Being a PM Ninja: Management in Engineering

Chitra Rajan | February 12, 2016

Being a PM Ninja: Management in Engineering


The engineering world is often perceived as black and white. What’s misunderstood is that there’s a lot of process involved in-depth, for the sake of transparent operations. The purpose of introducing an engineering blog is to understand the importance of the dynamics and mechanisms taking place behind a company’s face, from a technical aspect.

There has been a rapid transformation in the ecommerce industry. Being involved with the engineering process, my responsibilities as a project manager include, bringing in efficient and consistent process control within the team.

Catering to various market domains, we work across various types of business models and different business logics for different clients. Engineers, on a general basis are product focused, but not market focused. Aligning two different skill sets is a major challenge. What I seek within my role, is to bridge the gap between the Business and technical aspect within Near Me.    

Reengineering of processes

A primary part of being in this job role is acting like a liaison between the business side and the engineering side. A high level of coordination between these two verticals is required on a regular basis to ensure business goals and engineering outputs are aligned with the team’s performance. Applying a robust process such as scrum in a startup can be extremely beneficial. In my opinion, both agile and scrum framework, combined with this hot technique called open allocation, could be extremely powerful and beneficial. In easier words, open allocation is used for specific subject matter experts on the team, who have the discipline to meet the sprint deadlines, and can cherry pick side projects with the ground rules we define.


Agile and Scrum

What are agile and scrum? Well, agile is defined as a process involving iterative software development between systematic cross-functional teams. Whereas, scrum is a direct subset of Agile, it significantly increases productivity and saves time. The major benefit of implementing this principle is that the agile scrum process forecasts better estimates and better control of the project as a whole.  Near Me has seen significant improvements in overall velocity of code output, including quality and we continue to improve as we fine-tune our processes.  The team’s happiness has improved too!

Engineering Management at a startup.. Yay or Nay?

Definitely Yay! There is a fresh flavor to the culture observed in a Startup. One of the added benefits includes voicing one’s opinion to improvise a certain condition which needs to be worked on. The Engineering team, the backbone of Near Me, has an intriguing culture all together. There is a rapid process optimization happening every now and then: breaking down of tasks to sprints, a remote technical team in various countries,  working with different time zones, and bringing in a progressive lifestyle of remote work encompasses our team as a whole.

The main goal for us as a team is to implement a non-bureaucratic culture and provide a clear pathway to the Developer/DevOps/Quality Assurance specialist in order to add value to their work and galvanize momentum.

Impact of Management in the engineering field

Just as a coin has two sides, similarly the engineering process has two aspects -- production role and Engineering/technical role. My role as a project manager comes into the picture when I am a channel between the client and the engineer. Being under an e-commerce domain, the main issue addressed by a client could be pertaining to the User Experience. But, a viewer fails to understand that there is a lot going on behind the appearance over the given marketplace. Streamlining of processes is taken care by a product and project manager. Consistent communication across the channel is extremely important and necessary. Putting forth the “Marketplace Economy” (aka Sharing Economy, Collaborative Commerce and Social Commerce) as our main theme, there has been considerable increase in access to peer-to-peer business over the years. The success rate has been increasing exponentially.

Conversion of operations into applications

One of the few game plans being implemented on the work force for engineers consists of intense triage sessions facilitated with a clear agenda. The main purpose observed here, is to convert thoughts into action.


Triage has enabled the engineering team to have a clear vision of the internal operations happening within a sprint. With the transition of these tasks into a proper functionality, efficiency in fixing maximum bug-related issues has been solved. This directly leads to the fact that the problem is solved and the client is happy. Our mission here, as an engineering team, is to convert all black and white talks into a  meaningful approach within the agile framework!


Moving forward, I’II be sharing the Feature Roadmap, as we’re about to launch a significant upgrade to our Content Management, Payment Gateway workflows and new types of Marketplace Business logic that will solve virtually every P2P, B2B and B2P scenarios. Watch this space for more updates!