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Ashraf Jahangeer

My First 30 Days

by Ashraf Jahangeer

A quick response from the head recruiter the day after my final interview brought the good news that every candidate hopes to get: the team liked me and wanted to extend an offer. The formalities were completed within a day (great job, recruiting team) and I had an offer in hand to join EasyPost as its Vice President of Engineering. The recruiting process was great and the opportunity seemed perfect for me given my background and where I wanted to go next, so I accepted without hesitation.

Pre-plan

I reveled for a day and then reached out to my would-be manager, the CTO of EasyPost, to request an informal meeting. I used my meeting to ask many questions and got to know more about the organization and the expectations of this role. I drafted an informal knowledge repository and a potential 30-60-90 plan for myself. I highly recommend this step to folks before joining a new company. This preparation ensured I started my first day already having some context.

I focused on two aspects in my pre-plan:

  1. How to learn about the organization and who to meet
  2. What areas to work on and potential priority

Onboarding

I spent the first two weeks meeting people. My pre-plan document helped guide me through this process. I continued to refine and prioritize my objectives as I built good context meeting leaders across the organization. My manager set up two touch bases per week for him to provide me with the early support I needed.

By the end of week one, I created an introduction deck about myself and sent it to all stakeholder teams and the executive team.

I was lucky enough to join the company when the COVID-19 situation was getting better and teams were comfortable with meeting in person. During the first two weeks, I attended three off-site meetings and got acquainted with some teams in person.

Towards a better understanding

By the end of the third week, I was beginning to get a sense of company and where my role fits in.

These are some cool things I observed:

  • EasyPost has a great business model. We provide a shipping platform for ecommerce businesses wanting to focus on their core competency rather than dealing with complex shipping networks. We solve real problems and there is a huge demand for such a solution. The product-market fit is real and enables a perpetual growth opportunity.
  • We have a mature technology stack to solve that problem which has been proven at a very high scale. We also have a very strong engineering team behind the stack which is passionate about scaling it.
  • We have a large and growing customer base, including some of the largest retailers in the world, that depends on our technology. The logistics industry continues to grow rapidly and companies like EasyPost stand to leverage that growth.

So how could I help?

To ensure continued business growth, we need to scale up the engineering organization. So I have taken on the theme of "how to set the engineering organization for scale".

As VP of Engineering, I am starting to focus on three key areas:

Hiring and onboarding

As one might expect, hiring is a key aspect of my responsibilities. Hiring great engineers is a challenge in all markets and years, and now is no exception. I am partnering with our head of recruiting to figure out how we can scale our hiring efforts to bring in the necessary talent. I am also working with the engineering leaders to build solid onboarding processes to ensure our new hires have a positive experience as they join our team.

Career management

Our engineering team is growing rapidly, and with that growth comes the complexity of various engineering levels and their progression. Our performance management program was built for a smaller scale and it will not suffice for ongoing growth. I am partnering with my manager and the newly hired VP of Human Resources to overhaul our career management program. Our goal is to create an end-to-end process for performance management that will enable our engineers and managers to refine and grow their careers here at EasyPost.

Execution

This is a broad area where I will be focusing on a specific set of themes: goals planning and alignment, engineering metrics, and organization design. The current processes within these areas have brought us to where we are today, but are not scalable to get us to 3-5x where we want to get quickly.

In progress

I am socializing my focus areas across the organization and I have received a number of good ideas and support from everyone which will shape my next steps.

I continue to learn about our business and I am very excited about what the future holds for this awesome company. Please reach out to me if you would like to join our journey!