Working at Orbital Witness

A quick look behind the curtain into working at OW

Antony McKane

November 2, 2021

Well hello there

Welcome intrepid reader! I can only imagine you’re here on the hunt for your next role, and want to get a glimpse behind the curtain by perusing our tech blog…. Or you’re trying to snoop and see if we left the list of secret herbs and spices jotted down across our blog posts. If the former, continue, else, feel free to continue but I promise you won’t find much…

At its core, Orbital Witness (OW) is a company led by its values, by such I mean that in everything we do, we endeavour to make sure at least one or more of our company values is represented in what we’re doing, or how we’re doing it.

Our Values

Agent Overview

Question or Commit

Everyone is able to question a method of approach or solution, but when we choose to commit to a direction, we work together as one on that course of action.

Bold and Ambitious

We don’t want to nudge the industry into a different direction, we want to grab it by its heels and spin it round so quickly that it can’t see straight. No idea or solution is too big or grandiose, it just has to be deliverable!

Eat That Frog!

No, we don’t have lunch here all the time, however we do recommend giving this book a read! Our take at OW is that it’s vital we tackle the biggest, most important things first, and that’s what we mean by “Eat That Frog!”

Power to our People

Our staff are what make us special, their unique personalities, perspectives and opinions are the keys to the success of OW. As such we endeavour to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to take ownership of their work, creativity and ingenuity come to life in our products.

With those values listed, let me try and explain a few key areas about why it’s great to work at Orbital Witness, and how we champion our values in everything we do.

Unique Problem Space

At Orbital Witness, we aim to transform an industry that has done things the same way for over 150 years, an industry that’s only just really opening it’s doors to the world of leveraging technical solutions, and you, dear potential colleague, could play a major part in how it’s done for the next 150!

Joining Orbital Witness in any facet of the business, but especially in the engineering or product space, is a huge opportunity to take ownership over our solutions from the ground up. You’ll see your ideas and ingenuity reflected in our products and how the industry goes about its day to day business. At Orbital Witness we’re tackling the problem of changing an industry that hasn’t changed how it does property due diligence in over 100 years, and for an engineer, that means a lot of lateral bandwidth to solve problems in new and creative ways!

How we work

So how do we actually go about building, well, anything? At OW, teams can self determine the best ways of working for themselves, with a few high level guidelines.

  • Projects are managed in an Agile Kanban style:
    • Early questions are answered with a PoC or number of PoCs/Technical spikes.
    • Work items should be divided into their smallest unit possible, usually around a days work a piece.
    • Work items should be deliverable in a day - two days of work.
    • User appreciable stories consist of these work items.
  • Weekly Cadence:
    • The team agree the weeks’ most important priorities.
    • The team ensures the weekly priorities are worked on ahead of all other non-critical tasks.

Beyond this, different product teams can use whatever tooling or processes they find best works for them. For example, our Commercial Product Team follows a flow like such in order to scope and deliver new or enhanced features:

Commercial Product Flow

Whilst this is a very simplified view of the process, each one of these steps allows for all members of the team to review, give feedback and adjust the team’s plan of attack for a given problem. Throughout the process team members are encouraged to come up with radical ideas or new technologies we might buy or build with in order to solve a problem, before finally honing down and working towards our chosen solution as one team. In doing so we help to champion the company values of Bold and Ambitious, Power to Our People and Question or Commit.

We’ll go into depth on what the Tech Stack looks like at Orbital Witness in another post. However we always try and use the right tool to match the problem, experimenting and scoping out the pros and cons of a new technology, framework or entire language before we commit the business to it. By approaching the problems we face in a collaborative fashion, rather than a top-down hierarchy, we empower our staff to come up with creative solutions that we might not have considered if one or two people were the masterminds behind how we tackle every problem.

Building a Company, not just a Product

Like with any startup, things can feel like they’re moving at a thousand miles per hour, constantly pushing to get the next release out, matching a customer requirement, or adopting brand new technologies and methodologies. Among all that however, Orbital Witness keeps a clear eye on our other critical objective; to build a company people want to work for.

Orbital Witness is committed to creating an atmosphere that encourages diverse ideas and discussion, wherein our staff can be challenged and stimulated by the problems and solutions we come up with. We want people to be excited to come to work, as they know it’ll never be dull, rather than seeing it as the 9-5 grind. As with our product, the steps and initiative our staff take today, can and do end up being key historic events in the lifespan of the company, informing and guiding how we grow and in what direction.

Just recently (at the time of writing) Orbital Witness has created our “Culture Club” which is a staff run and leadership supported initiative to help bring employee feedback to life, empower more casual/ad-hoc socials with budget or planning support, and review how the company is performing against its values. The club looks to build on the foundation of what makes Orbital Witness great now, and ensure we take that secret sauce into our exciting expansion ahead!

In Conclusion

I hope this has given some insight into the internal workings of OW, and has detailed an important piece of our vision. If you’re looking for your next opportunity, and want to work at a company that’ll respect you whilst also giving you a challenging environment to push yourself in, then perhaps you should read a few more of our blog posts, and maybe even see if a role we’re looking for fits your current skill set and inclination!

Antony McKane

Tech Lead - Commercial Product