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

Type of session: talk Track: 2 (BATEMAN THEATRE)
Start Time: 10.15

When a company makes the leap from being a start-up to scaling up, how does its community of software engineers cope? What kind of changes are needed to how the team works together, their engineering practices and the technologies they use?

At Sparx we’ve been going through this transition in recent years, and I’m going to talk about how we approached this challenge and what we learnt. The talk will cover:

  • how we restructured our teams with scrum
  • moving our platform onto the Google cloud
  • changing to a microservices architecture with Go
  • Continuous delivery, with multiple daily releases and Launch Darkly feature flags
  • our developer setup and team culture
  • how we grew leadership skills by improving engineers’ career development
  • our approach for gathering bulk data about our product for product research, using Google Big Query

The talk is suitable for a broad audience - there’s a range of topics from management to tech, so something for everyone!

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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