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Every month, we hold an all-hands meeting for engineering, product, and design. The agenda always starts with a cherished tradition, “MeetMe’s.” Each newly-hired team member introduces themselves, including what we can’t find on LinkedIn and a special talent. These introductions consistently do not disappoint. As a way of sharing this fun tradition with folks outside of Grand Rounds, we launched this virtual version.

Welcome to our MeetMe web series. In each episode, we interview someone on the engineering, product, or design team to learn more about them and their team’s work. We talk about what matters most to Grand Rounds contributors and how they bring their best selves to work every day. We hope that through this series of peer-to-peer interviews, you get to know our team, as individuals and as a group of people with shared goals and values.

Our first MeetMe kicks off with a conversation between software engineers Rachel Lo and Matt Frey. Watch the full video of Rachel interviewing Matt or see highlights from the conversation below.

Rachel Lo:
Hello, and welcome to our Meet Me web series at Grand Rounds. I’m Rachel Lo, a software engineer on our Core Experience Engineering Team. We work on making our user experience as seamless as possible and unifying all of the features and products that we have into one product. Today, I’ll be interviewing Matt Frey, a senior software engineer on our Navigation Team. Matt, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Matt Frey:
Sure. I’m Matt. I’m a senior software engineer on the Navigation Team. I’ve been at Grand Rounds for about two years now. The Navigation Team works on the specific tools and products that allow our members to see information and find answers to their healthcare questions. One example is we can show our members how much they’ve spent towards their deductible so they can make informed financial decisions on when to seek healthcare. And when they choose to seek healthcare, we also provide them with tools to find specific providers that specialize in their healthcare needs. Our team’s focus is really about getting healthcare answers to members in the best way we can.

Rachel Lo:
That’s a lot to cover. What are you working on right now, and what are you looking forward to on the roadmap for your team?

Matt Frey:
We are kicking off what we’re calling the Sub-specialty Condition Routing Project. That means we want to get more specific on the doctors we recommend to members to ensure the doctor is the best match for their needs. For example, neurology has a lot of different sub-specialties or areas to specialize in. So if a member is searching for a neurologist, we want to help them clarify whether they are seeking support for headaches, migraines, or a need that is more surgical. We ask follow-up questions to give us more information on our members’ needs in order to provide them recommendations for the best doctor for them. We aim to do this effectively and as fast as possible in order to become our members’ preference for where they go to seek healthcare support.

Rachel Lo:
I see. So really trying to figure out the biggest problems that our members have and then solving them. You mentioned “member preference” in your response. What does that mean to you?

Matt Frey:
To me, member preference means that we want to be the first stop our members go to when they have a healthcare need. I think of the example of Yelp. A lot of people, when they want to go out for food, they go straight to Yelp, because they know that they’re going to get information that is going to help them make an informed decision. We want to do the same thing with healthcare, which is obviously a much bigger and much more consequential aspect of someone’s life. There’s not really a lot of one-stop shops for healthcare, so that expectation hasn’t yet been established in people’s minds to go to one place for all of their healthcare needs. We’re aiming to do that.

Rachel Lo:
On the Core Experience Engineering Team, we also think about member preference in a similar way. We own the parts of the application that are very integral, including things like the sign-in flow and a member’s first experience logging in. That experience really plays into a member’s preference based on how good the experience is and if it keeps them wanting to come back. Given that member preference is greatly influenced by our product and design, how do you work with those teams?

Matt Frey:
We closely collaborate with our Product and Design teams. The typical makeup for a team is to have one or two product managers that are in charge of that team’s roadmap and planning and metrics. For the Navigation Team, we have one product manager, and then we have a design team that works across Core Experience and Navigation. We are especially involved with these teams in the planning phases of our project. We have a lot of discussion and create documentation of specific project requirements. Then we follow that with more implementation-focused documentation, where the engineering team describes how they’re going to implement the technical creation. Once everyone is in agreement and the goals and process are documented, we go into the implementation phase. From there, we begin to build incrementally, showing progress to Product and Design along the way and making tweaks as we go along if something isn’t lining up correctly.

Rachel Lo:
It sounds like a lot of communication and iteration. What are some ways that you think you could drive better collaboration as an engineer?

Matt Frey:
I think for engineering specifically, I’ve seen how we can often treat the infrastructure and scaling projects as side projects in order to focus on more new features. To get fully synced with the product and design teams, engineers have to be responsible for making a case for why infrastructure progress is important and what impact that will have upon our product.  It’s important that we always have healthy debate between building a new feature and making current features more scalable. Looking at both sides and deciding what’s best for the team and company is really important in a growing company.

Rachel Lo:
I see that as well. It is important for us to make a case for addressing things like tech debt and assessing decisions and trade-offs collaboratively with product and engineering managers to decide what is the most important thing to work on at a particular time.

I want to talk about one more topic before we head out. I think we should talk about what it means to find the right role. This is my first full-time role. I graduated school last year, and I just passed my one-year GR anniversary a couple of months ago. I know that when I was looking for my first full-time role after completing university, I wanted to look for a place to work that hit a variety of key points for me, including a team that valued collaboration and one where smaller teams of engineers were also very involved with working with product and design to figure out what to work on. For me, a huge driving factor for me to decide where I wanted to work was really the product and the mission and vision.

I had worked at places that were more catered to building software for software engineers. But after graduating university, I really wanted to work on something that I thought could impact more people’s lives in a more consequential and meaningful way. So I chose Grand Rounds for that, having a direct impact on someone’s healthcare journey. Healthcare is something that we all have to be worried about. That was really important to me. How about you? What were you looking for in your last job search, and why did you pick Grand Rounds?

Matt Frey:
I think we have a lot of overlap there in some of the points you brought up. I definitely love making an impact and value building things that directly affect users. I love the feeling of that. I was in the healthcare sector for my last job as well. I love the healthcare industry because there’s so much room to grow here. Healthcare has been an industry that has adopted technology a little bit slower than a lot of industries, so you can really make an impact there.

Specifically, Grand Rounds was very appealing to me because it’s still growing a lot, but we are also more established at this point. That allowed me to broaden my technical expertise, because you have to dip your toe in a lot of things here, but you also have the support to make quality decisions about how you scale and how you further integrate into your market rather than simply aiming to hit funding deadlines every year. We’re more established, so we have a bit of breathing room there as we shape our future growth.

Rachel Lo:
I totally agree. I think we’re in a really interesting spot right now, and our engineering organization is continually growing as we build more and more onto our product. I think that pretty much wraps up our time. Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Matt Frey:
Just like you said, we are hiring, especially on our member-facing teams, including our Navigation Team, and also across various roles in engineering, product, and design.

Rachel Lo:
To wrap us up, I want to hit you with one random, fun question. What is your current binging Netflix show? Go.

Matt Frey:
I am currently finishing up the Michael Jordan documentary, the Last Dance. I’m a huge sports fan, so I’ve been binging that lately.

Rachel Lo:
Cool. I’ve started watching the show The Queen’s Gambit, and it’s super. I would highly recommend it.

Thank you for joining us on our Meet Me web series. Stay tuned for more of these episodes as we get to know more members of the Grand Rounds EPD (Engineering, Product, Design) team.
And if this sounds interesting to you, check out our open roles. We’re hiring!

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