Programming in the pandemic – Coralogix Don’t run with scissors, do run with a runbook

With only a handful of developers listed as key employees (where their responsibilities probably include the job side of keeping critical programs and lives upside down and online), most program planners will be forced to work remotely, often on their own.

So how did the effects of this fall play out?

Switching to work from home while growing our engineering team at the same time has brought us many new challenges. Back in February 2020, we realized where things were headed and began researching and experimenting with various things that would help us adapt quickly.

With feedback from our teams, we learned that one of the biggest challenges we face is how to support communication and collaboration in a natural format that does not require much extra effort from our engineers.

Day-to-day communication

We have found that voice channels are the most natural way to communicate. Adding Discord to our toolkit and enabling the act of ‘coming into the room’ and talking like we’re in the office, was exactly what we needed.

It has helped us to maintain a sense of community in our daily work. As in the office, where we have never closed the doors or closed the blind during meetings, anyone can see who is meeting in our conference rooms.

We set up specific channels of communication on a variety of topics such as production issues and support calls. In this way, everyone knows exactly where to go to discuss different activities, projects, and problems. Our review and code review programs are also done on Discord using live share. Aside from unusual office encounters, having local procedures and regular check-in is important. We built a virtual ‘living room’ to try to empower those informal meetings.

However, it is very important to us that the leaders and managers in the company touch the foundation with their team daily and that everyone in the company agrees on the vision and objectives.

Updated tech stack

Perhaps the most damaged part of the team’s collaboration with WFH is the developer response loop. With little communication and daily interaction, we initially saw very long cycles and many challenges between R&D and performance.

To alleviate this problem, we have made updates on how we work with our technology stack.

First, expand our vigilance cover. We’ve added a lot of coverage with logs, metrics, and security to enhance our visibility. After that, we have added additional development areas and platforms to allow for short (and fast) response calls and tests and to reduce issues, and rely on platform groups.

Eventually, we doubled the text. We used to use Confluence, but usage has increased dramatically. We use it to manage feature documents, both inside and out, and to build runbooks with details of all events.

Along with our well-defined call exchanges and general information transfer on delivery, this has dramatically improved the overall flow of work.

Improved security

WFH increases the risk in many areas, whether it is a potential weakness in the feature we issue or the exposure we receive as a result of the use of many new tools. To ensure that we are in control, we have added new layers of security such as:

Coralogix SIEM / IDS solution for our cloud environments – Getting a full view of security, monitoring, and forensics.

Panelays for third-party exposure scanners – Managing contacts with third-party companies and scanning potential risks from outsiders.

Salt protection – API protection – Receiving automatic alerts whenever one of our APIs is attacked or exploited.

 Teleport – fully accessible and encrypted production access.

 Regular login tests and security design updates added.

People and hiring

With the rapid digitalization of the Covid-19 era, we have had to upgrade our product and duplicate our engineering teams. To support that growth, along with team leaders assigned to recruit new engineers, we started using a tool called Comeet. Using Comeet, we can view all relevant information on a single dashboard from the baptism candidate / leave their details on our worksheet until the moment they receive the gift.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that we live up to our commitment to the happiness and well-being of our employees in these difficult times. The first part of that was to keep holding on to happy hours where it was possible to offer a chance to have fun and be with the community, or we wouldn’t do it in person. We also provided Headspace registration to all employees and encouraged them to participate in their communities with the voluntary approval of Vee.

 

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