible place to work in tech. Right now, the team is growing, and they need great engineers to help provide a seamless digital customer experience. They're currently hiring via hackajob, so we thought we'd show you a sneak peek into life at The Very Group.

This week's blog comes from William Lee, Software Engineering Lead.

William Lee, Software Engineering Lead at The Very Group

Hey, nice to meet you, tell us more about you!

Hey, my name is William Lee, I’ve worked at The Very Group for over 20 years starting off as a trainee developer, and I’m now software engineering lead in the Logistics and Fulfilment (L&F) tribe. The L&F tribe are primarily concerned with the physical products we sell on our sites Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com and how they move between our suppliers and our customers. We influence the customer journey at multiple points from determining whether a product is in stock and available to order, to tracking where the product is once it's left the warehouse to processing returned products.

What do you like about working in the tech team at Very?

Despite having been in the business for over 2 decades, right now is undoubtedly the most exciting time to be at The Very Group. We're undergoing a massive transformation in the way we work to a more agile software development approach and also to our tech stack utilising microservices architectures hosted on AWS with technologies such as containers, serverless, Terraform, React, Go, Artificial Intelligence, Jamstack, ELK Stack, and many more. This provides endless opportunities for engineers to make a difference to the business and their own careers.

I also enjoy that my role can be both technical and people focused. I provide direction in terms of how we engineer software to ensure we're building things the right way and I support software engineers across the tribe to deliver value for the business and our customers.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Depending on the day, it might start with a tribe huddle in which an update on business performance and any current tech related highlights are shared. This was a great way to help everybody start the day off during the first lockdown, but now we're taking a hybrid approach to working and colleagues are able to see each other face-to-face there's less of a need for it every day.

The rest of my day will vary from attending stand-ups, meetings relating to business initiatives, communities of practice where we share information across tribes, technical review sessions, squad ceremonies, 1-to-1s, etc.

What are you currently working on?

We just completed the transfer of ownership of one of our partner warehouses to bring it in-house. This included the migration of the on-premise applications into the AWS cloud. Related to that, I'm involved in the integration of a new warehouse management system which will replace the legacy application at the same warehouse. The initiative is in its early stages so we have an opportunity to introduce improvements to how we work which will improve efficiency and provide more certainty in our deployments.

What does work/life balance look like for you at Very?

Our squads in the tribe I’m involved in work in 2-week sprints so each has one day in the office per fortnight to close down and plan for the next sprint. Aside from that, I may go into the office occasionally for a collaborative session or to meet a new starter, but I'm working from home 90% of the time which really helps with family life and the school run in particular. We have the autonomy to manage working patterns locally which allows us to be more flexible when it comes to personal circumstances. I love catching up with colleagues in the office especially those unplanned encounters which can often be an efficient way share ideas and information, but I also appreciate the time I save by not having to commute daily.

Any proud moments that stand out for you at Very?

It's difficult to choose just one! I'm really passionate about our people so when I see somebody I've hired go on to achieve great things it provides me with an immense sense of satisfaction. It can be a slow-burning process, but I love being involved in the development of our talent and unlocking potential. The professional development plans are a great way to see people change and grow over time. It's great to see people be surprised at their own level of achievement!

And...that's it! Yes we know, you're itching to find out more and how you can be part of the team. The good news is - they're hiring for roles you'd love. Head on over here to be matched with them when your profile goes live.

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