Hello, I'm Sergej Brazdeikis and I write about engineering management and web technology.
I am a passionate engineering leader, making a better world by building life quality improving tools through orchestrating high-performing teams.
I love the released projects' impact and continuous improvement mindset in the teams. I love to catalyse people's development, and I love building diverse groups.
What is important to me:
- Team has a focus on impact. Proxy KPIs help us to stay on track, and they too often become the main goals for the teams.
- Our engineering tooling accelerates us, not slows us down. Lead time to production is a critical KPI for a thriving development culture.
- We trust our green tests. When we don't - we improve them.
- Customer decides if our feature is through behaviour. We facilitate through experimentation and data analysis.
- Feedback. In my team, I sued 360 peer feedback, promoted to give feedback at the moment, while the potato is hot and officially more deep-dive feedback round.
In each team I joined, I drive for the following culture:
- We fight for success as a team, and we celebrate as a team. From our differences, we pick the best solutions together.
- Success is a successful end user.
- We grow together. We raise the quality bar continuously.
- Safety in the team. Open team engagement and sharing everything on the table are good.
OLX Group, Berlin. Engineering Manager
March 2019 - November 2021
As Engineering Manager line managed 10, and did lead two teams with 17 engineers in total.
- Released PayAndShip experience integrated with online payment on time for Poland. September 2020. It was 6 months, extreme pressure from business, covid accelerated need for this feature, collaborating with multiple teams from different OLX Hubs. Impact - this was key to successfully achieving the main result for PayAndShip - 250k transactions per week
- Healthy team under long-term pressures - Team engagement score is above 72%. 2019-2020.
- Released cash on delivery experience for OLX.pl within the agreed timeline from scratch. February 2020 Mentionable change: From engineers working on a full solution in silos, to working as a team to finish feature per feature on all stacks together. Change Impact - the project became trackable, engineers worked as a team, engagement and energy levels became positive.
- Mentored and coached engineer with leadership skills who became the Engineering manager. Year 2021.
- Hired and maintained a diverse team. Team with diverse genders, mindsets, characters, seniority levels, backgrounds and coming from different countries. Impact - stronger team, bringing more different ideas and in a result implementing better solutions.
- Lean project execution
- Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory
- Coaching sessions
- DevOps mindset
- Situational Leadership Model
- Susan Wheelan’s group development
- and many other tools
Team’s way of working - the Radical Focus. team grew into self-organised, focusing around the impact each week, targeting user, and engineering excellence KPIs and pushing the experimentation forward.
My leadership style - is flexible, based on situational model. When I have choice - coaching. Personal strengths - empathy and planning.
Home24 SE, Berlin
Did achieve few role changes:
- Jan 2017 - Feb 2019: Team Leader
- Sep 2015 - Dec 2016: Technical Lead
- Jan 2015 - Sep 2015: Senior Software Engineer
- Lead the cross-functional team on high value for end-user Golang & React serverless project.
- The team delivered a major project on time within budget using Java 8 with the PHP team.
- Coached and mentored team members.
- Organized in-house CodeRetreat event.
- Optimized the first PHP microservices in the company - 2x overall performance optimization and for some endpoints - 5x without adding caching.
Used techniques: Lean principles, TOC, PDCA, TDD, DevOps mindset, Agile principles
Responsible for the quality and velocity of the team's deliveries. Designing services and applications. Leading implementation of the latest technology in team’s projects.
Did lead a team of 8 people comprising frontend and backend developers. Did developed 12-factor apps, clean code based reviews, optimized the delivery pipeline. Also held interviews for various positions: software frontend/backend engineer, QA, PM.
Main technologies used: PHP 5.5-7, Zend 1.12, Silex, Docker, Solr, Elasticsearch, Git, PHPUnit, MySQL, Vagrant, Puppet, Redis, AWS CloudFormation, Ansible.
Project A Ventures, Natue.com.br, Berlin
Jan 2013 - Jan 2015: Senior Software Engineer
First long-term assigned backend PHP developer for the project www.natue.com.br. Main tasks:
- Researched and accomplished migration of complex configuration of Solr 3.6 to Elasticsearch 1.2.
- Responsible for the "Clean Code" approach and design patterns.
- Optimized performance by profiling the narrow parts of the application - for some endpoints up to 11x.
- Trained and assisted other backend developers.
Main technologies used: Zend 1.12, Yii, Symfony 2, Propel, Solr, Elasticsearch, Couchbase, Git, PHPUnit, ActiveMQ, MySQL, Vagrant, Saltstack
Epasas.lt, JSC, Lithuania. Lead Web developer
Worked on 50 different projects. In this company, I became a true team player:
- Delivered ~90% of all sprints as estimated.
- Significantly refactored frontend - reached 30-50% faster full page loading times.
- Provided average backend response times around 50-60 ms by applying caching techniques.
- Leading team on refactoring Balsas.lt news website
Technologies used: Zend 1.12, Yii, Composer, Solr, Memcache, Couchbase, Git, ActiveMQ, MySQL
Mediaskopas, JSC, Lithuania. Systems engineer
Jun 2006 - May 2010
Designed and developed a centralized workload balancing system. After the system launch, the productivity of employees increased by 25%.
2004-2009 - Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Lithuania. BEng Engineering informatics. Information Systems. Courses in English. Final year project: “Optimization of business processes of media monitoring company”.
2002-2004 - School of young mathematicians, Vilnius, Lithuania. Received recommendation to study science
English - fluent, Russian - fluent, Lithuanian - fluent, German - beginner
Activities and interests
Crossfit fanboy, climbing monkey and traveller - 42k air miles in 2016. My best weekends are out in nature. Love reading books. Pre-Covid attended meetups in Berlin - favourites are Software Craftsmanship Berlin and DDD Berlin.
When switched from an engineer to a more managerial role, I had to think on a team level. The very definition of success changed - now it is team success. System thinking on the team level is a daily exercise.
One mistake I'm doing over and over again as the manager is - Me as, Engineering manager, need to spend at least 50% on the effort within the engineering managers team, not my team I'm the manager in.
Many engineering teams are doing the dailies. Often, the teams are doing it only because it is the best practice in the industry. We also all been there on questioning this daily meeting. What values does it bring? Why do not need it?