Highly accomplished software product development leader Jijoe Vurghese joined Addepar with the mission to optimize engineers’ workflows and streamline processes to support the company’s accelerated growth. Jijoe built a developer experience (DX) team to update the “machine behind the machine” — the systems used by our software engineers — that will enable our wealth management platform to scale to service the over $3 trillion and growing of client assets on the Addepar platform. 

What brought you to Addepar?

Throughout my career, I’ve looked for opportunities to continuously learn and stay challenged. I’ve worked in different industries including e-commerce, healthcare and now fintech — each posing a different and interesting challenge. 

But what really drew me to Addepar was their relentless transparency. In my early meetings, Addepar was upfront about the challenges I’d be working to solve to ensure we were the right fit for each other. This transparency, which Addepar also brings to the financial sector, ignited my excitement to take on the challenges ahead.

How did you assemble the Developer Experience (DX) team and what’s your charter?

Addepar has experienced tremendous growth in its first decade and to prepare for new growth, the leadership team understands the need to optimize developer experience. My team’s core focus is to improve the workflows that enable our developers to do what they do best. 

The DX team came together by selecting engineers from within Addepar who are deeply familiar with navigating and troubleshooting the company’s current systems and processes. Our team consists of 13 experienced engineers producing excellent software, fueled by great quality coffee. We’re focused on helping scale the platform to 10X its current capacity and are looking to double the DX team in size as our scope expands and evolves.

What is one of the challenges your team is faced with?

One of the first things I did at Addepar was create a developer journey map for the software development process. It became clear that the reviews cycle for software developments was not as efficient as it could be — for example, an engineer might wait two days for feedback on their work, meaning further progress was stalled while waiting on reviews. My team’s goal is to create an immediate feedback loop and reduce the review cycle from two days to a few hours — and eventually to a few minutes. 

How would you characterize Addepar’s culture?

Our CTO Ruchir Swarup creates a culture of camaraderie, not competition, among the technical team. At every level of the company, Addepar lets the best ideas win based on data, not seniority or ranking. When an organization makes data-driven decisions, egos are left at the door — and that allows us to do our best work at Addepar. 

What do you look for when hiring engineers? 

Whenever I am speaking with a candidate, I ask them to explain a technical process to me in a way that a five-year-old could understand — or what I like to call ELI5 (“explain like I’m 5”). If they can explain their process in a way that’s easy to understand, it shows me that they have intellectual curiosity and grit to understand their craft deeply.