Defining the tasks involved in the day-to-day life of any employee here at Meet Hugo is hard to summarise and condense down into one short list – we have a constant stream of varied tasks that need fulfilling in order for everything to work effectively and smoothly. Today, we’re chatting to our head of tech, Scott Roberts, who is very much responsible for the smooth-running of every product and system we use. He ensures that our platform remains user-friendly and is updated accordingly for the benefit of our clients and for us as a team. Scott works for Clarity Stack and creates products for Meet Hugo and our other brands (that are currently in development – keep an eye out for further information!). So, we asked Scott to reveal just what a typical day in the office may entail – without getting too technical or using confusing coding jargon.
Briefly describe your job…
“I manage everything technical within Clarity Stack, oversee the research and development of all products, current and future, and support the people that work on these products.
Most people will assume it means I manage technical aspects of a business, this could mean they think of IT (setting up computers, printers etc) where in reality it’s more managing the software development lifecycle from idea to production.”
What are some of your daily responsibilities?
Scott Roberts, Head of Tech at Clarity Stack https://claritystack.com/
“As we are a startup, you have to wear many hats being a head of technology of a small fast growing team, so the role is very varied and includes some of the following tasks:
1. Communicating with the team about upcoming releases
2. Management meetings on strategy and product
3. Recruiting / on-boarding new staff members
4. Project management and planning
5. Code reviews
6. Software development
7. Quality assurance
8. Researching new technologies
9. One to ones
10. Making sure the team has the support they need to do their best work.”
A typical Monday…
6am-8am: “My kids get me up early, so I usually check emails and any notifications making sure that the systems are up and running overnight. Then I get everyone ready and take the children to school / nursery.
8:40: I arrive at work and make myself a much needed coffee. I will then use the next hour ish to catch up with the team, anything I might need to address for the week etc.
9:30: We will do a tech team management meeting with Luke our Operations Manager and possibly Ben our founder, working out if our current direction is correct or if we need to change product direction.
10:30 – 12:30: I will start going through the current tasks, updating any I feel need updating and planning what else needs to be done, making sure that we have a good plan for the upcoming weeks.
12:30 – 13:30: I will break for lunch – this will normally involve a packed lunch and a 30 min walk, maybe even some light reading.
13:30 – 14:30: Code reviews: I will tackle any code reviews or developer questions, making sure we are set up for a good week.
14:30 – 16:50: This is open for either project specification work for future features or I might pick up a task and get this work done.
16:50: I will leave to go and pick up my kids and head home. Some evenings I might tackle some more tasks to help the team out in meeting the release deadlines.”
What inspired you to pursue this role?
“I have always been interested in computing, business and leadership. I spent my early career developing iOS applications when the iPhone app store launched, then over the years I created a few companies in which I started to build teams and improve my technical and leadership skills. Now I am at the stage of my career in which I can come on board, take responsibility for products, develop and improve them and build teams that can support that work.”
What do you enjoy most about being the head of tech?
“I enjoy the variety of the work that goes into being a head of tech. I get to investigate and build on interesting technology, manage and develop high performing teams and see their skill sets flourish.”
Are there any particularly stressful elements of your role?
“Having the responsibility and weight of an organisation can be stressful, as well as meeting product deadlines. The way to manage this is by planning up front, having good communication and processes.”
What software/tools are essential for a head of tech?
Slack: I use Slack (https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/) to communicate with the team and the company as a whole which is good to keep communication high and everyone informed. We build custom integrations into our applications to notify us on Slack when certain things happen which really helps wider team communication and allows us to take action faster.
Project Management Tools: Any project management software such as Trello (https://trello.com/en) or Jira (https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira). We use Notion (https://www.notion.so/) as an all-in-one place for tech team communication. This allows us to have specific documents about technical aspects of the codebase and have a place to keep the roadmap and future product plans. We also manage all our tasks and to-do lists here. This is my first time using a tool like this and it’s working well for us so far.
Loom: As some of the tech team is remote I swear by Loom (https://www.loom.com/) to allow me to make quick videos explaining anything which helps with asynchronous communication. I embed a lot of quick videos in Notion and Slack to communicate better with the team.
Some useful books:
Lean Startup (http://theleanstartup.com/)
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scrum-Doing-Twice-Work-Half/dp/038534645X)