Taking a developer community from start-up to scale-up

Type of session: talk

At Sparx, we’ve recently really scaled up the number of users of our Sparx Maths platform, going from a “start-up” mindset to a “scale-up” mindset. To do this we’ve had to really improve the way our developer community of 20 engineers, all working on the same product, coordinates to deliver rapid continuous improvements.

I’ll talk about some of the things we’ve learnt such as how we do scrum, our developer setup and team culture, continuous delivery with GitHub, how we test and deploy changes in the cloud for multiple daily releases, using feature flags for incremental rollouts and AB testing, and how we use BigQuery for big-data analytics.

The talk should be suitable for a broad audience, rather than having a lot of technical detail.We are still learning how to do this well, and I’m hoping the talk might get feedback about how other local software teams tackle these kinds of problems and get ideas of new techniques we can try.

Session takeaways

  • I think people new to software development might learn about some software engineering practices/techniques they have not heard about before
  • More experienced engineers will hopefully be interested in what we've learnt from trying different approaches to continuous delivery and pick up some new ideas or perspectives
  • I am hoping that the talk might encourage others in the audience to share how they approach similar problems and give me (and Sparx) some new ideas of techniques to try


I spent 14 years doing various techy jobs in the civil service, from research into data mining and information visualisation through to building web apps with JavaScript.

In 2016, I moved to Sparx, where I am now a Principal software engineer. I work on our Sparx Maths system, which is used by UK and international schools to give students tailored Maths homework. I currently write software with Go, JavaScript and Google Cloud, and help run our software development teams.

Note: Speaker information is subject to change

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