Welcome to this Spotlight on Essenters! Today we will have a chat with Paul Hoogstede, Release Train Engineer at Essent IT.
HI PAUL, CAN YOU TELL THE READERS A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?Hi, I'm Paul Hoogstede and I live 30 minutes by bike from Essent’s office in Den Bosch. In my free time I like to sail, ski, design Lego and spend time with friends tasting specialty beers.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN THE IT AREA?I view IT as an accelerator for business, and at times, it even becomes its core product. It's rewarding to contribute to this and assist the company in its growth.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC INFLUENCES OR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED YOUR CAREER PATH?
Many individuals have inspired me throughout my life. My first manager encouraged me to take more risks. Similarly, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, with their focus on bringing their products to MVP and introducing them to the market, have deeply influenced me. I admire such dedication.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK AT ESSENT?
When I began, Essent was taking its initial steps into the liberalized energy market. The transition from a government-owned entity to a private company greatly appealed to me.
WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE COMPANY, AND HOW HAVE THEY CHANGED SINCE?
From day one, Essent has focused on operational excellence, continuous improvement, and nurturing its people. This commitment has remained consistent over time.
COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES?
I serve as a Release Train Engineer, overseeing the delivery of seven DevOps teams. My responsibilities include team staffing, budgeting, ensuring employee satisfaction, and ultimately, the teams' output.
HOW HAS YOUR ROLE EVOLVED SINCE YOU STARTED?
When I began, our approach was based on Scrum for development. Over time, this has evolved to encompass SAFe and DevOps practices, incorporating elements like security, monitoring, and more.
CAN YOU HIGHLIGHT A SPECIFIC ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT YOU FEEL HAS BEEN PIVOTAL IN YOUR CAREER HERE?
Transitioning from a project manager focused on output to an RTE emphasizing happy teams and supportive leadership has been a significant shift in my career thus far. And it's been both rewarding and enjoyable.
ARE THERE ANY SETBACKS YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED IN THIS ROLE? HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE THEM?
Setbacks are inevitable. For instance, when closing in on important deadlines, individuals often change their communication and interactions. Fortunately, I'm a balanced person who rarely panics, which has proven advantageous in numerous situations. I recommend watching the video titled “Rule Number 6”
. It's a reminder not to take oneself too seriously.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CULTURE WITHIN YOUR TEAM OR DEPARTMENT?
I see it as a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement, where there's ample room for experimentation, all while maintaining a strong focus on people.
WHAT SKILLS OR ATTRIBUTES DO YOU THINK ARE CRUCIAL FOR ANYONE IN YOUR TEAM?
There are several behaviors I appreciate in people, that I believe contribute to their success. Namely:
- take ownership in all that you do
- strive to improve daily
- always be a team player
WHAT ASPIRATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR TEAM IN THE UPCOMING YEAR?
In the upcoming year, I aim to increase our internal staff ratio by 50%.
Additionally, I want data to be at the core of everyone's mindset within Essent. The focus will be on data-driven decision-making and providing personalized, relevant information for all our customers, empowering them to advance in their energy transition.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE ASPIRING TO WORK IN YOUR FIELD OR IN A ROLE SIMILAR TO YOURS?
Don't hesitate; begin by having a cup of coffee with me. I'd be delighted to share the highs, lows, and challenges that come with my role!
We would like to thank Paul for the time he took to speak to us, and for the insights he shares.
If you have any lingering questions for him, do not hesitate to drop a comment below. We will ensure you are promptly connected.