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How the LeagueApps OTA Process Motivates Team Members

By Javier Rios

engineering career

The emphasis we place on team building is a huge part of what makes LeagueApps stand out from other tech companies. With two company-wide offsites—or Organized Team Activities (OTAs), as we like to call them—every year, we are committed to getting the company together to participate in activities that help us learn about each other, get aligned on our mission, and strengthen our team. 

This year, the LeagueApps product and engineering teams participated in their first-ever OTAs to focus on what is going on in our engineering world. We focused on process improvements, reflected on the previous year, and bonded as a team. 

The LeagueApps Engineering and Product Teams

We view product and engineering as one team—we are opposite sides of the same coin. Because our product and engineering teams have both grown significantly since the last engineering OTAs, we included the product team. This allowed us to use OTAs as a way to workshop challenges and process improvements as a group. 

Results of the Product and Engineering OTAs 2021

This year’s product and engineering OTAs were primarily focused on the evolution of our product. We have goals we need to reach to improve the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of many modules of our platform, and OTAs allowed us to all get together to discuss reaching these goals in a more informal environment, as well as introduce new technologies into our stack to be able to deliver with modern tools and improve the developer experience.

We participated in workshops to gather feedback from engineering and product managers across various squads, and product designers shared multiple new concepts of where we could take the LeagueApps product. The designs we saw sparked conversations amongst the team regarding design systems that will be used across the squads. 

The engineering team went deeper into new technologies, spending time exploring ways to use React in our ecosystem as we move to the JAM Stack. We also discussed how we can elevate our API to support the needs of our front-end and mobile engineers.

The Importance of Connecting with Your Teammates

Our engineering and product teams are both remote, with members spanning locations in NYC, DC, California, Connecticut, Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida. This made the time we got to spend in-person together especially valuable. We had two in-person get-togethers in both DC and NYC, and most people who attended said it was their highlight of OTAs. Not to mention, our newest team members who joined this year, finally had the opportunity to meet their colleagues in person.

“Getting to meet and bond with the team in-person and experiencing first-hand what this company’s culture is all about [was my highlight of Prod Eng OTAs],” said Rob Wong, who joined LeagueApps as a senior engineering manager in August. 

At team dinners, we were able to step away from the computer and laugh, tell stories, and debate around timely topics, allowing us to get to know each other outside of work conversations and develop friendships.

What we have always believed as a company (and department) is that OTAs are always valuable. They’re an opportunity to see how trust and respect are integral parts of a team that works together toward a common goal, like building and improving a product. We always have an amazing time at the company-wide OTAs where we get to meet all of our peers. Having dedicated OTAs for product and engineering to workshop ideas, learn from each other, and build our relationships is something we will continue to prioritize as our teams grow.

Do you think you’d be a good fit for our engineering or product teams? We are hiring! Take a look at our open positions.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Javie Rios

Javier Rios

Javie Rios is the director of engineering at LeagueApps. His team is responsible for delivering a best-in-class user experience and bringing value to partners through the LeagueApps platform. He fosters an environment where engineers and designers are enabled to innovate and are proud of the product they create. Favoring partnerships over silos, and an agile over waterfall approach, he is an intrapreneur at heart.
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