Building teams: A Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast

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In this podcast, Eric Muntz, former CTO at Mailchimp, discusses diversity of thinking and ethnic diversity in IT engineering teams

In 2020, Eric Muntz was recognised as an enterprise finalist in the 2020 Georgia CIO of the Year Orbit Awards for his role as CTO at Mailchimp, a company he has worked for for 13 years. He has recently changed roles and is now the company’s technology advocate.

Intuit Mailchimp provides a marketing automation platform and Muntz was the third engineer the company hired. During his long tenure, he says he has focused on growing the team, the platform and the IT architecture to support more than 13 million customers.

In terms of building out an IT engineering team, Muntz believes IT leaders should aim to develop a well-rounded team and recruit people who fill specific gaps in expertise. “One of the things I really believe in, and what I’m most proud of over the 13 years I’ve been here, is our apprenticeship programme, which was built to bring in people from other departments into engineering,” he says.

The programme takes in people from the business and gives them a three-month position inside the engineering team. This helps people decide if they want to work in engineering or prefer their existing job. Muntz says more than 70 people in its engineering team began their work life at Mailchimp in a different department.

Rather than having a prescribed way of working, Muntz believes in offering a work environment that is flexible enough to enable people to work at their best. “It’s not always the same for everyone,” he says. “Someone might want to get on the whiteboard and write code, someone else may prefer to do pair programming, and some people may just want to have a conversation about architecture and infrastructure and how it works.”

Muntz believes it is important to understand these things during the interview process. “If there’s one position and six candidates, we want to see all six of those people at their very best,” he adds.

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