CommonBond wanted best in class internal tooling to effectively handle the volume of loans coming into the system and get decisions to customers quickly. Their operations team leverages external data sources, reviews loan application data, and writes decisions back via internal APIs. Early in CommonBond’s product, they invested heavily in an admin UI to take care of all of this work on the backend and give a simple frontend to non-technical ops users.
The problem was the admin UI needed support to scale as fast as the rest of CommonBond: as new layers kept getting added to the product, internal tools were not as seamlessly able to keep up. Every new feature in the core product required additions and maintenance to the admin UI, but the necessary admin changes were not happening as quickly. Core workflows for the operations team were starting to get backed up and require engineering time, impacting downstream decision processes and timelines to support their end customers and their applications.
Engineering would try to dedicate a sprint every few months to some of the growing backlog for the PHP-based admin UI, but it was often times an uphill battle. CommonBond’s CTO Dean McRobie contrasted internal dashboards with customer facing features: “your admin tools never get the kind of developer focus that your product features get.” Without a tool for working with new product APIs, engineers had to manually muck around in databases: according to Dean, “this gap was costing us thousands of dollars in terms of time lost triaging and manually solving problems.”