Panasonic Youth


Rob Sanheim is a software engineer with over 20 years of experience building successful products and systems. He has led teams in building key components at scale for companies as diverse as GitHub, Bold Penguin,, and Cognitect. He loves working with small teams of passionate people to build high-quality, sustainable software that puts the human experience front and center.

Work Experience

Monograph · Staff Software Engineer · 2022 - 2023

Staff engineer for a practice management app for Architecture & Engineering firms.

  • Overhauled build pipeline, reducing CI time from 25+ mins to 4-5 mins via parallel testing and moving to a more capable platform.
  • Dramatically improved developer experience, improving ease of local development, bootstrap, and database management. Reduced time to setup the app locally from multiple days to a 1-3 hours via automation and scripting.
  • Built new Cell domain layer and schema for timesheet entries, a core component of the app. Reduced P90 response time for several key reports, as well as simplifying reporting complexity. Paired and led eng-wide sessions to ease transition to new approach.
  • Many platform wide improvements for stability, observability, and overall delivery
    • Integrated Datadog for APM, alerts, and centralized logging. Mentored other engineers on how to best use Datadog in day to day work.
    • Upgraded core monolith to Rails 7 and Ruby 3.2 w/ YJIT using dual boot approach
    • Many Heroku improvements for faster, stable deployments, using 12 factor app principles to simplify configuration
    • Automated and documented PostgreSQL upgrade process, moving from v10 to 14 · Principal Software Engineer · 2020 - 2022

note: is open source, so links below go to the underlying pull requests

Lead engineer on a large scale, open-source hypertension management system serving over 1.2 million patients in India, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia.

  • Re-architected reporting system to simplify and consolidate API, improve performance, and simplify maintenance and changes. [1] [2].
  • Built and transitioned to Regions domain model (architecture doc)) to allow API sync and reports at arbitrary region boundaries; facilitated simplified data access.
  • Greatly improved traceability and observability by integrating DataDog, centralized JSON logging and StatsD integration.
  • Established continuous delivery and grew a culture around high quality, continual shipping of the main simple-server web app. Installed flipper feature flags and increased tracing facilitate smaller, safer pull requests for the new continuous deployment process.
  • Rebuilt seed generation strategy for safety, developer ease of use, and performance: able to generate a production-sized dataset in well under an hour - previous seed task took 5-10x times as long.

Bold Penguin · Staff Software Engineer · 2019 - 2020

Led several engineering wide initiatives:

  • Webhooks system to send insurance application updates in real-time to partners
  • Overhauled main Rails test suite from hand-built mocks to simplified fixtures; dramatically improving developer experience and ease of testing
  • End-to-end automated test suite to increase confidence across the four core microservices

First Leads - VP of Technology - 2018 - 2019

Leader of the product engineering organization. Began retrospectives throughout product and engineering to improve team collaboration. Moved the team to continuous delivery via chat ops, GitHub API, and chat ops for front and back end applications - increasing deployments to ~20x a day with greater reliability and transparency. Lead application engineer for multiple product initiatives, including:

  • User on-boarding overhaul, rebuilt signup as automated Chargebee workflow
  • Dynamic content campaigns to serve the front page of mobile app
  • In-place, dual boot system for Rails app to allow incremental upgrade to Rails 5/6
  • Mentored other developers via pair programming, presentations, and code review

NationBuilder · Lead Software Engineer · 2017 - 2018

Team lead on SSL automation project - helping to setup and monitor SSL certification for over 10,000 customer subdomains. Lead on payments overhaul, which rewrote and consolidated billing code onto Stripe Connect platform.

GitHub · Senior Software Engineer · 2012 - 2017

High performing, well respected senior engineer and team lead at GitHub for almost 5 years. Improved team processes by by initiating and leading retrospectives, increased pair-programming, or general changes to day to day process to tighten feedback loops.

Instrumental in shipping the following features:

Pull Request Reviews

Leader on a team dedicated to overhauling code review at GitHub. He worked closely with colleagues to architect and build the new code review system now in use at GitHub. This included back end modeling and engineering, overhauling the front end to support a new conversation threading system, and tying the entire system into the Protected Branches feature on GitHub.

Protected Branches

Core member of the team that shipped the first version of this highly requested feature. Worked on the backend, frontend, and in crafting and focusing the product vision to make sure we shipped something great.

Rails 3.2 Upgrade

Led effort in developing project plan, getting buy-in from colleagues on this huge undertaking; shepherded the system through a long, careful production rollout.

Other key contributions

Primary server developer for features such as team mentions, commit status API, email verification, and live updates. Rob also helped improve team processes continually at GitHub, by initiating and leading retrospectives, increased pair-programming, or general changes to day to day process to tighten feedback loops.

Relevance, Inc / Cognitect · Principal · 2007 - 2012

Rob was employee number five at Relevance, and was a key leader in helping Relevance become a leading Ruby on Rails consultancy.

  • Converted Relevance to Git & Github in 2008, migrating away from SVN
  • Lead conversion to pull request workflow for collaboration and code review
  • Led many projects in many different roles, including project manager, architect, lead developer, and client liaison
  • Brings a “calming, experienced” leadership role to projects assigned
  • Wide range of successful client projects, including Plotwatt, CXO, and Contegix Cloud.

Seeking Alpha · Software Engineer · 2006 - 2007

Senior Ruby developer for a successful financial blog platform. Responsible for overhauling PHP platform into new Rails platform. Ensure scalability for features and ensuring scalability for upwards of 70,000 visitors a day. Built user generated content feature to build community and enhance content model. Setup continuous integration and devops automation.

Sanheim Software · Founder · 2005 - current

Consulting and custom application development for several startups.

Earlier Experience

  • Smart Solutions - Consultant - 2005 - 2006
  • Brown Shoe - Programmer Analyst - 2001 - 2005
  • Wm. K. Walthers - Production Specialist 1996 - 1999


Angular, Ansible, AWS, Bash, Capistrano, CSS (SCSS / SASS), Elasticsearch, Git, Go, GraphQL, Java, Javascript, Memcached, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Puppet, React, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Redis, Resque, Rspec, Sidekiq, Sinatra, Unicorn, and many others

Community & presentations

Rob has presented at many conferences and user groups, including RubyConf, Ruby Kaigi, and RailsConf. He has contributed to many open source projects over the years, including Rails, Rspec, and Rcov. Editor of from 2005 to 2006, and co-founder of the Madison Ruby user group.


UW Whitewater - B.S., Management Computer Systems 2001


email: · web: · GitHub: @rsanheim