In our weekly series where we get to find out about the people who work in Redgate’s Product Development teams we spoke to Ben.
Ben works as a Development Manager looking after the 3 teams that make up the Database DevOps programme. We spoke about what led Ben to applying for Redgate, the most expensive alarm clock in the world and how liking a good debate led to 16 years working in IT.
Your name and role
Ben Mancini, Development Manager
How long have you done this, what did you do before?
Two and a half years here at Redgate, prior to this I’ve done pretty much every role in IT except being a developer! I started in IT as a software tester, became a test manager, programme test manager, hopped across to release and change management, did some project and then programme management, eventually discovered agile and retrained as a Scrum Master then onto an Agile Coach, then became a Head of Infrastructure, Head of Quality Assurance and then later Head of Software Engineering before finding my way to Redgate. Alongside the different roles I’ve also been a people manager for a decade. Phew!
How did you become a Development Manager?
I was working for a start-up as head of their software engineering department when my recruiter hinted that I may want to apply for the role Redgate were advertising. Looking at the requirements it seemed like just the fit for me with the balance between agile expertise, people management and operational delivery experience. I applied and as they say, the rest is history.
What sort of things did you do to prepare you for the role?
If I’m honest, not a lot. I guess the preparation for the role had been a lot of my previous roles, things like Scrum Master and Agile Coach gave me the agile experience, including the focus on servant leadership and experimentation with teams. The many roles where I’d had people management gave me the people experience and being involved in project delivery for 15 years in some shape or form gave me a lot of the operational experience that Redgate were looking for. I guess the key message here is to look at the experience you already have. A lot of that will provide you with the preparation you need.
Did you always know you wanted to become a Development Manager?
Never. I studied Law at college and had every intention of heading to Uni and becoming a Barrister (I love a good debate/argument 😊 ) but I did the typical thing of taking a gap year to go and earn some money, the trouble with this is once you start earning a regular wage it makes going back to studying a fair bit harder. So I stayed at my first employer for almost twelve years instead of the planned one!
What’s the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning?
Children mainly, I have five so its guaranteed that either our youngest (Isla — three and a half) will be up, or our teenage daughter (Emily — 14 going on 18) will be loudly getting ready for school, but definitely not our eldest son (Luke — 17) who tends to stay in bed till half the day has gone! Apart from that I’m generally an early riser anyway as I head to work about 6.30 each morning.
What’s the thing that makes you want to put the alarm on snooze?
Traffic, the A14 currently challenging the M25 for countries biggest car park.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking to do your role?
Forget doing things by the book. One of the best learnings I’ve taken from working with the many teams I have is that frameworks, techniques and practices go out the window when a team faces challenging circumstances or suffers a setback. The best way to approach these situations is to observe, listen, offer support and advice, but never jump straight into ‘follow this framework to solve all your ills’ it doesn’t work in most cases! Encourage experimentation and learning from failure, its where the best (And sometimes hardest) lessons tend to be.
Best advice to give to someone looking to join Redgate?
Do it! I’ve not regretted it for a second. Its not been easy by any stretch, but its challenging, rewarding, incredibly supportive, quite possibly the best company culture I’ve ever worked in where you’ll be working with people at the top of their game.
Where do you see Redgate in 5 years’ time?
Bigger, more people, same company culture. Cross platform for all of our products.
What’s the motto you live by?
Given the choice of being somebody or doing something, I’d pick doing something every time — it’s an answer to a question a US Air Force pilot John Boyd gave. John Boyd created the OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act) which is very similar to the Deeming model I’ve used in Systems Thinking (Plan, Do, Check, Act). To me its how I want to be remembered. Not someone who was out to be somebody, but somebody who was out to do something of value.
Describe what Ingeniously Simple means to you.
You know the smile you get when you try a new gadget, piece of tech, software or general product and it does something that both surprises and pleases you? That’s Ingeniously Simple.