Thanks for making time for us in your day! Can we start by asking you to explain us your journey within Fleetback?
Sure. I actually started as an intern at ARHS Spikeseed when I was studying for my Bachelor in Libramont in Belgium. It was kind of hard getting in, because the rule at my school was that only one of their students could do their internship in any given company, and at first they considered the whole ARHS Group as one company, even though that other student was in another entity, ARHS Developments. But I pleaded my case and asked them to reconsider, which in hindsight I am happy I did, because I haven’t left Fleetback ever since. That was four years ago, and now I work as an Analyst Programmer here, both on Front-End and Back-End.
Did a lot of things change?
Sure. Some projects or features were abandoned, others came on top, others evolved into something else entirely… And we’re now over 30 people, so you can say the team grew! Dimitri was my tutor during my internship back then, and I still work for him now, so some things also stayed!
A lot of people here do more than one thing. Can you tell us a bit more about your job?
Sure. I also do more than just development work. My main job is programming, but I also do a lot of support for our customers, which I absolutely love, and I’m charge of managing translations in all our environments.
Customer support is often deemed uninteresting. How come do you love it so much?
I think it just has a bad rap, but I personally love it. I get to interact with outside people, I get to actually solve their problems, and also it’s a nice change of scenery. I like it when I don’t do the same thing day in and day out.
And what about translations?
I like the organization aspect of it, but it’s rather a random part of my job actually! I just happen to be the person who does it.
Is that a thing here at Fleetback, that some people do something “just because”?
In part, yes – we work the same way with development tickets, like: there’s a list, and you take the first thing that comes up, there isn’t much cherry-picking. It just depends on everybody’s skills.
Can you tell us more about the way you guys work?
Sure. We use an Agile methodology, with Sprints of two weeks during which we work on new features based on a tickets system. So we first estimate the time this or that ticket will take to solve, and then we include as many tickets as necessary to work for two weeks. We have a daily meeting during which we discuss where we’re at, what’s in the way, etc., and we have a bi-weekly Demo during which we present any new features to people who aren’t involved in the development, like Sales, Marketing, etc.
We love that meeting. Without it we’d be lost!
I like it too! And then there’s the Retrospective which we hold every quarter. We use this time to reflect on what went well or wrong, and to find solutions to the problem that came up.
You have a way of explaining that’s great! A true pedagogue.
Well, if I hadn’t become a programmer, I would have been a teacher!
Ha! I’m sure would have been a good one. Can you tell us more about the way things are here? Like, what makes you stressed for example?
I don’t get too easily stressed out, but I am a rather pragmatic person anyway. I get stressed when a ticket’s time estimate is messed up! Because it impacts a ton of other steps of the development process. Otherwise… sometimes you’ll find a bug that you don’t know how to fix immediately, for example if it depends on an external library. But those examples are not Fleetback-specific, they’re Development-specific. And overall, we’re a fun bunch anyway.
Oh yes. Someone once told me that “if you don’t like what you do anymore, it means it’s time to change”, and I think it’s a good summary of us. We all do what we like, and we like each other. Sometimes we rush things, but overall I would say we’re patient, and we’re passionate about what we do. I love that about us.
Do you have any tips for someone starting out in this job, or maybe studying to become a developer?
I would say resourcefulness is important, as is being able to have a global vision of things. Like, in my case: I didn’t do a Master’s, and in the end I’m glad I didn’t. I was able to ask myself the right questions!
Thanks for these wise words!