Brewing Success: My Journey Through Our Departments

Luqmaan Essop / Dec 6, 2023

Developers often keep themselves to themselves. We occasionally come out to see who is around us, and what affects us and emerge out of our caves to see what our work has in turn affected in the business (All those numbers and statistics updates) - oh, and to make the 5th cup of coffee for the day.

With all of that said, I have recently assumed the role of being an imaginary ‘barista’ (years of self-proclaimed experience) and no longer a developer. I have spoken to all the departments at Amazee Labs and learnt how their function and role would fit into this imaginary coffee shop analogy.

Why am I even doing this? Well, to step out of my coding cave and gain a greater understanding of the business - I am a cog in the system but I am not the 'system'. This will help me make more informed decisions and work smarter. I may even move my chair closer to the door to see what's happening outside more. Who knows? here goes…

Over the past months, I have interviewed 5 major departments outside of the tech department in which I work,  and asked a member of each department 4 simple questions:

  • What do you do within the company?
  • How do I affect your day and your work?
  • How do you affect me?
  • Where do you think we could connect better between our departments?

Based upon my newly acquired knowledge, I then imagined how they would fit into my coffee shop concept and allocated a role to them based on what they are already doing on a day-to-day basis. So what did they say?

Sales Department

This is the first touch point at our company.  Anyone looking to start a new project or be consulted on any website-related issues is very likely to speak directly to the Sales department. At this point, you will be greeted with the friendliest of faces which strives to understand the challenge you are facing and proactively come up with an array of solutions.

We need things to keep us busy, so we need things to work on and this directly affects the sales team.

Another very important role they play is keeping morale up across the entire company when the workload does a dip, usually when everyone is on vacation soaking up the sun.

As developers, we need to make sure we deliver top-quality products that reflect the time and energy invested by the sales team.

Sales Department - coffee shop

  • As the waiter, or the person greeting people at the door, they would point out our amazing coffee specials while simultaneously preventing  the coffee shop from being too crowded., Perhaps they would even make sure passersby would be lured in by the tempting aromas of the newest coffee blend. 🙂

System Operations Department

When it comes to anything toolstack-related, we head to the SysOps team. They keep all our hardware up to date and make sure to close any security gaps and keep them closed.

The wonderful people in SysOps, are always on hand for ongoing support. The list of their tasks is endless! The SysOps team usually hold the highest access level to tools the company needs and strictly controls its access to keep things secure.

SysOps Department - coffee shop

  • Make sure the coffee shop’s trade licenses, permits etc. are all valid and up to date and if for some reason we had some futuristic AI coffee machine that software would also need to be kept updated. 😁

Marketing Department

The marketing department always has its finger on the pulse regarding traffic to our website, landing pages and engagement on our social media profiles. They also do a splendid job of taking fine care of our brand, look and consistency. I likened this department to the heartbeat of our company, as the promotion of our entire existence is constantly beating and never stops. Keeping momentum and consistency is key!

Aside from the above, the team also assists with the onboarding process of new employees and welcoming new people to the company.

We directly affect the marketing department by creating content (blogs like this one!), going to events, building the website, and providing technical input on what's new in the tech world so we can relay that information to our audience.

Additionally, we, as developers, are always on hand to support with technical challenges. In the future, we will touch base more often and further strengthen our relationship.

Marketing Department - coffee shop

  • Advertise, advertise, advertise - or else nobody would know who we are, right? Who would I even make coffee for?

Operations Department

Now this department handles all the responsible and heavy-lifting things like invoicing, software subscription payments, salary payments and all paperwork needed to make each employee compliant. They also handle all HR topics. There is so much happening here that keeps everything running smoothly.

Before the interview, I was curious to understand how I affect the Operations team, but now I realise we are intertwined and my touch points with them are more than I ever realised. 

Operations Department - coffee shop

  • This team would be in charge of the payments, buying the coffee machines, seeing that I (the Barista) have all the stock I need to be the best barista in the world

Design Department

Creative individuals live here - I'm not even sure how to capture their flair into words.

This department takes care of anything from an internal brand makeover to one of the biggest selling points in web development - design. They understand the vision and deliver the wireframes and website design for a client at the same time as capturing user journeys, web activity, SEO, assisting in content review and quality control and accessibility. There is an epic amount of work done here before actual web development can even take place and we can start the coding.

Design Department - coffee shop

  • It is difficult to fit the Design department into the coffee shop analogy while at the same time truly doing it justice. Yes, there are obvious things like shop design and branding, but due to the nature of our industry, the scope of their daily work is so much broader. 

So after this investigative exercise, the penny has dropped! I'm so much more than just a developer in a cave. There are so many critical parts of this business that work hand-in-hand to support and facilitate my daily work of web development. I am greatly dependent upon the departments around me and I, in turn, have a great effect on them. 

Finally, I’ve learnt that without the amazing work of the whole team, I’d be a Barista with no coffee beans, no coffee machine and no customers!