BlueChilli was a startup accelerator and incubator based on Sydney, Australia. BlueChilli specialized in taking early stage startups to market; taking ideas from the back of a napkin to first customer.

I was initially hired as a senior front-engineer and over a 6.5 year period I received two promotions, finishing as Head of Engineering. My role transitioned from technical specialist in front-end to a 50/50 mix of technology and product, along with advisory of startup founders.

I also had amazing experiences delivering presentations to startup founders, major accelerator partners like Coca-Cola Amatil, and sharing my experiences in developing startups with existing startup founders.

Mitch Malone and Mick Rippon presenting “Engineering at BlueChilli” to the startup accelerator for Coca-Cola Amatil.

After being hired and fired in the same day due to my remote status, I went on to solidify my role at BlueChilli permanently through consistent and reliable delivery, later hiring and developing remote engineering and product teams.

Highlight: Agile Uplift

During my entire time at BlueChilli there was a consistent team-wide effort to transition from waterfall-based agency practices into an Agile product-led way of working. I was fortunate enough to have incredibly input into this ongoing project from the engineering side, and later able to engage in the product side first hand.

My personal impact in this ongoing product included:

  • Developer engagement - Early BlueChilli somewhat resembled a tradition web agency, which later transitioned into fully cross-functional teams being involved at every step of the project life span. I was responsible for assisting with skills development of the engineering team in being able to assist in product discovery.

  • More with less - The BlueChilli team was small but incredibly efficient. With our small team-size meant we needed to leverage ways of working to allow us to punch above our weight. This meant prototyping prior to complicated builds, leveraging devops best practices to reduce time spent handholding code, and practices around sharing experiences and knowledge.

Highlight: Front-End Decoupling

I joined BlueChilli in 2014 after the acquisition of We Are Hunted by Twitter bringing my learnings of decoupled front and back ends to BlueChilli. Prior to me joining projects were developed using the .Net MVC Razor framework, and one of my first impacts into the team was sharing experiences in decoupled front and back ends for more rapid prototyping.

The project impacted several major areas for BlueChilli Developers:

  • Agile Product Delivery - Product teams were able to test ideas quickly by using mocked data as opposed to requiring fully developed back-ends. Design and front-end teams could deliver prototypes with customers prior to back-end delivery.

  • Developer Experience - Engineers were able to work along-side each other and separately, as opposed to the previous waterfall method of developing completed front-ends and handing off to back-end developers for implementation.

  • React Introduction - This project also allowed BlueChilli to move from MVC + jQuery builds into single page applications using React.

  • Mobile Development - As with React, the API structure now unlocked BlueChilli’s first mobile application builds.

© 2024 Mitch Malone.

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