The latest Purple Person to be featured in our staff Q & A series is none other than co-founder / owner of Purple Crane and Crystal Palace nut, Andy Rix. You’ll see from his answers he’s not only the ‘Saviour of Software Development’ but also a willing wordsmith. Over to you, sir!
Name: Andy Rix
Job title: Head of steam
Q. Hello, Andy. What does your role involve? What are the key things you do for clients day to day?
A. Keeping machinery well oiled. This entails working with the clients and developers to make sure we satisfy their needs as effectively and efficiently as we can. Aside from that I work with Chris to run the business and fill in with technical support. A bit like cement filling any cracks.
Q. What do you consider to be your work-related strengths (technical or otherwise)? Just the top two or three would be great.
A. Care, delegation, context-switching. By ‘care’ I mean working hard to be proud of what we do. Having a good team is essential to both endeavours. I include ‘delegation’ because it’s a hard-won skill. Context-switching? Chris termed this ‘juggling’ in his profile and that’s exactly what it is. Managing a small company with many clients requires the ability to jump between different styles thinking – from specifying a new project, to analysing a data problem, to making the tea.
Q. Are there any technologies or approaches that you particularly enjoy working with? Any techie groups you belong to or projects you’re involved with or meet-ups you attend regularly?
A. My involvement at a more technical level diminishes with the demands of running the business. However, I still enjoy UI design and data analysis and presentation. I think it’s because these involve thinking about the person using the software, which is key to developing usable products.
Q. Are there any work-specific challenges that you particularly enjoy? i.e what gives you a buzz?
A. Analysing the requirements of customers, particularly in new business domains, and then working as a team to create a successful outcome. For example, we’re currently involved in a project on train crew management which is a world of complexity that I would never have imagined.
Q. What was your last role prior to joining Purple Crane? What are the key skills, experience and insight did it give you that are relevant to your role today? (If there were additional roles that you feel are particularly significant in relation to your current work, please add them too.)
A. Managing the development team for a technology start-up. Getting a team of people to get things done in an entirely new field and enjoying it – this led directly to Chris and I setting up Purple Crane.
Q. How long have you been in the sector, what was your first role, and what initially attracted you to this line of work?
A. I’ve been in the ‘technology’ sector since I left school. I started as an engineering apprentice at the Post Office – later BT. However, my real interest in software development began when working as a technical writer for a software company in Paris in 2000. I was amazed at how far interface programming had come and what could be achieved in a short space of time.
Q. What relevant qualifications do you have?
A. BSc Honours Computer Science, MSc Advanced Methods in Computer Science, Open University Postgraduate certificate in User Interface Design & Development.
Q. Any interests or hobbies outside of work that you’d be happy to share?
A. I enjoy walking, real ale, and going to see Crystal Palace - preferably on the same day. And cycling. Not on the same day.
Q. And one last one… What you value about your colleagues? i.e what work-related skill does X have that you wish you possessed and why? If you can list two or three that would be fantastic.
A. I love the memory skills and ability to understand and absorb technology that exists within our team. I wouldn’t say “I wish I possessed” those skills, it’s just a joy to work with people that have them. Chris, however, has an enviable calm professionalism borne of experience in the industry.