5 things that surprised me in my first month at incident.io

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Picture of Aaron Sheah
Aaron Sheah

They say time flies when you are having fun, and my first month at incident.io definitely zoomed by. After 18 work days, 1 bank holiday and the last Friday of the month day off, I utilised our company-wide Content Day to reflect on a few things that were a (good) surprise to me being at incident.io.

1️⃣ The fast pace 🏎

As part of my onboarding, “Raise the pace” was highlighted as one of the guiding principles at incident.io. I understood it as a concept but experiencing it was a whole different thing. Speed was something that was present across the board. Here are a couple of examples from my own experience in my first month:

  • 👨‍💻 Merged and deployed my first feature PR on my second day at the company
  • 📈 37 Pull Requests merged
  • 🛠️ Delivered 2 features in 3 weeks. Projects that at other companies I’ve worked at were measured in months, at incident.io were days or weeks.

After experiencing this truly unique (in my career) speed, I’ve acquired a strong conviction that we are able to execute our vision for a better incident management experience.

2️⃣ How much I missed working IRL 👥

Like most, in 2020 and 2021, I spent majority of my work week working from home. It undoubtedly has its pros, but even as an introvert, I struggled having the social aspect of work almost entirely removed. So when I went looking for a new job in 2022, I had a hard stance of no fully remote work.

With incident.io, we are (infamously) an office-first company. But, to my surprise there are no “mandatory” office days. Instead, people actually wanted to be in the office 🤯

After experiencing this firsthand, I realised how much I missed working with others in-person on a consistent basis. Being around others that share the same excitement for building a great product is an awesome feeling. 1 to 1s are done over a walk and a coffee, conversations over meals bring out random and interesting moments. The small things that are hard to replicate over a slack message or zoom call.

From the perspective of onboarding as a new joiner, being in-person was a big contributor to how quickly I could get up to speed. I could get help and ask simple questions immediately. Getting up to speed in projects was easier, a lot of barriers were lowered, no need for taking turns sharing screens etc.

Games tweet

3️⃣ Being trusted immediately 🎁

Stephen, our CEO put this best. If there’s a scale of +10 to -10 of trust, starting out at most places you start at 0 and earn your trust. But at incident.io, you are started off with +5. This rang true in many areas, here are a couple from my own experience:

  • 📝 Involved in PR reviews from day one, and no whitelist of approvers.
  • 📹 Recording customer facing feature walkthroughs.
  • 🗣️ Engaging with customers via Slack Connect and as a Product Responder, a great opportunity to delight customers.
  • 🔑 Access to virtually all tools and platforms used in company even if not directly related to your role.

4️⃣ Great Developer Experience 🤌

For such a young company, I was pleasantly surprised that the developer experience has had a lot of attention. It is clear that areas that are important to the business has had the right amount of investment to help the team move fast, a few examples:

  • 🖼️ Being able to register a Slack preview which uses Slacks’ block kit builder to show you what your message or modal would look like, without having to run the entire codepath.
  • 🔎 Logs and Tracing, which make investigating bugs much quicker. Common fields like incident id are attached to the metadata of logs.

Read more about it in Lisa’s blogpost on building great develop experience at a startup.

5️⃣ Dogfooding 😋

incident.io is the first company where I interact with the product on a daily basis at work. The dogfooding gives me a nice incentive to put more love into the product and understand the pain points of our customers.

Over the month, lots of interactions with it, as an observer, responder as well as an incident lead in actual incidents. After years of being on-call with various home-brewed tools, it opened my eyes to a world where incident management can be less painful and anxiety inducing.

At incident.io, we’ve raised over a 1000 incidents and counting, with some of them not as urgent as others

Twitter post

These experiences fuel my excitement for what’s to come and how we evolve over time. We have lots to build and add to our product, so much for me to learn from a team of superstars. 🔥

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