PayPay Inside-Out People and Culture

PayPay Web Development Support: Creating a Structure that Utilizes Human Talent and Management with Care


This professionals series looks at the top-notch experts working at PayPay. In this issue, we interviewed Yuichi-san, Engineering Manager of the Web Platform Team.

Yuichi Futami

Yuichi Futami

Engineering Manager, Web Platform Team, Payment Product Division

Prior to joining PayPay, he worked for an IT company that provided ERM, marketing, and CS management solutions to financial institutions, engaging in web development, iOS development, and product management. He joined PayPay in July 2019 as a web developer. Until 2021, he was primarily responsible for web payment related functions. He is now the Engineering Manager of the Web Platform Team, managing the web environment and supporting web engineers in each product line. His hobbies are watercolor painting and photography. Day camping with family during weekends is also his favorite pastime.

Joys and Responsibilities of Developing Tools that Drive Japan’s Economy

PayPay Is Not a Mere Code Payment Tool but a Service-Providing Hub

I joined PayPay in July 2019, just when reaching 10 million users was around the corner. I was initially hired as an iOS engineer, but since web engineers were scarce and I had experience in both, I joined the Web Team.

Fast forward three years and we reached 50 million users in August 2022. Seeing the growth of PayPay during that period made me strongly aware that PayPay has become a part of Japan’s infrastructure.

It isn’t just shopping. You gain access to various campaigns, such as receiving 30% of your purchase price back as points or coupons you can use at coffee shops. You can also invest the points you get in an asset management service too.

PayPay is more than a tool for code payments, but more a service that offers excitement and a happy monetary experience. I am very happy to be involved in the development of PayPay as a web engineer, as it is a driving force of the Japanese economy.

Currently, I support web engineers of each product line and manage the web environment as the Web Platform Team’s Engineering Manager.

I particularly focus on making the web API gateway a BFF to make frontend development more efficient, on automating pull request checks, and on automating release operations and service monitoring as much as possible.

Persistency in Achieving a Reliable and Safe Development Environment

The most recent project I was leading was to enable the version control of web screens and features of the app build in the development and beta testing environments by matching the web version to the app.

Even now, PayPay is updated once a week to release new features or to improve usability. That means that in any given week, three different app versions are deployed in the staging, beta testing, and production environments, where engineers perform tests and monitoring activities.

Prior to this project, the web platform only allowed for one version to be handled in each environment. This made it difficult to develop new features and conduct regression testing and beta testing simultaneously.
To solve this problem, we decided to change our web development specifications to match the app version. As a result, we were able to improve collaboration with the QA Team regarding release operations, as well as boost reliability. In addition, the ability to develop in an independent environment increased the development efficiency of our web engineers, for which we’ve been complimented a lot.

I don’t think it’s common practice for web engineers to match the web and app versions so completely when proceeding with development. So in order to move forward with the project, the first step I took was to make sure that people around us understood the concept of thorough web version control. It took about six months from planning to until the operations settled in place. In order to make sure that my bosses and members of all related teams understood and would accept my ideas, I squeezed in a presentation in every meeting I attended. I was giving quite a lot of mini-presentations, so I bet people were thinking “Not this guy again…” (laughs).

Web Version Control Chart
Management Chart

Dealing with Human Error – Creating a System that Makes the Most of Members’ Uniqueness

We take various steps every day to prevent incidents.
In order to instill the importance of release operations in each team member, we rotate the person in charge of release operations every week, calling them release operators. Also, since manual code checks aren’t perfect, we built a system that scans pull requests and automatically issues warnings when there is suspicious activity in the header section.

Our recent focus has been on creating detailed specifications before we begin development.
To be more specific, the header should include certain details, such as the name, title, and which screen specification the page describes. Pull requests must include attributes, parsing, and lifetime, as well as the payload, and with the help of our Security Team we perform vulnerability assessments.

We also actively adopt systems that other development teams have implemented and found effective. One example is the “SRE Champion.”
Every member is usually too busy with feature development to update the dashboard for monitoring, so I came up with this idea to remedy the situation. The person designated as the SRE Champion shares his or her knowledge and skills with other members, answers questions, recommends certain training methods, escalates issues, and does other such activities.

Even if a service is reliable and not prone to incidents, it is meaningless if it is not usable to users. That’s why I want my team members to always look at the big picture and consider whether something is a reliable service when developing it. I know it’s not easy to understand what I’m saying, so my hope is for members to understand through becoming the SRE Champion. With more opportunities to gain various insights and members becoming more mindful, we were able to make improvements and the team’s atmosphere became congenial too.

Sense of Security and Common Purpose to Maximize the Team’s Potential

Boosting Performance Made Possible with a Sense of Security

My biggest concern when managing the team is to provide a comfortable working environment. I’ve worked in different organizations, but I feel that my performance was most hindered in environments where it was difficult to speak up or where I would get reproved. When I lead a team, I try not to blame anyone or give unconstructive criticism to someone in response to their statement, so everyone can feel safe when working.

When we hire someone, I don’t only look at their skills but also at whether or not they can express their opinions while listening carefully to colleagues and work towards a goal together. Leaders of other dev teams share the same idea.


