Archive: 2015

Want to improve your product? Stop coding.

We all know that what developers want to do with their time is write code, but in Logistics Planning we took a whole week away from that. So why? And was it really worth it?

I began working for Ocado Technology in October. In this short time we have moved...

categories: The World of Tech

All about HexagonJS, our latest open source project

Last weekend kicked off with an exciting announcement for my team: we’d just open sourced our HexagonJS project.

We’re looking forward to contributions from outside the company, so here’s what it does and why, and we hope to see you getting involved soon.

What is HexagonJS?

A modular, themeable...

categories: Ocado Technology News

Why you should work in... Supply Chain Systems

You know when you get your internet shopping delivered and it doesn’t have a key product, and even worse, it has been substituted for an item that you will never use? Well that is what can happen when Supply Chain Systems go wrong. Do you know why Ocado has industry...

categories: Recruitment News

Self selection – how to restructure your team for greater autonomy.

One of our largest areas recently undertook a revolutionary self-selecting restructuring exercise, the goal being a complete split between teams working on two different propositions. The overall aim of this split is to achieve greater alignment, autonomy and purpose.

Following the principle that a collaborative and distributed approach is often...

categories: Ocado Technology News

Why we've just opened our first Bulgarian office

Ocado Technology employs over 650 software engineers in the UK and Poland. We are intending to continue to grow that number significantly in both Poland and the UK in 2016. Our need for talented software developers is driven, in part, by our ambitious project to rewrite, from scratch, our end-to-end...

categories: Recruitment News

An innovative approach to capture innovative ideas – Product Owner blog 3

I find that people put an overwhelming focus on product innovation, but not necessarily on innovative approaches to capturing those novel ideas. With this in mind I decided to focus my efforts on finding a new way to stimulate idea creation for our team.

I knew I wanted to actively...

categories: The World of Tech

‘Has the robot uprising begun?’ Stuff Innovators panel discussion

Earlier this month I took part in a panel discussion on robotics at Stuff Innovators 2015.

I shared the stage with Patrick Levy Rosenthal CEO of EmoShape, they produce a microchip for robots aimed at producing emotional responses, and Nicolas Boudot from Aldebaran, the company that developed a...

categories: The World of Tech

What my parents think I do – an experiment in recruitment

What would you say to a video from our employees about why they love their job? Something like, ‘well, they have to say that’ probably.

We wanted to show off why our employees are so special and what they love about their jobs – i.e why you should want to...

categories: Recruitment News

Why we’ve open-sourced Code for Life

In the spirit of collaboration, we’ve open-sourced the game and portal of our free Code for Life education initiative.

To give you a bit of background, Code for Life consists of free teaching resources, including lesson plans, videos, and the Rapid Router game.

To play, pupils use basic programming...

categories: Ocado Technology News

Why you should work in… Algorithm Development

My team researches, implements and analyses new automation mechanisms. We sit within the Simulation and Visualisation area and our focus is mainly on the company's huge CFCs (Customer Fulfilment Centres – warehouses).

Essentially, we create simulations that we then use as sandboxes to test out different control algorithms.

This could...

categories: The World of Tech

Why you should work in… Simulation Research

My team builds simulations of physical systems. Our work falls into 3 categories: experimental, tactical, and operational.

At the experimental end, we build simulations and design tools for new technologies and warehouse layouts, along with prototype control algorithms.

Tactically, we try out proposed changes to our warehouse topologies...

categories: The World of Tech

How we set up ChatOps within Slack

Recently we have started using Slack internally in an effort in improve cross-team/department communication. In addition, a small group of us have been following the ChatOps movement and at our very first Innovation Day (similar to Atlassian ShipIt days), we had a chance to set up ChatOps within Slack.

categories: The World of Tech

What can young women learn from the Stemettes?

One of the fantastic consequences of our Code for Life initiative is the interest we attract from STEM and educational charities looking to collaborate. Here’s the lowdown on our visit to the Stemettes.

We celebrated Code for Life’s first anniversary on 1st September, and we’re continuing to develop new...

categories: The World of Tech

Work experience at Ocado – the inside view

New to tech? You’ve heard the experiences of our interns and apprentices before on this blog. Now for someone who hasn’t even started his career yet.

