Growth for Engineers at SadaPay

During the interview process, many candidates are interested in understanding more about the expectations we have for our engineers, how their performance is measured and how their growth is recognised.

We want to share some of our own internal material here, so you’ll have the inside scoop. We call it our Growth Framework.


We use a growth framework to support the ongoing development of every engineer  on our team. It helps people identify which skills they want to develop, discover ways to develop those skills and connect with people at SadaPay who can support them directly. We’ve been improving it gradually with each performance review.

  • Fairness – Compensation and title should be based on our contributions, rather than our ability to negotiate or our personal connections
  • Clarity – We should have clarity on how to progress in our careers at SadaPay – if somebody wants to push, they should have guidance on where and how to do that
  • Flexibility – While we must have clarity to ensure fairness, there are different ways to be effective at SadaPay. Our growth framework should be flexible enough to accommodate this

There are a few different parts of our framework:

  • Skills – Core capabilities we believe add value for us at SadaPay and want to help every engineer build – they are revised with each performance review
  • Skill Levels – Coarse measure of how far each of us has progressed within a particular skill
  • Activities – Ways people demonstrate a skill at SadaPay, specific enough to be observed or not observed clearly – they are added to frequently as people find new ways to contribute


This is the part you’ll find interesting! Our current list of skills – the drivers of our growth framework and performance review process.

A great aspect of our approach here is that you don’t need to be great at everything to grow at SadaPay. You might be an expert in some skills and a beginner in others – the important thing is building a set of skills that helps you make a great contribution in some part of SadaPay. After all, there are many ways to be a great engineer.


As a remote-first team, it’s important that we collaborate and communicate effectively to make the best possible use of our synchronous time together.

Product Engineering

Focusing on the value we deliver to customers and the business – carrying that purpose into every line of code that we write – is essential to making our work meaningful. We need to do more than build what we’re told to build.

Full Stack Engineering

For our Product Engineering squads to be effective, resilient and autonomous we each need basic competency in more than one technology platform. Exactly how deep to go in what technologies will depend on the needs of your squad and our professional interests. The important thing is to do the right thing by your squad and to grow in a way that suits your professional goals.


We’re a rapidly growing start-up and helping our team grow is an important responsibility for each of us.


Maintaining first-class reliability for our customers is an important success factor for our business. Being responsive to incidents and continuously shifting left will also help us continue to invest in ongoing development, without having to fall back to firefighting mode.

Team Improvement

Continuous, gradual improvement over a long time horizon can take us to amazing places. We never believe we have found the best way and we always work hard to improve.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration – including trunk-based development – is a core engineering practice at SadaPay with many benefits.

Test-Driven Development

Software quality is extremely important to us at SadaPay and using quality-focused engineering practices like test-driven development helps us build quality in, rather than validating quality later.


Working outside-in is an example of being consumer-driven. It helps us focus on business and user outcomes while minimising rework.

Technology Improvement

Continuously and iteratively improving our engineering design, architecture and technology platforms helps us build things that suit our actual needs as they become clearer, rather than forcing us to depend on inaccurate and expensive up-front analysis.

Continuously improving the quality of our software will allow us to improve our velocity over time, rather than getting bogged down in “technical debt”.


Next, let’s talk about we grow those skills.

With the help of our Growth Supporter, we follow this process in a continuous loop. Some people are in a big hurry to grow, while some may have other challenges in their lives they need to focus on right now. How ambitious we are and much of our energy we want to spend pursuing those goals is up to each of us.

Some people want lots of direction from SadaPay and their Growth Supporter on how to grow, while others prefer to explore areas of interest more organically. Again, it’s up to  each of us.

The process is as follows


We start by self-assessing our skill levels. It’s helpful to:

  • See which activities we’re doing for each skill
  • Compare how well we’re doing in this area to the strongest practitioners at SadaPay
  • Ask clarifying questions to our Growth Supporter, if we’re not sure what something means
  • Provide specific examples
  • Finally, suggest a skill level for each skill

Self-assessment usually reveals some areas where we need clarification. Sometimes we’re not sure how we’re performing or don’t know how high the bar is. We can calibrate with our peers to understand our growth more clearly, using questions like:

  • How high is the bar for this skill? What does good look like?
  • What level do you think I’m at with this skill? Why?

After self-assessment and clarification with peers, we share the results with our Growth Supporter. They might have interesting feedback, like:

  • They think our skill level is lower than our self-assessment
  • They think our skill level is higher than our self-assessment
  • They think we have misunderstood the meaning of a skill

This is normal. It’s easy to overestimate or underestimate our skill level and it’s also easy for our Growth Supporter to miss things, particularly if they are not in our squad. To resolve these issues, we may need to:

  • Seek feedback from peers to get a clearer picture of our skill level
  • Talk with our Growth Supporter about what’s missing
  • Provide examples, in case our Growth Supporter has missed things

By the end of this stage, we should be in agreement with our Growth Supporter about our skill levels.


Now, we’re ideally positioned to decide which areas we want to focus on. We can consider the needs of SadaPay, the needs of our squad and our own professional goals.

It’s important not to fall in the trap of focusing only on our weaknesses. We work very collaboratively and it might be that we can add more value by learning how to better leverage some strength we already have, or finding a way to teach it to others.

We can ask for our Growth Supporter’s help, as they should be able to do things like:

  • Position us to take on appropriate challenges
  • Recommend reading material or exercises
  • Direct us to peers who can help us
  • Provide 1:1 training

We repeat this process, updating our skill levels, setting goals and achieving them with the help of our peers and our Growth supporter.