Meet the TMI Team 

No. 3: Paul Hill, Development Manager

In the latest in our series of staff interviews we meet Paul Hill, our Development Manager.

Hi Paul. Happy new year to you! We’ll kick off with one of the questions we ask everyone. How long have you been working for TMI?

It’s seven years now.

What do you do, as our Development Manager?

I help make sure Verto works as well as it can for our customers. Mostly I develop the things that tie Verto together into one coherent project management tool. So rather than developing new features, I spend more time making sure the existing features work with each other. For example, how the reporting function links with databases so reports are always up to date. We call this the system architecture.

I also do some future development work. For example, I worked on our real-time chat feature so messages pop up for people immediately. But my main focus is on how the architecture glues everything together. However, we’re a close team, and everyone works well together and supports each other.

What skills do you need to do your job well?

I need to be able to see the big picture of what the software as a whole is capable of doing, and how all the individual components work together. This involves being able to break a big problem down into individual steps that are easier to solve.

I also need to have a good sense of what our customers want to achieve and work with them to make this happen. So I need to cut through our development process and focus on the goals our customers are after. For example, when people are entering data I need to think about how this data will be used and make sure the system can access it without people having to enter it more than once.

And to fix particularly difficult bugs, I need to have a very strong command of Google!

What’s your favourite Verto feature and why?

It’s the project network, which is in two parts.

The first part represents all the different relationships between any feature or function of Verto.  The second part is what we call Vertosense. Our customers access this by pressing the hashtag button.

When they press the hashtag while typing into a text box, links to different features and functions appear. By saving these links our customers can create a unique project network. It’s a really useful tool and is easy to do as Verto creates it automatically.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on how our customers can share their data and participate in each others’ projects.

Although different organizations that work together may all be using Verto, they’ll be working on their own site that will have its own unique URL. This new functionality will allow them to ‘talk’ to each other – that is see data from other sites.

It’ll be really useful, for example, when partner organizations need to write a shared report as Verto will automatically be able to extract the relevant data and create the report. It will also integrate real-time chat so partners can use the instant messaging function outside of their immediate organization.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My typical day involves a mix of development work and support work. All our developers are available pretty much whenever they’re needed to help our customers if they have any questions.

Before I worked for TMI I worked for a much larger organization and it was very different. People weren’t able or as willing to help each other out and work together. It could take a week for a developer to get back to the support team. I’m so glad it’s not like that here and that we all work together so well.

What would people never guess you do in your role?

This is hard to answer as my job is so technical a lot of people don’t know what I do anyway. However, I think it has to be how much time I spend figuring out the answer to problems away from my desk. The answer to something can pop up at the most unexpected time when I wasn’t even aware I was thinking about work!

Who has influenced you, and how?

That has to be my dad. He’s always been a big problem solver and what’s now called an early adopter. He always had new gadgets he was getting to grips with when we were growing up and would show us what they were and what they could do. It was this – and his enthusiasm – that sparked my interest in technology.

What book, film or TV programme do you recommend the most, and why?

Anything by David Attenborough. He’s so good at communicating and making things interesting. He really cares about what he does and this comes through so clearly.

Thank you Paul, that was really interesting. It’s great to get a look at what the development team does and see how, although you’re behind the scenes, you’re completely in touch with and focussed on what our customers need. 

To find out more about how Verto can help you manage your projects and more easily work with others please call us on 0118 334 6200 or message us here.