Don’t try to repeat it at home: how Booking.com has become the premier marketplace for travelers
The stage of building a culture of development for the company and its engineering team — especially in the startups — is archival to any modern entrepreneur. To learn more about creating such an efficient, flexible and managed development team, Brendan Bank, former CTO Booking.com, visited UNIT.City. He has the experience of metamorphosing a small startup into a company that is currently valued at $80 billion. The well-known Ukrainian startup Preply is the organizer of the event.
Brendan Bank has been a technical constituent of Booking.com since 2008 as Director of Engineering and until 2017 inclusively as CTO. Shortly after starting his career at the company, Brandan created a unique environment for software development and operations, consisting of small, flexible, and multi-disciplinary, high profile engagement teams.
In a public appearance, the technical visionary emphasized that the Booking.com experience is not a panacea, but every product is unique and has its own market and features.
“Booking.com experiments are an important part of the product development cycle. Every day, they introduce, produce, and analyze hundreds of A/B tests to quickly test ideas. These controlled experiments are conducted across products — from the mobile applications and tools used by homeowners — to the telephone lines and internal customer service systems. The experiments allow us to implement the new code faster and more securely, and in some cases automatically disable individual features, as well as confirm that changes in the product give users the expected experience,” Brendan Bank said.
In particular, the former CTO of Booking.com has named a number of values that have become drivers of project development and can be used by other companies.
- The user is the center of development of the company.
- Working together is the key to success, but a necessary component of improvement is the ability to challenge each other.
- To get better, it’s worth experimenting, learning, and being open to change.
- Modesty, openness, kindness and diversity give us strength.
- It is worth making some changes today, because tomorrow we are facing new challenges.
One of Branson Bank’s key tenets has been data-driven product development. This’s, in the opinion of the manager, is one of the drivers of development, not, for example, the opinion of an investor or someone from top management.
“Always listen to data that builds on the experience of your users or customers, and never think of HiPPO*. It’s important to distinguish between correctness and success. Because it’s the ability to interact with customers and developers through data that’s capable of delivering continuous product movement,” Brendan Bank said.
*HiPPO — an acronym for the top manager’s point of view, which appears in your project at the last moment and suggests what you think should be included in the project for its success.