Celebrating One Year of Engineering Growth in Appian Chennai
Meet Diwakar Devapalan, Quality Engineering Manager, and the first engineer who joined Appian Chennai.
I’m the kind of person who likes to work in small teams and see them grow. I was the first Quality Engineer at my previous organization which grew to over 100 people. So when I saw the opportunity to become one of the first Appian employees in India last May, I didn’t want to miss that chance to be part of something big.
Now, a year later, our engineering team is up to over 60 members with aggressive plans to grow to 120 this year. The growth opportunities and technical challenges of helping globalize our platform for customers are what’s so exciting and rewarding about working here.
Growing our engineering team from 1 to 60+ members in less than a year.
Many of us in Chennai were very new to the Appian platform. We established a collaboration model where our engineering squad is made up of team members in Chennai and the US. Despite time zone differences, we've been able to scale up rapidly in Chennai by close collaboration efforts with our US colleagues. Both teams adjust when they start and end their days and it's worked well because we all enjoy working together and make the effort to collaborate.
I started as the first Appian engineer in Chennai, working with a few others in a coworking space at Urban Square, on OMR. Six months later, we acquired additional space in the building as our team grew. Within another three months, we expanded again to take over another floor. It really speaks of how quickly we've been able to accommodate our growth and welcome new members in.
As I watched Suvajit Gupta, Executive Vice President of Engineering along with other US team members inaugurate our new space a few weeks back, I was struck by how we'd been a single-digit numbered team less than a year ago! We heard from Suvajit and sales leaders about their vision for growth which is all pretty exciting to me.
Diwakar (left) and Appian Chennai team members in the newly expanded space in Urban Square, OMR.
The psychological safety at Appian is another reason we’ve been able to grow so quickly with a great, collaborative culture. There’s no micromanagement. We can question the decisions made by managers, and ask about what impact things have. Respectful dissent is in fact encouraged. When CEO Matt Calkins and our executive team say this, it’s actually implemented.
Helping lead the low-code industry in India.
I’ve worked in engineering for about 10 years, but always in high code with languages like Java and C#. When I learnt about the low-code industry, I was a little skeptical at first. Is there a future in this?
Over the last few years, I started to see how fast low-code applications have grown and it’s been staggering. I saw how powerful Appian is to allow low code developers to build simple to large-scale solutions to automate business processes. We’re helping global companies like Deloitte accelerate their processes to support professional services specialists around the world and make their work easier and more efficient.
Appian has several implementation partners in India. When I started at Appian Chennai, we were known primarily within this circle. A year since, Appian is a well-known player in the Chennai engineering space. The awareness has been growing and that’s really exciting to be part of. As the low-code industry in India grows, so does our team.
The goal of our engineering squad is to help globalize the Appian platform. We’re building features to make Appian easier to use for our enterprise global customers and it’s pretty exciting hearing from our leaders on how this will have a big impact across the company.
Building features to help global customers.
Work to impact (not completion) is the Appian value I appreciate the most.
Every time we start working on a release we are not just looking at completing the features but we think from the end user perspective on how we can make it better and how we can make it easy for the user. We have been agile enough to accommodate changes in scope and take in additional work to ensure we roll out features the best possible way.
For example, we focus on features that make it easier for our global partners and customers to use the Appian platform. For example, we heard from our product managers that customers operating across different countries and languages were struggling with different currencies on the platform.
Every time low code developers had to format a currency, they had to use different app functions in Appian and this was inefficient. Our Engineering squad updated the feature to have a single function that applies to any currency, which makes peoples’ lives easier, especially for low code developers and solutions teams. This was one of the features I was most proud of building this year, because we could really see how it impacts our partners and customers’ everyday lives.
We’re also working on functionalities to better serve our global teams, working across different countries, time zones, and languages.
A picture of Appian employees at a recent happy hour event in Chennai.
If you’re in Chennai, Appian is probably the most exciting place in tech to work at right now.
There’s a high bar that everyone at Appian strives for. Everyone here comes with strong technical experience and we learn so much from each other and from our global Engineering teams. I’ve never felt like I’m just another person or individual, I always feel part of the team.
By joining our Engineering team, you get to build new features to help globalize our platform and be part of a company that’s scaling up and committed to growing in Chennai.