In the Limelight:
Balázs Benedek, Our Front-End Developer

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Run-through

How to Make a Difference with 1-to-1 Meetings

How to Make a Difference with 1-on-1 Meetings

One-on-one meetings are as much a leadership tool as they are a management tool. The main leadership requirement with 1-on-1 meetings involves a desire to make a difference. These meetings can make a GIGANTIC difference if approached properly. While we’ll cover some of the essentials for conducting 1-on-1’s, we’d like to share a few additional perspectives that you may not find elsewhere.

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From time to time, it’s important to make sure everyone on the team gets some time in the limelight. That is, of course, unless they absolutely don’t want to be. All of our developers have and continue to work hard at making Gitential the premiere software development analytics platform. It’s a small team, but they’ve performed wonders – with a lot more to come.

Today, we’re talking with Balázs Benedek, our Front-End Developer, about his experience in software development and with Gitential since he started.

Let the grilling begin!

 
Balázs Benedek, Our Front-End Developer
Balázs Benedek

Mark: Hi, Balázs, I appreciate your willingness to share your experience with our readers on the blog! Let’s start with the beginning of your career in software development and how you found your way to Gitential? 

Balázs: Well, I’m from Hungary where I graduated as an environmental engineer from the University of Miskolc. A few years later in continuing my education, I joined the CodeCool programming school in Miskolc where I studied software development for about 18 months.

On finishing my courses there, I signed on with a local company where I mostly worked with Java on the backend and React for the front end. I stayed there for 3 years before deciding it was time for a change. I started looking for a new opportunity where I could expand my skills and tackle new challenges. It didn’t take long before I made contact with Gitential and started to work as a full-time front-end developer.

M: So, when did you start working with Gitential? How much has changed since then? 

B: I have been in Gitential for just over a year now. A lot of things have changed since I joined the company. A few people came and went. Since I am the only front-end developer I have learned a lot. There’s plenty of work to keep me busy. Our business model has also made some changes since I joined but the main goal remained the same: to make a very powerful Git analytical application to make life easier for software developers and the companies they work for.

M: I presume you work from home like the rest of us, what’s your experience been like with the Gitential team? How do you guys and gals meet?

B: Yes, I work full-time from home. Unfortunately because of the Covid pandemic our team hasn’t had much of an opportunity to socialize together, face to face, at least. I hope this will change in the near future. We shall see, though.

M: Do you have any advice for your fellow telecommuters?

B: Yes, try not to work from dawn till dusk. When you’re at home and in the flow, time can fly by and before you know it, the entire day slips by and it’s time for bed. I’ve done it, a lot of developers probably do it, too. But, really, we’re much more productive when we at least try to live a “normal” life – eat, take breaks and get away from the screen, get some exercise, and sleep. Yeah, while we’re at it, check out our  Top 10 Productivity Tips — there’s twelve actually, but two are no-brainers.

M: What kinds of things do you like to do outside of work? Sports? Games? Study? Of course, that’s when you’re not on lockdown!

B: Well, as for recreational activities? Mainly, I like hiking – getting out to take in the sun, fresh air, and nature. Otherwise, I enjoy coding and have a number of DIY projects that I work on in my spare time. Games? Not so much. Learning new skills – that’s a constant.

M: What are you working on now?

B: I am still working on the front end. There are so many new features, metrics, and reports that we’ve decided to implement with Gitential that the front end will be my priority for the foreseeable future. Soon, I will start working on a new feature that will enable users to create their own dashboards with customized analytics.

M: That self-serve analytics sounds like a very cool feature, sort of a next generation component – there’s a lot in the NDA that we can’t talk about yet. What’s been the most challenging aspect of your work with Gitential, so far?

B: The most challenging part of my work is implementing unique visualizations of git metrics. That, and making the app more user friendly.

M: What are your personal favorite metrics – and can you provide an example of how it may give software engineering managers special insight about the health of their team or project?

B: I think two metrics are especially important. The first one is code volume because it can show us the estimated effort done on a project or a team or a single developer. The second is the average pull request cycle time. It can show the speed of feature delivery from actual implementation point of you – without the overhead of BA work and administration 

M: When it comes to software engineering managers, what do you think is the most important characteristic of a software engineering manager?

B: Be patient with developers and welcome their new ideas. Let them explore new ways and even tools for doing things. Not all of them are going to work, but there’ll be lessons learned in the process. If their ideas do work, that’s something your entire team can use from then on out, potentially to great effect.

M: Do you and your team use Gitential for tracking your own development metrics? What kind of helpful insights has it generated for you and the team?

B: Yes, we are always checking our Gitential reports . The reports provide us very useful insights when we make changes in our development processes. One very good example is how metrics can show if a developer is stuck with implementing a feature for a long time, like with code churn. Another one that we’ve been focusing upon a lot lately involves pull request analytics. If there are a lot of pull requests that are stuck, it could reflect commits that are too large requiring more time to evaluate, more focus on continuous integration, and in some cases a need to restructure your team. Fundamentally, Gitential reports show managers and team leaders which developers require more attention.

M: What would you say to software developers who question the value of software development metrics? A lot of developers are quick to rebut the usefulness of specific metrics, what insight would you like to share with them?

B: You can always work without performance metrics, but everything about your work remains subjective. It’s harder to tell if your team is improving, or how a change in one process or metric impacts others. The larger your team, the greater the chaos, the greater the inefficiency, and the greater the attention to software development costs. Performance metrics are incredibly helpful for managers in taking better care of developers who need more attention and really in identifying what kind of attention or assistance they need – like we discussed on Developer Skill and Team Organization. Improving one performance metric, while at least maintaining the same level of quality, will lead to improvements in several metrics. You can measure it and assign a dollar value to it if you care to do so.

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