Our colleagues are the heart and soul of RatePAY. Therefore we like to introduce you to some of them in a short Q&A. Marco is head of software engineering and works for the company for more than five years.
Q: Please describe your way from working as a software developer to being head of software engineering.
A: I started working at RatePAY for a specific project for a couple of months. Before I started here, I always thought, that the financial sector is dry and boring. But here, I was taught better. Our product is very complex, which makes it interesting and challenging to work at it. During the time, I noticed: There is a lot more work to do than developing code itself. And all of the things around coding are much more fun to me. So I got in touch with Luise, who at that point was our CTO to be, and basically just threw my hat into the ring.
Q: Being in the new position, how did you feel?
A: To shape our IT department I needed authority, that you simply do not have as a developer at that time. I grew into this position, since we started it as a soft launch, which gave me the necessary time to settle in. But it was, and still is a huge challenge to work with the different profession since we have not only developers, but also product owners, quality engineers, agile coaches and user experience designers in our IT-team. Since we are constantly growing, I keep a focus on staying in touch with the individual team member. I do see myself as a connector between the “normal” world and the IT-world.
Q: You lead together with Aarne as a twin tip. How did it develop and how does it work?
A: Before, we had two different areas of responsibilities. But as it turned out, it was a good idea to threw it all together and mix it up a little. It meant two different worlds collided, not only in the working area, since we are two unique characters with a different approach on things. It works pretty good at the moment, but we plan to dissolve the structure in the future. In general, we want to give more responsibilities to the teams.
Q: How would you describe your way of leading? What does leading mean to you?
A: To me, leading is a mixture of different tools and methods. People always say you have to stand behind your team, but how do you lead from behind? In general, I want to empower the teams and individuals, pave them the way, but also show them their roles and responsibilities. My ideal would be: teams that are working independent and continuously improve on our products and customer experience. We’re trying to improve on that every day, but I think you need to have a vision and constantly try to come closer to it. All of us are learning and growing every day; Nothing is more rewarding and fun than seeing other people grow and bring out the best in themselves. Leading means to create and foster an environment where this happens.
Q: In your freetime, what do you enjoy? How does this help you at work?
A: I do have a lot of different hobbies, but since I also have a family there is not always a lot of time left. But if there is, I like to go biking or snowboarding, make people dance as a DJ and doing role plays. All of this is good to balance out work, but it also helps me at work. You can engage with people and learn about different perspectives and approaches on things. It also helps with employees and applicants. First, you have something to talk about and second, you can learn about your opposite. Doing role plays especially helps me to put myself in the shoes of other people.
Q: Which advice would you give to somebody who plans to get into a leading role?
A: First and most important: Get to know yourself. You have to understand who you are and what is important to you. Also, your goals should always be authentic and you have to communicate very clearly. If mistakes happen or people are upset, it is always the better way to talk about the issue unambiguously. It is equally important to be able to leave your personal problems out of the work context. Everyone, even someone in a leading position, can have a bad day. But it is not helpful, neither for you nor your employees, to take your issues out on someone else. Generally, you have to be brave and speak up for yourself and the things that you are passionate about. Whenever there is chance for you: Take it!
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