Skip to content

Think IT Event: Shipt's Journey from Legacy Monolith to Microservice Architecture

Yesterday, we hosted our first back in-person Think IT Event to discuss Shipt’s Journey from Legacy Monolith to Microservice Architecture with Mike Calvo, Chief Technology Officer at Shipt, Kelly Smunk, Director of Technology Operations at Shipt, Keri Stelle, Vice President of Engineering at Shipt, Jessi Keegan, Vice President of Cyber Security at Shipt, and Robert Tomb, Director of Technology at Shipt. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and participated in the discussion!

Below you will find a summary of a few questions that were discussed.

About Shipt

While most people are familiar with Target, some may not be familiar with Shipt. Shipt is a three-sided marketplace that connects customers/consumers with gig workers who will deliver packages and retail. The company was founded in Birmingham, AL back in 2014, became acquired by Target in 2017, and has had exceptional growth since then. Since the acquisition with Target, Shipt has become the exclusive same-day delivery partner for Target. Even though it has been acquired by Target, Shipt has been able to remain an independent subsidiary, allowing them to work with over 200 retailers nationwide. It started out as just a delivery business for groceries but has expanded to pharmacy, electronics, and more within its retail partners.

Tell us a little bit about the technology at Shipt?

As a company started in 2014, Shipt was launched on a Ruby on Rails framework, but has since transitioned to all backends being Golang, and all front ends being React. Shipt has seen huge success from transitioning to react and would advocate for it. They are a cloud-native company and are focused on open-tech, everything being open-sourced and vendor independence. They created two commonly used apps with a single code base, so they don’t have to hire specialized engineers for these apps. Currently, they don’t have to worry about data centers or mainframes, which has been beneficial. Although they have made advancements in their technology since 2014, they still have a lot of legacy tech that has yet to be phased out.

What has the transition been like going from legacy monolith to microservice architecture?

The panel discussed the importance of making this transition a priority for the business and how they went about doing that. They had to ensure that it was a priority within her business area. The reason this needed to be such a priority was because, on the marketplace side, that was Shipt’s brand. There was a lot of emphasis on growing the marketplace. Two of the most important things they took away from this were 1) This transition must be on your product roadmap as a priority along with everything else, and 2) Enabling your team of engineers to be successful. Another thing that attributed to their ongoing success was having an executive sponsor. This was such a game-changer for this team because it gave them the opportunity to get their project in as a #1 initiative. In this case. Mike Calvo was their executive sponsor for this transition. Another thing they did that attributed to success during this transition was to make two role changes during this process. They had come to a point where they had identified what had been slowing down the project and what they needed to do to fix that. The solution for this problem was to change two of the roles to more specific, tailored roles that would stop the team from burning out and have a cheerleader by their side.

Overall, the transition from a legacy monolith to a microservice architecture at Shipt required prioritization, support from executive sponsors, and a focus on empowering the engineering team. Through these efforts, Shipt was able to successfully navigate the transition, modernize its technology stack, and continue its growth as a leading three-sided marketplace.