Management with Care from the Experience of Challenging Projects

I think the foundation of my management style was formed when I participated in a feature development project that required coordination between multiple companies.
I was the point of contact in that project for some time doing the necessary adjustments between companies. It was a tough time for me with lots of working overtime. There were others too that were working under even harsher conditions, but I didn’t have the authority to coordinate operations, so I couldn’t help them. It was really tough. What I felt back then was extreme frustration. So I told myself, “I will never let my team members feel this way when I become team leader.”

Thanks to this experience, I make sure to check and understand how many tasks each person currently has and what their availability is for the week.
Since it is important to visualize and have a grasp of the whole picture, I use Jira for task management, as well as spreadsheets so I can list up tasks and look at them at a glance.

At the start of the day, I first open the spreadsheet to see all tasks, followed by reading all unread messages on Slack. Some may think, “You don’t have to do that much,” but if I’m not completely aware of what’s happening with the App Team, BFF Team, and QA Team, I can’t make the appropriate checks or adjustments during meetings with web engineers, so I try to be as thorough as I can be. I make a list of items to be checked and shared in advance, and after confirming and sharing them at each meeting, I adapt assignments and the task load of each member according to the situation.

The Importance of Understanding Others’ Feelings

Studying abroad in Australia when I was a student taught me the importance of understanding other people’s values and walking in their shoes.
When I initially arrived in Australia, I saw the country from the perspective of an Asian, and I felt many differences in values and perspectives. I thought, “I can’t go on like this,” and I tried to really think from the other person’s point of view. I started to seriously reconsider my way of thinking.

So now, I believe it is crucial to have diverse vantage points myself and to respect the opinions of people holding different values. I think this idea influences the way I manage the diverse members from various backgrounds here at PayPay.
In addition, when driving a project forward, it is important to have the same objective, be on the same page, maintain a like mindset, and be able to sprint towards the goal together. I constantly tell my team members how influential PayPay is in Japanese society to motivate them, so that they can share the same goals, perspective, and mindset.

When we asked around, many people expressed the trust they have in Yuichi-san.

Voices of members

“ He is always willing to come up with suggestions when he finds organizational or technical issues. ”

“ He prepared materials for each member during the evaluation feedback, and was very polite and good at giving feedback. ”

“ He is serious, responsible, and never gives up on anything. ”

“ His onboarding video (see below) is very nice and really shows his personality. ”

PayPay Is My Passion

For me, PayPay is what keeps me getting up in the morning. Division heads, senior managers, PMs, and designers I work with are all really nice people. But more than that, I think it is rare to find a company where others listen so attentively to the opinions of a mere development engineer.

For example, suppose that the specifications for a certain new feature have a high load on the backend. Even if a web engineer points this out, the room doesn’t freeze, and the discussion on improvements to lessen the backend load immediately begins. Following the discussion, the designers come up with revised plans on the day of, and everyone works with a positive attitude towards resolving the issues. This is a normal day at PayPay, but unlikely to be the case with other companies. It is truly wonderful that discussions and improvements can proceed so quickly and flexibly.

For the Happiness of Members

Regardless of position, many people are attentive to those around them and value communication–which makes me feel at ease when I work–so cooperation is also very smooth. When I was having a hard time with RCA incident reports, my supervisor, Sakui-san, noticed right away and said, “You are the web leader at PayPay, so you’re allowed to work with confidence.”

I’m really happy that I can contribute to society by working with great folks and being involved in the development of a highly public service used by many people. I sincerely hope that our members will be happy working at PayPay, just as I am happy working here. I will continue to work hard so that I will never fail our users’ expectations as well as the expectations of the members I work with.

Bringing the iOS “Revolution” to the Web

As for future goals, I am a Steve Jobs fan (laughs), so I would like to create a revolutionary and inspiring UX on the web like I felt when I first encountered iOS. Specifically, once things settle down a bit more, I want to improve our UI/UX and create performance budgeting guidelines.

Web Engineers that Are the Best Fit for PayPay

PayPay has gone beyond a code payment service, and now has become something of an infrastructure that supports Japanese society. Under these circumstances and with brilliant colleagues from all over the world, you will be creating services that over 50 million users will be using. So I think it is an environment where you can be proud working in and have high job satisfaction.

You don’t have to develop only according to the given specifications and design, but also freely share your opinion with PMs, designers, and backend engineers while developing. Even if you’re a frontend engineer, you don’t just create a screen or release services with great UI/UX to users. You can also acquire the perspectives and techniques to provide secure and reliable services from a security point of view.

Our corporate culture is one where proactive people can thrive: people who can make decisions together with others rather than waiting for designs and specifications to be handed to them, people who are flexible and can adapt to circumstances as is necessary, and people who are highly motivated and willing to take on new challenges. If you want to be in a place where you can feel the impact of your work on society, PayPay would be the best match for you.

Screenshot of the onboarding video that people in the company love. Some people told us that you can sense Yuichi-san’s warmth and smarts in the clip

Current job openings

*The recruitment status is current at the time of the interview.

Special Thanks: Yuichi Futami / Author & Editor:Essie / Photographer: Hinako & Mina / Translator: Justin
*All employee affiliations are as of the time of this interview.