Working at Red Gate
A place to do great work
Why did you choose Red Gate?
Unfortunately the team I was in at my previous job was made redundant, but as part of the package we were offered some outplacement support, which included access to a database of companies in the UK. By searching for small(ish) high-tech companies, I found an article about Red Gate being one of the best places to work in the UK, so I went to the website. I liked what I read about the culture and the type of work, then found out there was a Project Manager vacancy.
When did you join Red Gate?
Before you arrived at Red Gate what did you do?
I worked for 16 years at Motorola (later to become part of Nokia Siemens Networks). I started out as a Software Engineer, progressing to Team Leader, Project Manager and eventually Engineering Manager looking after the UK development team.
What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?
I’m a project manager in CORE Services, a large team that's responsible for providing the infrastructure and internal systems that other teams in Red Gate rely on to do their work, and perhaps more importantly the online systems that allow the customers to download our tools and pay us! I typically look after 3–4 projects at the same time which span multiple functions across the company. Depending on which phase of the project we're in, a typical day will include having a stand-up with each project team, or a planning meeting where we'll decide on which stories to implement next, or a show and tell (the fun part where we get to show the stakeholders what we've developed for them). Because we provide a central function we get to work with lots of people across different parts of the business, which brings a lot of variety.
Give us an example of some great work you've done as Head of Tech Comms at Red Gate.
The best work I've done so far is the first project I helped to deliver in CORE Services. It was to help us work towards becoming compliant for PCI DSS (essentially to do with how we process credit card information from our customers). We incorporated a third party payment screen into our system, and developed a solution to avoid capturing customer credit card details in phone call recordings.
What do you like about working in project management at Red Gate?
The Red Gate culture means that you're trusted to get on and do the best work you can. So as a Project Manager I don't get told how to run a project or which methodologies to use: I get a lot of freedom to try new techniques. The process is pretty light here – the general premise is that if it's not adding value then why bother doing it? We take a pragmatic approach to most things, which helps us to focus on getting the right stuff done.
What do you like most about Red Gate today?
The relaxed atmosphere compared to a traditional corporate environment. That's not to say there isn't pressure, but it's a different kind of peer pressure that means you want to do the best job you can and not let your friends and colleagues down. A lot of people have "Part of the Team" as their job title, and it really does feel like a team effort here.
Complete the following sentence: I know everything there is to know about...
Singing in a choir. I've been singing in different kinds of choir for a few years now, including singing on the pitch at Wembley and Twickenham before big games. Singing is really therapeutic – we even have a Red Gate choir which meets regularly each week and provides entertainment at the Red Gate Day Out, carols at Christmas, and impromptu performances throughout the year.
What's your favourite book?
I don't do a lot of reading, but when I do I prefer reading books from the crime/thriller genre. So for a holiday read I might choose something by James Patterson, Simon Kernick, or Dan Brown.
What super power do you wish you had (or have but aren't telling anyone because that's the point of being super)?
To be able to fly would be cool (er, without a plane, obviously!).
What's your most memorable Red Gate experience so far?
When the CEO Simon Galbraith dressed up as a wizard and, with his leadership team dressed as other mythical characters, set out the next 10 year challenge for Red Gate, complete with dry ice and a sword in a stone (now converted to a coffee table in reception)!