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Who am I

Tommy Back

Products and Software Engineering

I am an open minded and curious individual with very strong organizational and planning skills. I enjoy working in a collaborative environment with smart people where learning and achieving great results as a team is a central element. I believes in servant-leadership with freedom and responsibility to self-organize around goals.

My main skill is seeing the big picture of a system or a process and finding out how to continuously improve this along business goals or a product roadmap. This is a generic space and I have realized there is a great benefit to have strong technology and software engineering skill set to be successful here. Not every problem has a technological solution, but many do have. An important part of this is to understand what the right problems are to be solved, so the right considerations and trade-offs can be made to deliver something truly valuable.

I enjoy understanding processes, systems and flows of information; finding out how to make things function naturally and elegantly in a way that makes it a pleasure to use the product or service; continuously questioning things until they make sense or there are no better ideas. Until the next improvement idea comes by. How to deliver the best experience for the user and how to avoid doing things that are not absolutely necessary? What does the user expect and what is intuitive? In a dream world, what would it look like? I enjoy thinking outside the normal boundaries and finding solutions everyone recognizes when they see it.

I have a special interest in how people work and tools they use, because it is very closely related to building them. What do you want to use? What do you expect? What do you want to automate and what do you consider as the secret sauce you do that brings value? How to best collaborate and leverage the true power of a group of people? I have come to conclude that a simple core, that is in Agile methodologies as well, with feedback loops to continuously inspect & adapt how you work, what tools you use and why you do something. This means you start with only this and then figure out in a team what makes sense to use, how to approach something and when you decide otherwise. All in a systematic and rational way.

I believe in life-long learning, equal opportunity, freedom, collaboration and friendships.

What I do

Building products with a focus on simplicity an usability.

  • Understand the context

    To be successful, the starting-point is to understand the context with it's limitations and advantages. Ceratin things fit more naturally and others not. Some things are not possible and some impossible things are possible. What are the boundaries?

  • Understand the problem or need

    Understanding the problem or need is the key to doing the right thing and cutting cost and time. Why is this a problem? Maybe there is a more fundamental problem? Drilling down and decomposing things to see what is the pain point. One must always make trade offs and understanding what to not trade off and what not makes a big difference.

  • Brainstorm potential solutions

    Solutions must be tested brutally when you come up with them to avoid expensive and time-wasting mistakes. Clearly distinguish solutions that solve the problem and need from partial ones. A partial solution is not a solution unless you can trade off the part it doesn't solve. Try to find many solutions and quickly iterate and test them keeping track of the best ones.

  • Pick a solution

    Make a rational decision which way you want to go and which solution you want to pick. If it's not clear, pick a few and find out more about them with cheap prototyping.

  • Iterate and build the product

    Iterative development cycles to quickly learn through feedback how to best build the next step. This is a great way to work with end-users and even have continuous delivery to deploy step by step what is built. The key is to use the best knowledge to decide what to do next.

  • Ship and deploy

    The point of "ship early" is to get feedback and know if you are on the riht track. It ends an iteration and gives feedback. This is very important. Continuous Integration/Delivery/Deployment are extremely useful.

  • Learn

    You can learn every day and everything is a cycle where you can pick up something that went well or something that can be replaced or improved for the future. This is closing the circle.

Hire me