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My first nine months as Project Manager DevOps at Pingdom

All of us working at Pingdom are geeks at heart and passionate about making the web faster and more reliable. Even though we work in different positions with different sorts of tasks, we all work together as a team to accomplish our goals.

With this article, we want to give you insight into who we are, not just as a company but as a team and as individuals.  Hopefully this will be a recurring feature on our blog and we kick off with featuring Morgan Sundqvist, Project Manager DevOps, and his first nine months at Pingdom.

morgan pingdom
Morgan Sundqvist, Project Manager DevOps, Pingdom

Q: You’re now working as Project Manager DevOps at Pingdom. Tell us a little bit about your background first.

A: The years leading up to my employment at Pingdom, I spent implementing ERP solutions mostly for companies in the car and heavy machinery industries. My role then was primarily as lead developer and development team lead.

Q: As Project Manager DevOps, what do you do?

A: In short, I’m responsible that projects are planned, executed, and maintained. Both for software development and for our operations. On the one hand, this means working with software and infrastructure development, but, on the other hand, it also means working with the personal development of the people in my team.

That means that a major part of my working day is spent to make sure that everyone performs in a way that is best for the company. But just as important is that everybody should come to work happy and leave work happy.

Q: DevOps is a topic talked about a lot. What does it mean to you and to Pingdom?

A: We try to be as agile as we can in our development process. By including operations in the product development process at an early stage, we can better identify requirements. In turn, that means that we get a much deeper understanding of the products and services we create.

This also means that we get input on infrastructure requirements early, which we might not have gotten at all if we were two teams, as in the traditional way. Also, very important is that everybody will be in sync when it comes to releasing software.

Q: When you walked into the Pingdom office that first day about nine months ago, what were your first impressions?

Very quickly I felt that this was a company very focused on creating a frictionless working environment. Only the challenges you are trying to solve should stand in your way and not practical stuff. A developer, for example, should be able to focus on what they are good at. Whatever may distract them from that should be reduced or eliminated, and that’s where I come in.

That’s also where I think the DevOps approach comes into play, where we work tightly as an integrated team. Communication and coordination are smoother then, and everyone can focus on their individual tasks. That means they don’t have to worry much about what are, for them, external things.

morgan pingdom

Q: Your background is in the consultancy industry. What’s been the biggest difference coming to work at Pingdom?

A: As a consultant you often just develop something and then you don’t get to work with it, you often don’t get to see what you create being used by customers and see it through its life cycle, so to speak.

At Pingdom I am a part of the entire cycle, from when an idea is presented, all the way through design and development, to the product being used by our customers. We come up with new ideas all the time, and we develop in a smart way, where everyone is involved at different stages. Of course, not everything is a customer-facing product, but those are the ones that I enjoy the most.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge?

A: As I mentioned earlier, an important personal commitment for me, as well as for Pingdom, is to create a working environment where we have fun, where we can grow and produce quality software for our customers.

This is a challenge, which you have to attack from many perspectives. You have to solve the problem both from a personal perspective for the individual, but you also have to tackle it from the perspective of the team.

I say, let individuals grow and make sure they grow in a way that can benefit the team and company.

A big part of that is to find and concretize the right tools for everyone to work with. And by tools I, of course, mean hardware and software but also organizational structures and processes.

Q: What’s been most rewarding aspect of the past nine months at Pingdom?

A: One part has certainly been to learn about the industry we are in. For example, I was part of the team that attended Velocity 2013 in Santa Clara. That was a great opportunity for me to meet many of our customers, but also to get insight into what challenges and opportunities lie before us in the performance community.

Then there is also getting the opportunity to work on the bleeding edge of technology. Many of the challenges that we face have to do with analyzing, processing, and storing large amounts of data, and doing this in the most efficient way is really interesting and rewarding work. But this is also where many of the opportunities for the future can be found, I believe.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that helping our +350,000 customers keep an eye on their online services is a very particular and rewarding aspect of working at Pingdom.

Q: If a reader would be interested in joining the Pingdom DevOps team, what advice would you have for them?

A: We look for individuals that are able and willing to evolve with technology, and we want people who love working with either software development or infrastructure development.

We don’t focus on university degrees or if you have worked in the industry for a certain number of years. Instead, if you have a love and passion for building software or working in operations, get in touch. Then figure out how to show us that passion and hunger, not through a CV but through your actions.

To us it doesn’t matter if you have just graduated or if you are an established rockstar programmer, it’s your drive and passion that matters.

Q: Finally, is there anything you can reveal about what you’ll be working in the coming months?

A: We’ve already launched some exciting new services this year, like the Transaction Monitor and Real User Monitoring so we will keep building on those. Our customers have given us so much great feedback, which we greatly appreciate.

In nine months, we will be better as a team and have a better product than today. That is our main goal. But we will also work on scaling out our solution as well as entering a whole new segment of monitoring.

Then we also have other new stuff coming, of course, but I can’t really say anything about that other than stay tuned.

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