Back in September 2013, we had already announced on our company blog blog.zalando.de we would be welcoming a group of Bachelor students from the TH Wildau to take part in a joint project, organized in cooperation with Zalando/TH Wildau. Continue reading
Five years of extremely fast growth and continuous success lie behind us. Always forward-focused, we hardly had time to look left or right. But for one week in late December, our Technology department made a full stop and let the year wind down with playful innovation and experimentation. Say “Hi” to Hack Week – one week for over 400 people to brainstorm and execute their very own ideas without limits across teams, functions and several office locations.
Our software release train and the project business halted for an entire week. Collaborative hacking took the place of releases and project launches. The term “hack” thereby did not refer to hackers and was not limited to software or hardware development. Instead, anything in one way or another contributing to Zalando’s core business or the improvement of our everyday office life was welcome.
Do you prefer an analog task board over a digital one?
I did prefer an analog task board mainly for the following reasons:
- Moving a sticky note from one column to another is a physical process. Particularly putting it into done column feels simply good
- Doing the stand up in front of a board supports the intention of our stand up meeting:
- talking about what was reached yesterday
- what is going to happen today in order to meet the iteration deadline
Over time I realized there might be advantages of a digital board. As we use Jira to track (development) tickets, every ticket is doubled in Jira and on the analog board. This is because tickets are a base for reports and references to other teams. Using a digital board simply saves time and effort of maintaining the status of every ticket twice. Based on this, the proposal to change to a digital board was kind of natural. Replacing the analog task board with something else was easy because the project team I am part of works on a project that will be finished sooner or later anyway. Even if we found out, a digital board was not a good idea, the board as well as the project will be done at one point in time.
It has been almost one year since we launched our first Zalando App. The launch is quite a success story – in July 2013 we already achieved one million downloads after just three months in Apple’s App store and seven months in Google Play Store. Recently, we hit the two million download mark!
Last week, Mark Striebeck, Director of Engineering at Google in Mountain View spent a day at Zalando. Mark was the first guest of our “Infusion” talks within the Zalando Tech Academy, which are meant to exchange thoughts and insights on the cutting edge of internet technology. Having been in the GMail team for several years, Mark was the perfect choice – and an excellent speaker as well.
The PGConf “marathon” 2013 is over, two weeks filled with traveling are over. First step Dublin, Ireland followed up by the town of Oberhausen, Germany. We followed presentations, exchanged experiences and enjoyed the social events and now we are back in Berlin with lots of positive impressions from the growing PostgreSQL community.
At the European conference in Dublin we used the lightning talks to present our PostgreSQL monitoring setup with pg_view and PGObserver and to fuel the interest into Valentine’s talk the next day about Elephants in Fashion. Valentine dived into our PostgreSQL experience, the setup and the processes surrounding our database development and infrastructure. This promotion payed off, we got a lot of attendees to our talk and quite a few questions were raised and hallway discussions triggered. Continue reading
The tech conference season this autumn is currently in full swing and this year there was a very special (pre-)event two days before the first European TechCrunch Disrupt Conference 2013 in Berlin: The Hackathon!
Since it was the first time that the Techcrunch Hackathon took place in Europe, our team decided that we just had to support this event by offering our own contest! Besides Zalando, other great companies did a sponsorship such as Foursquare, Xing, Yammer, Paymill. Due to these partnerships, the hackathon was completely free for all the 500 international participants. The venue “Arena Berlin”, a huge indoor hall near the river Spree, was just perfect to host all hackers and create an open, bustling and productive atmosphere.
After our handy database utilities and a nifty data management tool, it’s time to officially release yet another open-source tool. The System App is used internally at Zalando’s technology department to provide an overview of our network and systems health. We’re talking about a diagramming tool which allows you to bind any external JSON data to its shapes, and create visual alerts based on rules applied to this data. We call each of these diagrams a map, and you can create as many maps as you want. For different purposes, showing different aspects of your infrastructure. Maps can be created using the UI with drag-and-drop elements, or by writing a JS script to initialize and update the map depending on your requirements.
The GOTO conference took place in Berlin for the first time – and Zalando Technology was part of it! Six Zalando developers attended the conference and we did a presentation on “Why Zalando trusts in PostgreSQL”.
All of us were really happy joining the conference and we learned a lot. For every talk I heard there was another with opposing opinions — I think it’s good to hear a broad range of opinions and the GOTO conference facilitated this. I hope to join next year’s GOTO Berlin again!