Engineering Spotlight - JRNI
JRNI is an enterprise SaaS scheduling platform for personalizing and optimizing the customer journey.
We connected with Niall Giggins, VP Engineering / Information Security, to get an inside look at JRNI's technology, various projects, the team's culture, and more.
Interested in joining JRNI? Take a look at all of the company’s openings on the list to the right!
Quick Hit Details
- Year Founded: 2007
- Number of employees: 100
- Number of engineers: 5 ( 3x NetOps/DevOps, 2x InfoSec )
- Industry: SaaS-based Scheduling and Workforce management Platform
Can you share a summary on what JRNI does?
The Company: JRNI provides a SaaS-based service to our customers that centers around scheduling and workforce management.
We take complex, multi-dimensional datasets that relate to people, resources, locations and availability; and process them (in real-time) into simplified views of availability. These are then used to manage services, appointments, events, queues and calendars for our customers and to allow end-users to schedule the use of these services or appointments.
JRNI also provides reporting, analytics and insights into usage for taskforce optimisation, and the ability to direct end users to the appropriate services.
The Team: The engineering team at JRNI is a small multi-talented team that is responsible for running, maintaining and improving the infrastructure that hosts the JRNI product.
What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?
JRNI engineers mostly work with open-source technologies and large virtual infrastructures. These infrastructures are either multi- or single-tenanted, based on the needs of our customers. We architect and manage using Puppet, Terraform and homegrown utilities, and host them globally using AWS and Azure.
Given that we maintain multiple server clusters for individual customers, the engineering team spends a lot of it’s focus working on the unique challenges of keeping these networks separate for security reasons, but also aligned and upgraded as JRNI expands and develops new processes and offerings. To do this we have developed bespoke tools and processes, alongside using tried and tested technologies.
Our Product stack is mostly based on Ruby/Rails, Apache, Mysql, Redis, ElasticSearch, Snowflake and a few other services and tools, as and when needed.
We also look to the future, by incorporating our internal tools to use technologies that we intend to move to in the organisation as a whole. Microservices, docker, Kubernetes, FaaS solutions, queue technologies and monitoring pipelines. By first using these for internal tools, we build the experience to open up and support these technologies to the wider business.
What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?
There’s always so much going on at JRNI, it’s hard to single out just a selection, but some of the more interesting projects we are currently running surround scaling and performance.
With JRNI’s amazing growth over the last few years, and some of our customers starting to make over 1 million bookings per month using our platform, we’re always investigating new technologies to provide speed and cost efficiencies at these scales.
By leveraging custom microservices, we are able to select task-specific technologies, tools and programming languages to greatly improve our product, while keeping the tried and tested core code light and performant. The engineering team is building out infrastructure and tools to aid the wider development team in adopting these technologies and gathering the metrics to make sound decisions on how to apply them.
Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?
Yes, always, it’s built into how we work as engineers.
The Engineering team recognises 3 core lines of work:
SLA: where we work against contracted timelines, respond to incidents and assist other teams with critical unplanned work.
BAU: where the engineering team is performing tasks for internal departments, such as implementation work or the setup of new resources for project deliveries
Projects: working towards our own department goals and roadmap.
Project work is where engineers can really get in to exploring their interests and develop new skills.
The engineering roadmap is fed by a number of sources, including the product roadmap, general infrastructure enhancements and engineering team suggestions or retrospective outcomes. All Engineers are invited to select tasks that interest them, especially if it leads to knowledge sharing and personal development.
What is the culture like at JRNI for the engineering team?
A JRNI engineer is typically a ‘T-Shaped person’ with a range of knowledge and experience that means they are able to work alongside all technical roles in the company; providing insight and assistance to teams ranging from Development and implementation, through to sales and support. Being an engineer at JRNI is a vastly rewarding and social job, often the first port of call for people within JRNI who are looking for a solution, and has great visibility of the wider business goals.
Within the team, a flat structure and bottom up management style is adopted. While the team leads will always hold a final decision, the whole team is always invited to fully explore ideas and contribute to everything that is going on within the department. Many additions to the team roadmap come from team discussion and retrospective.
What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?
We try to make the interview process fun, there’s the usual probing of technical knowledge related to the role, but we also enjoy finding common ground discussing challenges that both sides have experienced in their careers. This is great for understanding how the candidate thinks and deals with interesting situations, but lets us all get a feel for each other.
We’ll often have a blind test, usually surrounding a network or architecture diagram, and invite the candidate to ask questions about it and see where their curiosity takes them. We’ll then ask them to tell us how they’d approach implementing what they see with various technologies. This is usually a great place to discuss the benefits of particular solutions and technologies, and get a feel for the familiarity of the technologies we’re discussing.
Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?
JRNI has hosted a few of our own in the past, and contributed to others. Most of our staff have common interests and join events that are going on in our local technical community.
We have a strong culture internally that’s not limited to just technology, many of our staff spend their out-of-hours time together playing sports, games, meeting for days and weekends out.
Inside the company we have regular events that are put together by a cross-department team. Staff will also often join together in group projects or hackathons.
Rapid Fire Q&A
What’s on tap?
A few universal favourites and an ever-changing rotation of guest drinks provided by our people team and company events committee.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
It’s getting serious now - Both - there are so many good stories between the two franchises, it’d be a shame to waste them by taking a side.
iPhone or Android?
Typically Android, much more to tinker with.
Coffee - hot or iced?
Hot most days, Iced for summer off-site meetings in the park.
Favorite employee perk?
Everyone has their favourites - from our flexible working policy to brainstorming meetings around the pool and ping pong tables.
What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?
What music is playing in your office?
Most people prefer headphones and choose their own music, but there are company events where shared playlists are used or in-house DJs pick the tunes.
View from your office
Want to learn more about JRNI? Check out their BIZZPage