Innovation at Sigma Conso: how our cross-border IT team makes the difference

A .net developer tells us about working at the development team

Interview by Stephanie Ravert, Corporate Marketing Department

Sigma Conso is currently seeking for software development engineers: a great opportunity for us to show you with this article how our IT department operates. How does the team organize its work? What is their motivation? And how does working at Sigma Conso differ from other software companies?

We interview Julien Santos de Almeida, who joined Sigma Conso 3 years ago as a .Net Developer.

Julien

Julien, could you please tell us about your motivation to join Sigma Conso?

After 14 years of experience, I was looking for a place where I could use my passion for technology while continuing to learn. At some major IT companies, you would expect they make the most of the newest technologies, but I learned that the methodologies are so strict that you don’t even have the time to learn and apply those new technologies. After a conversation with the development director at Sigma Conso, I knew that I would be able to find this here. We surely do have strict timelines for new releases, but we also have quite some time to analyze the new functionalities that we encounter (by doing research or by following a training) and make proposals to the team. We also get the opportunity and the time to test new features.

This is something I missed in my previous work experiences. I worked at companies where there was less time for research, less time for tests and more stress. At Sigma Conso, I feel like we can add real-value and be the first in the market to implement new features. We introduce new technologies, which allows us to upgrade our level and further grow in our career.

How about the team work? Do you have a lot of contact with other colleagues?

I started to work for Sigma Conso at the head office in Belgium and I recently moved to Lisbon (I am originally from Portugal) with the opportunity to work from our office there. Another colleague works from our office in Barcelona, and we also have an IT team in Belgium. We talk a lot with each other: conversations with a colleague or with the whole team… We talk about new ideas, share our screens, perform tests and work together on some subjects. Next to that, we have weekly meetings with the whole team to explain what we’re working on and share our problems, questions and ideas. We present the development evolutions to each other and share the results of our sprints.

What I also like is that we’re not isolated from other teams. We have a regular contact with all departments. Talking with the sales team and consultants, we get a feedback from our clients. This way, we also have a view on the impact of our choices at clients’ sites. On the other hand, we also have to inform the team on a regular basis of the new functionalities so that everyone knows the products we sell.

We are also in contact with the clients themselves, for example during the Users’ Days that we organize every 18 months (after a new software release). It is the perfect time for us to chat with people who use our applications and get to know how we can improve. Our clients can also rely on us when they have technical issues and this gives us again a real feedback of our work and a view on what needs to be improved.

How is your work organized?

First of all, we of course take into account the lifecycle of the product and have a deadline of around 18 months to come up with a new version of the software. Also in this decision process for the major developments of our applications, we can add our suggestions.

As I already explained in the beginning, we have a flexible culture in which everyone can share their ideas. We follow trainings about new technological developments and have enough time to explore new functionalities, perform tests and measure the risks.

Most of the time, when we have a new feature we want to implement, we analyze and split it into smaller tasks so that we can make estimations with more accuracy and assign it to the task pool of the development team.

What we’re currently also working on, is the improvement of our methodology. We are setting up some tools of Atlassian to manage the development process, make it more flexible and efficient.

Sigma Conso delivers corporate finance software. Does this have any impact on your work activity?

We operate on a niche and booming market, which has definitely some particularities. First of all, we really have to ensure security when data is integrated into our cloud and on premise solutions. Furthermore, our target group are international companies, which means we always have to see things from a broader perspective and think about the multicultural aspects when developing a new feature in order to ensure the expected results in any country. Also, the quality is of utmost importance at Sigma Conso, as well as the integration with other (financial) tools. This requires a development strategy based on the best standards and development patterns. Particular subjects you might not find at every software company.

Another part that is really important for us, is the cloud. We implement solutions whose architecture allows us to deliver high performance and quality results, which is highly appreciated by our customers. We have to compete with the big players in the market and work with a strong architecture with enough flexibility to ensure high quality on current and future platform evolutions. Quite some interesting challenges!

Thank you, Julien, for sharing this information with us!

Do you wish to expand your knowledge and join our team of highly motivated software engineers? Can you see yourself in our corporate values: ‘human’, ‘exciting’ and ‘driven by challenge’? Don’t wait any longer and apply now for one of our vacant positions.

 

Business image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com

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