Secondary school student, Tiger, did his work experience here recently. In a Q&A with Tiger and one of his mentors, Diego, we found...

categories: Recruitment News

SecondHands – developing the world’s most advanced collaborative robots

Recently we kicked off an exciting project to develop an autonomous humanoid robot. It will use artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced vision systems to understand what human workers want, in order to offer assistance.

For example, it will be able to hand tools to maintenance technicians, and manipulate objects...

categories: Ocado Technology News

What technology do you need when working with teams not collocated? Product Owner blog 2

In my first blog post I illustrated the many factors to take into consideration when building a cohesive team. This time I want to explore the technology available.

Can you make do without technology in building an effective non-collocated team? For me the answer is yes. But would that...

categories: The World of Tech

Soft robotics – what I’ve learnt about the revolution

Pisa/IIT SoftHand by M. G. Catalano, G. Grioli, E. Farnioli, A. Serio, C. Piazza and A. Bicchi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

I’m very excited about a new wave of robot development known as soft robotics (technical name: variable stiffness actuators), so when I saw...

categories: The World of Tech

How we created the first grocery app for the Apple Watch

Our intention was to make it effortless for Ocado customers to shop without even needing to get their phone out.

The Apple Watch app serves as an extension to the iPhone app, offering some extra options the user can perform in mere seconds. Our main focus was on quick...

categories: Ocado Technology News

How to work with teams not collocated – Product Owner blog 1

As a Product Owner working with a team across two different countries, there are lots of problems to tackle to make sure projects run smoothly. In this series of blog posts, I will explore how my team and I have overcome issues.

For a bit of background info, I’m based...

categories: The World of Tech

No degree? No problem. Meet our award-winning apprentice.

Getting a headstart in technology can be hard work if you haven’t followed the traditional uni route, but it’s far from impossible. We interviewed Ocado Technology apprentice Ryan Scales to see how and why he did things differently.

As winner of Apprentice of the Year, he should know a thing...

categories: The World of Tech

C# 6.0 introduces ‘nameof’ – a short but sweet blog 2

To continue my look at C# 6.0 I was going to talk about inline variable declaration – a feature I hope we will see in a future version of the language but which has been cut after having made it into the technical preview. Instead, I’ll quickly talk about...

categories: The World of Tech

Why the Lords report on digital skills matters

On Tuesday the Lords’ Digital Skills Committee released a report, ‘Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future’, warning of a digital skills gap and its impact.

For me, there were two points that particularly resonated:

One, that digital literacy should be a core...

categories: Ocado Technology News

Why C# 6.0 is my big launch of 2015 – blog 1

With the approach of Visual Studio 2015, the new features of C# 6.0 are being finalised. Whilst this release doesn’t contain any of the paradigm-shifting changes of previous language updates (think Linq), it does provide a lot of syntactic sugar that seasoned C# developers have been requesting for a long...

categories: The World of Tech

New open-source, closure tables, and a handy Django library

In computer science, data is often modelled in a hierarchical tree-based structure, with a root node and subtrees of child nodes:

Table 1

Within Ocado Technology, a number of our systems contain data that follows this structure, and it’s commonly stored in traditional relational databases, such as Postgres....

categories: Ocado Technology News

New for Rapid Router – learn to code in Python

I’m proud to announce the latest update to our Code for Life teaching resource: your pupils can now learn to code in Python using the Rapid Router game.

For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Python is a proper coding language used by companies such as Google and NASA. It’s also simple to...

categories: Ocado Technology News

My journey from intern to engineer at Ocado Technology

A little bit of background about myself: I’m Ryan and I’m a graduate fresh from Imperial College London. This is the story of how I moved from intern to full-time at Ocado Technology. If you’re looking for placements or first jobs, I hope you’ll find it useful.

The preparation and...

categories: Recruitment News

Get ahead in tech with advice from five Ocado Technology experts

Could 2015 be an important year for your career? We asked five Ocado Technology experts – from guys at the top to rising stars – for the careers advice they live by or would pass on.

Whether you’re choosing your first move or wondering where to turn next, here are...

categories: Recruitment News

The life and lessons of an Ocado Technology intern

Rewind to November 2013 when, on a cold dark evening, I was entering one of Imperial College's career fairs. As a third-year Computing student I needed to find a six-month placement, but had no clue where to start looking. Should I go into finance, a bigger tech company or a...

categories: Recruitment News