Head Of Software Development
May 12, 2020
Hi, I’m Rajul Garg, Head of Software Development at Tesco Bengaluru.
I currently lead the store’s engineering team, we build the systems which customers interact with in a Tesco store. This includes the manned checkouts, self-service checkouts, Scan As You Shop, and the Customer Service Desk system.
With the world on lockdown, I wanted to reflect on how work culture has changed over the last 23 years of my career.
The Early Days..
As a new graduate entering the world of work, I remember wearing a tie on my first day. The work culture was as formal as the dress code. Someone would allocate tasks and I would work with my 4-member team to complete them. Over time, the type of work changed, but the style remained the same, we always started with booking a meeting room and scribbling on a whiteboard.
A New Beginning at Tesco..
I was ten years in to my career when I joined Tesco, I immediately noticed a different culture which was much ahead of its time in India. There were no cubicles and the organisation was non-hierarchical, with a focus on collaboration rather than task management.
This was a refreshing change, the environment at Tesco enabled me to get involved in multiple projects and develop my skills in terms of depth and breadth of expertise. As I have grown from program manager to leading the engineering for store systems, I can clearly recognise the value of this open culture, which I get to experience every day.
The people I have worked with at Tesco have consistently gone above and beyond to deliver for our customers, and technology is helping us to do that. The annual Peak Readiness meetings involved technologists from different parts of the business across the world, collaborating via Telepresence as we planned for the run up to Christmas. I love this style of working, as it’s easy to complete the job, team’s productivity improves, and all this is achieved in a fun-filled environment.
The Covid Challenge..
COVID-19 has forced my teams across the UK, Europe and India to work from home, while stores remain open to ensure that essentials are available for all. Given the scale at which we operate and the need to get things right first time for our customers, this could have been a challenge, but Tesco’s large Tech team has easily adapted to the current situation, thanks to the agile culture that was already being fostered.
The business needed to recruit and onboard temporary colleagues in large numbers. A solution was required, quickly, to not only recruit these colleagues, but to allow them to select shifts, track their attendance, and ensure they were paid every week for the hours they had worked.
Overnight, the individuals required to deliver this challenge successfully were identified, and freed-up to form the core team. The following day, business users, product managers, program managers, and a crack engineering team were putting their heads together over a Microsoft Teams call.
Over the next four days the team defined different user scenarios, created the required solution, hosted it in Azure, and integrated the data feed with payroll processing, plus completed all the required testing.
Our new system successfully went live a day before the deadline, and all of this was achieved without a meeting room, or physical whiteboard in sight by brilliant technologists who have been empowered to collaborate without limits.
I don’t know what my future career has in store, but I’m confident that one day I will be able to relocate to a remote village in the Himalayas, and still be able to solve challenging business problems with innovative technology solutions thanks to Tesco’s agile and collaborative culture.
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