Remote Working – Andy Hawker
In this week's edition of our remote working blog series, we talk to Andy Hawker, Senior Developer in our Products Team.

If you think that a software developer spends his time sitting in front of his monitor not talking to anyone and only moving to get the occasional cup of tea, prepare for a myth to be well and truly burst. Andy is one of the lead developers on a brand new product (I would love to tell you more about this one, but my lips are sealed for now!), and manages two junior developers and a tester. Other teams are also working on the same product on different development streams. So communication is critical to his daily work. In the office, you would have seen Andy more often than not attending meetings, speaking with his team or the teams involved in the other streams, or sitting with a tester to talk through a specific issue. Obviously, lockdown has put a very sudden end to being able to hold all these discussions face to face…

So, has the whole remote working scenario made Andy’s work much more difficult? No, he actually tells me that it’s pretty much carried on as it did before. Thanks to Teams, the group were able to set up daily catch up meetings, during which they all discuss what they did the previous day and what they are planning to do during the day ahead. These regular scheduled meetings help the communication flowing and anyone can raise questions or concerns.  If there are specific queries or difficulties to be addressed, Andy arranges informal chats with the people involved. Through Teams, Andy and his colleagues are also able to share desktops; Andy explains that they use this facility a lot to help resolve technical issues or to help if anyone gets stuck on a specific problem. This pretty much replaces sitting at another person’s desk.

Andy is also the main Development contact when support tickets need to be escalated by our Support Team for our trading software, the Altus Funds Gateway (AFG) and the Altus Investment Gateway (AIG). We have a tried and tested escalation process, which ensures that even if we are all working remotely, each colleague involved in the escalation gets the relevant information and notifications. When a customer raised a ticket this week, the Support team member who received the call escalated the issue to Andy when it became clear his involvement was needed. Andy was able to investigate the issue, and after obtaining the necessary authorisation to access the customer’s system, he was able to find a solution. The process ensured that everyone was aware of the status and any outstanding actions, and the ticket was managed efficiently for the customer.

But, despite the technology, Andy also tells me that some things are not the same as being in the office: having a meeting over Teams, it can be difficult to avoid speaking over each other. It’s definitely easier to spot that someone is about to start talking when you’re all in the same room.

And Andy’s hobbies involve being in real teams too. Andy is famously Altus’s proud airsoft warrior. He chose to wear his airsoft warrior outfit for our Christmas Party last December, and let me tell you, he looked like the proper World War II soldier. When the lockdown came into force, this came to an end too. And so he tells me that he uses this newly found free time to catch up with all the DIY and gardening projects that he has had in mind to do for a long time.

 

If you would like more information, or would like to talk to Andy about any of the points raised in this article, please get in touch with a member of our Press Office team

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