Horizontal & Vertical Tasking

Optimising workflow for product stimulation and team collaboration.

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Streamplate’s team is now 8-strong and by the end of this week is looking to close in on 12 engineers. Even with this team, we still need a lot more software engineers when our launch feature list for consumers is:

And then for merchants:

With this in mind, Streamplate needed a hiring framework that best positioned engineers to develop features in an ever-growing and changing workspace. The problem here is that engineers can become siloed into their work and remain tunnel-visioned on their own features, without taking the opportunity to self-develop or explore other routes that may appear underserving. In short, why would you do something different if your way is tried-and-proven?

This is a sign of weak character/leadership, inevitable company-wide redundancy (as earlier employees naturally out-skill older ones) and the beginnings of a cultural entrenchment that’s simply a landfill for complacency.

To maximise technical flexibility across all engineers and continue to develop a generalist mentality that serves both short and long term engineering abilities, Streamplate assigns a vertical and horizontal task to each engineer.

A task list for a company can be distilled into two dimensions: breadth of that task across the company and that task’s impact on the company. Some tasks affect the entire company, whereas others are minor adjustments that affect an individual functionality. For Streamplate, company-wide tasks relate to entire programmatically-based systems, this could be developing a portion of the on-boarding pipeline or creating web-apps for internal use. These are horizontal tasks.

Vertical tasks relate to individual functions of a product and can be either parts of a system, or the entire system depending on scope. At Streamplate, some vertical tasks are the merchant recommendation system, merchant messaging or consumer reservations.

This is a derivative of assigning horizontal and vertical tasks. You no longer hire for form. You hire by function. You envision how a function will grow in the future and assign the most suitable candidate that can prompt that function’s acceleration into the scale and behaviour you need.

Consequently, Streamplate invests in developing engineers to expand their technical abilities and work with others that an individual may not necessarily be in contact with.

In short, the idea is that by collaborating with others in designing systems amongst systems, that engineer will learn of new ways to develop their own vertical tasks.

This is particularly important when an engineer is working in new areas that they may be technically unfamiliar with. Streamplate doesn’t want to work with people that know how to answer everything. We want to ask new questions and find answers that others haven’t found.

We’re looking for UI/UX designers and iOS developers along with software engineers. If you’re interested to hear more, send through a message :)

Thanks for reading!

Written by

Electrical engineering/Neuroscience at University of Sydney. Aspiring neuro-trauma surgeon with a few software/hardware goals. www.streamplate.com

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