by Brian Nordli
November 27, 2018

When it comes to building a career in tech, it can be easy to become trapped on a one-way path toward specialization — that’s not the case at Envysion.

Thanks to a uniform tech stack language and a cross-collaborative culture, engineers can hop from Android development to DevOps, from managing video streaming to the front-end UI or to any other challenge they desire. Along the way, they can find their own paths to success and grow with the video-based analytics company rather than out of it.

We spoke with software development manager Corina Lunn about the path she’s chosen at Envysion and how she’s helping her own teams grow.  

 

Envysion Workspace
Photography By Nick Cote
Envysion video surveillance
Photography By Nick Cote
Envysion Office
Photography By Nick Cote

 

FOUNDED: 2006

EMPLOYEES: 200 (150 local)

WHAT THEY DO: Envysion helps restaurants and retailers harness the power of video surveillance, enabling them to use it as a strategic management tool. They combine video management software, reporting and audits into one ecosystem to help businesses mitigate risk and grow.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Superior

IDEAL CANDIDATE: Envysion looks for full-stack engineers who enjoy digging into code to get to the root of a problem.

FLEXIBLE STACK: Engineers are encouraged to try out different parts of its stack. In fact, Envysion recently transitioned to a JavaScript-based stack wherever possible to make the switch easier for engineers.

 

Corina at work

Corina Portrait

 

Corina Lunn, Software Development Manager

Corina joined Envysion more than a year ago and has grown from managing a team of three developers to managing the web, video and mobile teams. She oversees the team workloads, facilitates cross-collaboration and coordinates release planning and execution.

BEYOND WORK: Corina finds her outlet challenging the wilderness by swimming in open water.     

 

How do you foster collaboration among your teams?

I manage the web team, the video team and the mobile team. In the past, these teams didn’t collaborate effectively, so we changed the structure. The video team had been based in Vancouver, which made communicating changes to the video streams that would affect the web team difficult and sometimes nonexistent. Now, the video team includes team members in Vancouver, Colorado and Australia.

We have standups, retros, grooming sessions and demos, but what has really made the difference was to include front-end specialists on the team. They are working on the player and are collaborating closely with their team members across the world and in Colorado. Since we all sit and play games together, we can easily share what is going on and do impromptu demos to get buy-in from each other.

 

With your experience in mind, can you speak to the growth opportunities at Envysion?

There are so many opportunities for me to take advantage of. My director and I meet regularly to evaluate the growth opportunities and decide in which direction I want to channel my career. I can choose whether I want to take on more product, focus on people management or get more technical. I’m able to try them all to determine which path suits me. When I started, I managed a team of three web developers. Now, I have three teams comprised of 12 developers and a dedicated QA — and we’re still growing.

 

When I started, I managed a team of three web developers. Now, I have three teams comprised of 12 developers and a dedicated QA — and we’re still growing.”    

 

What opportunities exist for those on your team?

For the team, the opportunities have exploded. If a team member wants to try something new, they get that opportunity with a lot of support and encouragement. They can try their hand at Android development, work in low-level encoding or delve into DevOps and tame Jenkins. If they prefer to specialize and get really good at what they do, then that’s great, too. Envysion is very much a “choose your own adventure” kind of place.    

 

Corina Playing a Game

Board Game

 

What kind of feedback mechanisms are in place to guide your team’s improvement?

We’ve adapted the standard agile meetings and expanded them. Our standup isn’t just a quick status check — we dedicate that time for anyone on the team to discuss a challenge or get feedback on a demo. Getting early feedback and collaboration like this helps us deliver a better product, faster.

We also hold “Demo and Code Social” sessions every two weeks, which includes all software developers and product team members. Everyone has an opportunity to demo their work and gather feedback and advice on their project. They’re also able to show off any cool, new tech or components they’ve built or found. It allows everyone to share in new features in our apps and to stay up to date with best practices.

 

What’s your tech stack comprised of?

My teams manage the tech from the DVRs to the front-end web UI/UX. We use C++ when working directly with the video stream on the DVRs, Node.js to manage those streams and a Node.js REST API that interfaces with a MySQL database, as well as a React and Material-UI display layer.

In the last year, we’ve worked hard to transition to a JavaScript-based stack wherever possible to make it easier for team members to learn and switch to different parts of the stack. We also switched to React from Angular. When we started a new app last year, we ran some spikes and decided to make the switch to React.

 

Envysion team playing a game

 

What opportunities are there to work on different products, features or tech stacks at Envysion?

There are a lot of opportunities. The base language is similar throughout the stack, which makes it easier for someone to move to different parts of the stack — in fact, that’s encouraged. For most employees, they are working with video, whether that’s on the DVRs, managing the streams or building the video player in the browser. Everyone is working across at least two layers of the stack, and some are tackling the entire stack.

When someone expresses an interest in trying a different part of the stack, we find an entry-level story and pair them with a buddy as they get up to speed. If they don’t enjoy that new stack, they’re able to move back or try something else.

 

I am surrounded by people I want to learn and grow from, and in turn, I want to provide those opportunities to my team.”

 

What about your company or your work inspires you?

The technology we are working with is really interesting, but in the end, it’s more about the people I work with. I am surrounded by people I want to learn and grow from, and in turn, I want to provide those opportunities to my team.

 

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