The Special Sauce: Radek Zabransky, Salsita Tech Lead & FS Developer

Office-wide collaboration is a copywriter’s best friend. It gives me the chance to work with each team and learn about high-tech projects from the experts themselves, which is vital for any marketer. The best part though is getting a peek behind the scenes—and that’s where the real story lies.

Radek Zabransky’s department—full-stack development—is the one that typically makes my eyes glaze over when the devs launch into full “geek” mode. One of my goals at Salsita, however, is finding the balance between writing about technology and the people who wield it. So, here we go.

- Lancelot Purdue

1. What are your main responsibilities as a Tech Lead?

The main responsibility is fully understanding the project and the technologies being used. That way I can apply the client’s ideas, think about the big picture, and come up with solutions. Or help verify the possible solutions that other people come up with.

I am also partially responsible for communicating with the client. I always try to step up and answer any emerging questions or concerns. I am also the go-to guy for our project manager whenever she needs something answered. Finally, it’s about knowing what the rest of the team is working on, helping them if they need it, and trying to anticipate potential problems.

2. You’ve mentioned that you prefer to take the time to understand new concepts. Did this conflict with the need to quickly learn React as a new hire?

It’s not about what I prefer, but more about what I need or what I am capable of. Maybe there are people to whom you give a full-day lecture about React (or anything else) and, at the end of the day, they fully understand and know how to use it. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.

I have always been the type of person that needs some time alone to think about everything and try it out, from basic to complex concepts. So, you can imagine how lost I felt after several days of learning new information without having the chance to see how it connects. Thankfully, no one judged me for not being able to finish the training task on time and, several days later, after I had the time to grasp it all, I started proving my worth on a commercial project.

3. Do you approach each job with the same process or does it change from project to project?

It’s about the process within the project, which should ideally be followed by the entire team. I think this process should be defined mainly by the project manager with the help of the tech lead and other team members.

Each project needs a slightly different process, but I would try to base it on battle-proven and commonly-used concepts. Then perhaps bend it a bit according to the needs of the project, while making sure that it still makes sense and works well.

4. You’ve mentioned that you used to prefer doing things according to a predefined process, but now that’s not the case. When did that change for you?

I still prefer a well-defined process. One that makes it easy to see everyone’s work, which tasks have been finished in previous versions, and how to release something without forgetting about any important aspects.

What changed is that I am not as keen on it as I used to be. This happened when I moved to a project that had a tight deadline. It wasn’t possible to spend time setting up a formal process, and it probably wouldn’t have made sense for a project that is two or three months long. So, we went along without a formal process and it worked, albeit with a few hiccups, but we were able to successfully get the job done. It showed me that some projects can be done that way, too.

5. As a Tech Lead, what’s been your team’s biggest accomplishment?

When we successfully delivered a solution with completely new technologies, ever-changing client requirements, and solving the client's last-minute request for Single Sign-On into their deployment of Strapi—all while working from home and within a tight deadline.

Because of the great people on the team, we came up with a solution using a separate login server and a bit of magic. I am very grateful to the entire team and I think the client was satisfied with what we delivered, too.

Before you go, check out the other editions of The Special Sauce:

· Jan Mikula, Salsita Director of Product

· Lancelot Purdue, Salsita Copywriter

· Alfred DeRose, Salsita Product Manager

About Salsita

Salsita Software is a web and mobile app agency specializing in compelling frontend experiences. We focus on eCommerce frontends including 3D product configurators.