Different but better
The TPM & SRE team of Coupang Pay is comprised of members with three different roles. With the overarching goal of ensuring the enhancement of system performance and reliability to gain customer trust, the members are making an impact in their respective areas.
We spoke with Bert, who is leading the TPM & SRE team. He exchanges ideas with his team members who have different roles, which makes the conversation richer and more interesting.
Hi, Bert. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I’m Bert, manager of the TPM & SRE team. I started my career with Coupang at Coupang Corp. And a few years ago, I transferred to Coupang Pay. I’m a Technical Program Manager and also lead the TPM & SRE team.
What does the TPM & SRE team do?
The team is made up of members owning one of the following three roles: Technical Program Manager (TPM), System Reliability Engineer (SRE) and Database Administrator (DBA). All members of the team share the same goal, which is to improve system performance and reliability, but their focus areas differ. TPMs are responsible for measuring and managing system performance, efficiency, reliability, and more. They act as the PMs to make improvements. SREs are more focused on ensuring reliability of the overall systems of Coupang Pay and making improvements to the system, rather than developing system features. Finally, we have DBAs.. More people may be familiar with DBAs compared to TPMs or SREs. DBAs are responsible for modifying and operating the database.
It sounds like you need to put a lot of effort into managing your team members while performing two different roles. What is your vision for the TPM & SRE team?
I try to empower the team members to further enhance their expertise while achieving our common goals and building the team culture. This is probably one of my main responsibilities as the manager. I also realize given the structure of our team, it requires a unique collaboration and a harmonious co-working environment. For example, unlike other teams, we can’t always dive deep certain topics in a meeting with all the team members. The reason being, different team members have their own areas of expertise. This makes it difficult for every team member to engage in in-depth, detailed discussions. On the other hand, we are better positioned to present more diverse views with a wider perspective when it comes to discussing project goals and the relationship with other domains. In consideration of the unique nature of our team, we are trying to find the right way for the team members with different roles to work together and find a common ground. For the time being, I’m making small attempts, and trying to assess their impact. No team is perfect, and we are just trying to make small steps forward every day to make our team better. This is our focus for now given that our team has just been created and that our members have different roles.
What does it take to become a member of the TPM & SRE team?
In addition to being able to solve problems, you should also think systematically. This is because our team members are required to pay attention to a much longer list of systems than other developers. There are developers who are very good at conducting an in-depth analysis of issues in addition to their development skills. Our team members should have analytical skills capabilities to assess impact covering wider domains, and to quickly learn necessary skills. Systems aren’t the only areas that our team should have the wide perspective for. Team members should consider both the system and the Coupang Pay organization, because the outcome of the work we do can determine the working methods of the rest of the people at Coupang Pay. Although we may find ourselves under pressure given the importance of the work we do, we also find it very exciting that we can have a far-reaching impact on other employees.
I'd love to hear more about your story. When was your proudest or most memorable moment since you joined Coupang Pay?
I’d like to share the most difficult moment I faced at Coupang Pay. I had many difficulties, both large and small, during the course of establishing Coupang Pay as a separate entity. It was very rewarding, but I’d be lying if I say there was no hardships at all. As hard as it was, it was an opportunity where challenging decisions were made and I’ve managed to learn a lot along the way. It was a reminder that persistence and not giving up have great power, even greater than brilliant ideas or outstanding technology.
Can you tell us about your focus areas these days?
The team’s emphasis has always been creating efficient and reliable systems. The goal is to deliver consistent customer service and experiences and to earn our customers’ trust. I believe the same applies to the development process in other areas. We tackle one major issue after the other, and this helps enhance the overall system reliability.
Also, I’m trying to take a fresh look at things that I previously thought were unsolvable. In any given areas, there are issues for which we’ve drawn the conclusion that addressing them is beyond our abilities. It's very easy to just give up or move on. But we can also go back to the unresolved issues from the past because we always grow and who we are today is much better and more capable.
Who is your pick for the next interviewee? And why?
I briefly talked about what it’s like to be a manager today. The manager role definitely changed the way I work and I’m sure others are the same. I know someone who recently got promoted to amanager and believe he has some great stories to share. I’d like to recommend Runner, our new manager of Fintech Data Intelligence.
We are hiring at Coupang Pay.
If you are interested, go to the link and find out more about the positions available.