matthias held interview raidboxes

9 Questions for our new 'Head of Development' Matthias Held

Our Senior Dev Matthias has been our new Head of Development (HoD) since April. But what does an HoD actually do? And what plans does Matthias have for Raidboxes product development and our technology team? He answered these and other questions for you.

How long have you been with Raidboxes and what was your previous function?

I have been here since July 2017 and was employed as a Senior Full-Stack Developer.

On the side, I managed the second-level support for quite a while and actively took care of the happy management, i.e. laser tag and more.

You are now Head of Development & Product Manager - what is behind these roles?

As Head of Development, I lead the technical development of our product and make fundamental technical decisions together with the management. I provide answers to the questions: Where is the journey going and how will we get there?

As a product manager, I bring clear structure and better project management to product development across departments. Here I provide answers to the questions: Where are we and when will we be there?

So you like to use metaphors?

I love comparisons and allegories. I always try to make structures clear to everyone in the simplest possible way. This also helps me enormously to bring the team to the same level of understanding. Communication deficits are often a very big stress and (mis)planning factor. If you can eliminate this by reducing issues to a common structure that everyone understands, it helps immensely.

matthias held raidboxes head of development

What is your argument for filling both positions?

I am an advocate that in a company releasing a purely technical product, someone with knowledge of the internal technical workings of the product should be responsible for feature planning as well as progress in development.

The fact that a single person holds the combination of these roles helps immensely in the development of the projects and also minimises the effort in project planning. There is no need for information transfer between technology, project managers and management to clarify processes. Instead, planning and implementation can be done directly from the technical department and then merely reported.

Reporting will also be automated in the future, as progress will be entered directly into a digital scoreboard so that every team member can see the progress of a project at any time. In this way, sprints/projects can be planned and executed much more efficiently.

Did your parents ask you what you actually do for a living now?

Ehm, so the only question I hear a lot is something like, "You, I'm having trouble with my laptop, can you help me?"

Do you always come to the office in a suit now?

Clothes don't mean anything until someone lives in them. I don't think clothes make people. If I don't have to constantly worry about how I look to have an impact on others, I can take time for important things. The support and trust that the whole team gives me shows me that no one is paying attention to all the holes in my trousers 😉

matthias held head of product raidboxes

Which project will you tackle first? Or are there new things you are introducing at Raidboxes?

"Introducing something new" would perhaps be too much to say. Rather, I optimize existing processes and set new directions. For example, I activate existing potential through better project management. In this way, I want to give the technology team, among others, the opportunity to develop individual skills even better and at the same time take the pressure out of development. And I do this without reducing the speed.

I also want to reduce idle time, where you have to wait for other team members before you can continue working on your own task, to an absolute minimum. Through agile yet precise project and event management tailored to our needs, we can thus improve release times. And this without losing any of the flexibility that the holacracy offers.

In addition, we can also move away from a "jerk start-up mentality" to a streamlined company in the near future. This not only saves nerves, but also avoids wasted working time and miscommunication. It also improves the "mental health" factor of the team, which is very important to me.

And externally, what new features can Raidboxes customers look forward to in the future?

I'm not the type to promise technical features at specific times, and I'm also rather cagey about our plans. What I can talk about, however, is the current state: In the first part of 2019, we have focused on addressing things from our feedback forum - i.e. the direct implementation of user requests.

In the course of this we have recently mailboxes as well as several optimizations of our dashboard (list view, domain management, BOX settings, etc.), which we have made based on user feedback. There are now two big and very much requested features that we are currently working on.

Then the development process will focus on power users first. I want to make it more homey for the console junkies and workflow nerds at Raidboxes\.

What do you do when you're not sitting in front of your (4!) screens in the office?

Sitting at home in front of my 4 screens 😉 I am quite active in various hackerspaces and the WordPress community as well as my private projects.

For me, screenless activities mainly involve sports and music. I train daily for extreme runs, go wakeboarding and kitesurfing as often as I can. That's where I can switch off best. And this also justifies my high food consumption.

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