Inside the Development Team Culture at BambooHR
We get a lot of attention for our 40-hour work week, especially from developers. It’s probably because 50 hour (or more) work weeks are pretty common in the dev world. Not here, though. Here’s proof*:
But there’s more to our dev team than reasonable hours. A lot more.
Our product is really, really important to us. Without it we wouldn’t have our fantastic jobs. But there’s something that matters more: People.
We care about you as a person. At the end of the day work is just work. We understand that there’s more to life than HR software (like sleep, family, health, hobbies, personal lives—you know, the stuff you go to work to support). Just because you’re working in 1’s and 0’s doesn’t mean you have to feel like a number. We respect you, and we respect your time. That means no lock downs or constant late nights to hit deadlines. But that doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. We all have extreme focus 8 hours a day. Everyone works with intensity and does their best while assuming that everyone around them is doing the same.
We care about your career development. We’re not title crazy. On our dev team, junior developers are empowered to take the lead on projects and scrum teams, and opinions about product direction matter. You’ll meet with managers regularly to talk about what you want out of your career, and we’ll do everything we can to give you the opportunities to achieve those goals.
We care about our clients. New stuff can be cool, but version one isn’t always the best (or version two, or eleven—right, IE?). And because we want to give our clients nothing but the best, we make sure to think through changes and only incorporate coding strategies that we’re confident will improve our product. So you won’t get code whiplash trying to incorporate every single “new” or “improved” or “innovative” technique. (But that doesn’t mean we’re not cutting edge—more on that in a minute.)
BambooHR has some epic company values, but we think it’s important that each team has values specific to the work they’re doing. Here’s what we value in dev:
We hire developers who have more to contribute than great code. We want thought-leaders who can help the features we create accomplish Bamboo’s mission: Set people free to do great work. We want you to bring new ideas, patterns, processes, and tools to the table. You’ll need to give (and expect) feedback about the features you’re developing. Our devs aren’t afraid to confront technical challenges if doing so will create a better product (but avoid them if it won’t). It’s also important that you’re able to express ideas appropriately and understand that—because we care about doing things right—the path to change might not happen overnight.
We won’t stick someone over your shoulder to babysit your code. We want developers who are comfortable owning and completing tasks clear until they go live. Like we said earlier, your career development is important to us. And we know in order for you to fully own your role as a developer, you’ll need to explore and understand cutting-edge ideas, patterns, tools, and processes (and then advocate for and against implementing them).
Just because you’ll be autonomous doesn’t mean you won’t have to work well on a team. Our developers learn a lot from each other (as well as from other people at Bamboo and those who use our software). That means you’ll need to be willing to learn but also willing to teach. You’ll need to collaborate on solutions to problems and be prepared to rally around whatever decision the team makes (even if it wasn’t the solution you were advocating for).
We mostly use PHP, and we’re proud of it. It’s allowed us to build simple integrations and play nice with many partners—including SwipeClock and Maxwell Health. And, more importantly, create a product that saves tens of thousands of users in more than 80 countries a ton of time and headache every year.
The software we create is used by everyone from executives at huge companies like Soundcloud and Foursquare to the office manager at the dentist’s office down the street. We work to set employees and HR free to do great work through our variety of tools. Our customers love us because they can count on any product we create being thorough and top of the line (that’s where our developers come in).
And our PHP makes all this possible. The way we write PHP is incredibly effective because we use development techniques that transcend languages. It gives our developers an advantage too, because when you’re able to master techniques, you can write in any language. Code becomes an agnostic tool that you can use to code pretty much anything you want—and that makes us very valuable. Whatever particular advantage other developers say they get from a different language like Java or Ruby on Rails, we’ve got it with PHP. That’s not to say we won’t ever incorporate any other languages. We’re open minded and simply view code as technology (not religion).
Some of the technical things we focus on are service oriented architecture and test-driven development. We also use a framework we built ourselves (before frameworks were even mainstream, how’s that for ahead of the curve?).
Bottom line, our dev team is pretty unique, and we think that’s a good thing. We’re autonomous team players with a penchant for exceptional products. We code with beautiful technique. And we’re treated like people—not resources to wring dry. Want to meet the team? Check out our open development positions.
*Full disclosure: This video is of our sales team. We took one of our dev team, but half of them were working from home (flexibility is another great Bamboo perk) so it didn’t look very cool.