A day in the life of A GM Engineering
To celebrate Techweek 2019 (20-26 May), we’re putting the spotlight on aspects of tech life at The Warehouse Group. Here, the Group’s GM Engineering Tim Duly shares what a day in his role looks like.
What time do you wake up?
What’s the ideal way to start your day?
Ideal way would be going to the gym before the day begins. It clears my mind and focuses me for the day ahead.
Do you have any morning rituals?
I’ll typically check my emails first thing when I wake up. We have partners that we work with that are globally dispersed so there’s often a small window for communications and I like to keep that cycle of responses as short as possible. On top of that, there’s always the need for a decent flat white. A must for the mornings!
What’s your Tech consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards?
It varies depending on the demands of the day. If I’m in meetings then I’ll focus on the meeting and not reply to emails unless it’s important. There’s not much that annoys me more than people that ‘multi-task’ during a meeting and are tapping away on emails whilst someone is trying to present to them. I’m always connected though, be that through email, chat or phone, regardless of whether I’m in or out of the office.
What time do you get into the office?
What’s unique about your job?
There aren’t many companies in New Zealand that operate on the scale of TWG, so there’s always a different challenge to solve from day-to-day. And being part of a company that has a real impact on the lives of kiwis everyday means that you know that you’re making a difference.
What is your purpose at work? What is your why?
Problem solving is at the crux of it. From my early engineering days as a developer solving small scale problems, and then scaling that up to the large-scale problems of today where we are looking at how do we satisfy the needs of the business and our customers. Working with others to solve those problems is what drives the day-to-day.
What responsibility does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?
I spend a large portion of my time as an enabler for others. Ensuring that teams have the right people, the right skillsets, the right tools. Looking at solutions that we are building also to see how that will work across all our teams and business areas, that it’s aligned with where we are going is important too. IT is an every-changing industry and the needs of tomorrow are not the same as today.
Who do you see/talk to?
I talk to a wide-range of people from varying parts of the business, both internally and externally, and also a wide range of seniorities. IT has an impact on almost everything that we do so we’re involved in almost every part of the business. I’ll talk to our own IT teams about problems and issues that they’re trying to solve, to areas of the business areas considering new work, and also to external vendors that can help us achieve our goals.
What are the most important tech tools or programmes you use for your work?
Definitely communication tools. Communication is critical in our business and being able to communicate with people around various issues throughout the day, when they happen, is important. We have a variety of tools for that job, from email to chat tools. As useful as these tools are though, there’s no substitute for real face-to-face communication. Place the right people in a room with a pen and whiteboard and it’s amazing how much can be worked through.
How do you juggle all your responsibilities?
Some days are better than others! There are a lot of competing priorities, and everything needs to be done yesterday. That’s where it’s important to have a good team around you that you can rely on. It’s a team effort to get everything done that we need to. If I know that there is an important issue to address upfront then I’ll generally deal with it first thing in the morning before my day gets too busy.
Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity? If so, how?
Some days you do go home and feel like you’ve achieved nothing. However, the following day you’ll see the fruits of your efforts and realise what you did the previous day setup the successes that you are seeing today. It’s not the amount of effort that you put in that I think is important (although I do put a lot of effort in!), it’s the fruits of those labours, the outcomes, that are important.
Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? (Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?)
Definitely! I think stress in moderation is a good thing, it’s when it becomes excessive that it’s a problem. For me the key is to concentrate on the things that you can change and not stress about the things that you can’t.
What time do you leave the office?
It depends. I try and avoid peak traffic when I can so I’ll mostly stay in the office until late, and get home after 7pm. Sometimes if I know that I have conference calls late in the afternoon then I’ll leave early so I can take them from home. Having the flexibility to do this is great as it allows me to make the most out of the hours of my day.
What do you do once you get home? (Can you switch off from work?)
It’s typically bedtime for the kids when I get home and I’ll try and switch off where I can, although it can be hard. If I have a lot on then I’ll try and make sure that I spend my time when I first get home with the kids and then once they’re in bed I’ll get back onto finishing off urgent work issues.