Engineering at Rise

RISE Engineering Blog
7 min readJul 29, 2021

At Rise, we are building the money app & debit card for teens to help them grow money skills. We have big ambitions, and in order for us to fulfil them, we need a tech department that can match these ambitions and can maximise its potential. In this article, we’ll walk you through the development culture at Rise.

Rise Dev Culture

At Rise, our tech teams are driven by two characteristics: we are customer-centric and we embrace changes quickly. We integrate these principles into the core of our teams and our structure is continuously adapting to integrate these principles as well.

We build our teams around these characteristics by espousing both agile and DevOps methodologies because our highest priority is to satisfy the customer. It enables us to continuously deliver quality to our customers, as often as needed and with confidence (reliability).

Our values

In order to operate at a high level when we are working together, we adhere to these values on a daily basis:

  • No-blame
  • Openness and transparency
  • Shared ownership

No-blame (failure is encouraged)

Arguably the most important part of our culture is that in our work environment, we operate on a strict no-blame policy. We want you to feel safe to try things that are outside of the box or feel safe to learn and evolve in order to become a more well-rounded developer.

We are fostering an environment where we want our developers to take smart risks, and if that leads to failure sometimes, then so be it. To feel comfortable with success AND failure, we encourage our developers to adopt a methodical approach while doing their research.

Problem > hypothesis > test > solution > feedback

  • State your problem, don’t trust your intuitions
  • Make a hypothesis or multiple hypotheses regarding the current outcome or the outcome you want to achieve
  • Test every one of your hypothesis
  • For each test, evaluate the outcome: why and how to get that result, is it a viable solution for what I want to achieve?
  • Then document your findings or share them directly with your peers

Most importantly is that you feel safe to be yourself: being comfortable in an environment is crucial to all creative processes, and it helps in developing a top tech team.

Openness and transparency

Openness and transparency with others is also something we greatly endorse at Rise. We encourage open innovation with our partners at work, as any sort of creativity between minds is always appreciated in our workspace. We are also big advocates of our developers working on open-source software and projects since it can help tech teams and individuals in a multitude of ways, whilst also helping in strengthening the developer community.

We advocate transparency between stakeholders by making communication as neat and simple as possible. We want you to feel safe and comfortable in your work environment, therefore we sit together and both of us make sure that we understand what we expect from each other. To make a parallel with the agile scrum methodology, we make sure that every stakeholder agrees on the same definition of done.

Shared ownership (Commitment and respect)

As a team, we are competitive and committed. We push each other so that we as individuals work to the best of our ability, but we also work closely together for inspiration and creativity.

As an individual, you commit to the objectives you agreed upon and as a team, we build shared ownership. We are all accountable for our successes and our failures which both help us to learn and better ourselves as individuals and team.

Taking ownership of your work also involves respecting your peers and the rules of the game. We value each other’s time, and because we have a lot of freedom and ownership on our projects, we know our work schedule back to front.

By maintaining this level of professionalism and commitment, we ensure that you can always say that you did a good day’s worth of work when you get home.

Our tech approach

Due to our innovation principles, we work in an environment where we are not afraid to experiment and take risks with the goal of improving our day to day working model. We set goals and enable team experimentation, two factors that are important in our ongoing transformation.

Continuous transformation

As a group we differentiate planning and executing separately: the planning involves understanding the direction, having a grasp of the current condition and then establishing the next target condition. Following this, we execute and take steps towards the new target. Transformation is important in any process as a team needs to evolve at the same pace as its product. Combine this with our goal of building community structures to spread good practices throughout our organisation, and you have the recipe for effective continuous transformation.

The Four Steps of the Improvement Kata Model

Shift left architecture

A final point about our tech approach is that here at Rise, we are big fans of shift left architecture. The fact is that we always test early in the process. Our aim is to design our product so that it becomes better with each new change, and early testing helps tremendously with this so that if errors do occur or we do have defects in design or architecture, they can be identified and dealt with when it’s not too late. The same applies to our security, which is layered and covered by deep barriers. It ties in with our mantra of staying ahead of the curve, whether it be through our use of new technologies or new ways of testing: we want the most antifragile product possible that will grow and flourish even through volatility.

Shift Left Architecture

Agility and DevOps methodologies in working

Being an up and coming challenger means that we are disrupting the flow of the traditional banking model. We are in the space where speed means everything and value must be delivered to customers as quickly as possible.

At the forefront of our working process is our Agility and DevOps culture. We espouse both agile and DevOps methodologies because our highest priority is to satisfy the customer. It enables us to continuously deliver quality to our customers, as often as needed and with confidence (reliability).

How do we accomplish that? We work towards a continuous delivery that aims to increase value delivery velocity and improve service reliability at all times. By producing our software in this way, we can constantly monitor, test and build up our projects with greater speed and frequency, thus delivering value to our customers.

Agility in the workplace is one of our most important concepts. Being agile in the workplace consists of taking responsibility for estimating, planning, and managing tasks and reporting on progress, as well as being self-organised yet functioning well with the surrounding team on certain parts of the software.

One of our biggest calling cards here at Rise is that we look right to the very top when searching for inspiration. Companies such as Google and Netflix are no doubt best in class when talking about tech, and we want to emulate them and take what they do brilliantly and mould it with our vision. With that being said, we pride ourselves on being forward-thinking and cutting edge in our field.

Using the best tools available

We use the latest and best tools available to us, because, without the proper tools, we would have an inefficient team. Simply put, a developer needs the finest of tools to do his finest work and to be as efficient as possible when working.

Streamlined work processes

Our work process also contributes to our agility: being transparent about our tasks and when they will be solved along with having everything planned out in the most efficient way is naturally of great importance. When we are synced up as a team and have everything running smoothly, we can offer value to our customers better than anybody else.

Our developers’ mindset

The mindset of our developers is very important in contributing towards agility in the workplace. As a tech company, a professional standard is naturally required — one where there is supportive leadership along with the freedom and ability to express yourself in the working environment. Having a larger tech team with the brightest developers will be the biggest catalyst in improving our reliability, workflow and value to our customers.

Could Rise be for you?

So, do you like experimenting and consider that each experiment produces valuable information? Do you feel driven by exploring and honing your skills and go beyond your comfort zone? Are you not afraid of complexity because you know that complexity can be tamed like a wild horse?

Well, you will be working with some of the brightest people in the developer scene, on challenging and rewarding projects in a team of like-minded individuals. If you believe you’re up to the task and would be a great fit for our team’s culture, then don’t hesitate to contact us for more info — we’ll be more than happy to have you on board!

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RISE Engineering Blog

Everything you need to know about developers at Rise 💸. Rise is the money app & debit card for teens, loved by parents