Gon Aung is a software developer at maxgeo. He has a thorough understanding of maxgeo’s products, having spent his fair share of time at the service desk. Thanks to a ten-year stint at a Belmont pizzeria, he also has a thorough understanding of pizza. As Gon sees it, the process of making something exceptional is the same, whether working with code or stuffed crusts.
Here is Gon Aung’s time-tested recipe:
Know the menu
In software development (and in the kitchen), it’s vital to know what the end product is going to look like before you start work. At maxgeo, that’s the job of our Product Managers, who represent the needs of the customer. These needs are laid out in a Business Review Document, or BRD, which specifies exactly what the output should be.
For large projects, the Product Manager may also produce a Proof of Concept, giving a step-by-step outline of the new functionality before progressing to a discussion with the Development Manager. When the Product Manager and Development Manager agree on parameters and timelines, the Managing Director signs off on the project. Only then can the development team start work.
“If the BRD is not clear, we (the development team) can’t take any further steps”, says Gon.
At the pizza shop, the process was the same: the order must be checked and confirmed before reaching for the toppings.
“Sometimes the customer asks for a change at the last minute,” says Gon. “If it’s a small change, like adding capsicum, then we can shove it on top and cook it a bit longer. But if they ask for a big change, like a gluten-free base, then we will have to start again – the pizza will take longer, and someone has to pay for the wastage. It’s exactly the same with development.”
Know your appetite
Just as a hungry customer expects to know when their pizza will arrive, maxgeo clients have come to rely on the accurate estimates provided by our Project Managers.
Realistic timeframes must be set for all maxgeo software projects and communicated consistently to the client, reinforcing our reputation for reliable service.
Quality testing is necessary in every business. At the pizzeria, Gon’s manager would check each pizza against the docket before it went into the oven. While this did take a bit more time, it was worth it to keep customers happy and reduce wastage.
Maxgeo’s testing program is a little more complex, consisting of a dedicated product tester and a newly embedded ‘unit testing’ sequence which checks code as the developer works. Unit testing is designed to check not just that the code does what it’s supposed to, but that the rest of the product is not disrupted. Accurate, accessible documentation is maintained throughout the process, ensuring that every developer working on a project knows what each piece of code does, how it impacts the rest of the program and when it has been modified. The end result is greater functionality and less time wasted.
Know your way around the kitchen
When Gon started at the pizza shop, he was first assigned to simple tasks such as cleaning and counter service. With time and training, he progressed to the more complex cooking and delivery tasks, bringing a well-rounded approach to each one.
Having experienced this, Gon was happy to spend a year behind the maxgeo service desk, handling client requests across all products and services. His broad understanding of the business is now highly valued by the rest of the development team.
“At maxgeo, there is a training pathway so that developers learn all aspects of the business. Gaining a thorough understanding of the products before starting development makes for better outcomes”, he says.
Keeping technical skills up to date is just as important – software development is a rapidly evolving industry, and a developer’s skillset must evolve with it. When Gon learned that the Knime platform was being used to integrate data science into maxgeo programming, he took the time to acquaint himself with the interface before commencing work. With some coaching help from Willem, a fellow developer, he swiftly became proficient.
The lessons Gon learned at the pizzeria have implications well beyond the kitchen. Clear requirements, realistic expectations, quality testing, rigorous documentation and continuous improvement – these concepts make for delicious pizza and market-leading data management software and solutions.