Impala's new CTO Ed Taylor shares his advice for the next generation of travel builders
For Impala, reimagining the future of travel means creating a strong foundation throughout our product, engineering and design teams upon which amazing technical solutions can be built.
Ed Taylor, Impala’s newly-promoted Chief Technology Officer and former VP of Engineering, knows how critical these foundations are. Having previously led engineering teams at Nested and Skyscanner, Ed has seen what it takes for travel builders to succeed.
In his first week as CTO, we sat down with Ed to get his top tips for travel engineers, tech leaders and industry newcomers hoping to build the future of travel alongside us.
The relationship between Product, Engineering and Design must ultimately be built on trust, alignment and shared accountability.
As CTO, you’re now leading Product, Engineering and Design. How do you envision the ideal relationship between the three functions? How do you strike a balance that meets shifting priorities without sacrificing quality?
The relationship between Product, Engineering and Design must ultimately be built on trust, alignment and shared accountability. I believe this is the only way to achieve the right balance between delivery, quality and extensibility, something I consider a key attribute and honed ability for a highly effective team. This is actually best illustrated by typical examples I’ve seen where this isn’t the case:
- Engineers aren't going to hack a test together quickly if they can't trust that a refactor or rebuild will come down the line.
- Product managers are set up for failure if the engineering managers aren’t sharing accountability for delivery.
- If design aren’t aligned on the appropriate quality bar, expect a mismatch in requirement and output.
Upward accountability is vital. When someone in the team leaves, we hold a form of 'post-mortem' very much like we would after a system outage. What happened? Why?
What’s the most valuable thing you learned in your time as VP of Engineering with Impala?
Upward accountability is vital. When someone in the team leaves, we hold a form of 'post-mortem' very much like we would after a system outage. What happened? Why? What did we do to help? What else could have been done? What are the learnings?
This level of transparency, accountability and vulnerability is key to building trust, particularly in a remote environment.
What advice would you give engineers coming into travel tech for the first time or looking to build their own industry solutions?
Don’t overthink the idea, or worry about finding something that hasn’t been done yet. With a decreasing barrier to entry, there's a growing opportunity to enter travel and succeed just by focussing on offering simple services done better than the status quo.
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