06 Jul From Scuba to Software: Meet New Executive Team Member Patrick Desbrow
Computer scientist (and current scuba instructor) Patrick Desbrow knows how to get things done.
Take for instance how he transformed a recent new product release from failure to flagship, or how he expertly assembled great teams that he inspired to build market-leading software.
Technology manager and software architect by trade, Patrick is highly educated with a long and successful background in IT, engineering and software development.
Here, we learn more about what brought Patrick to MomentFeed as the head of software development, his vision for the future, and how he manages to balance life, work, and continuous innovation.
This role has been a path for me that started years ago. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science because I was better at software development than anything else at school. It was really exciting to come to work each day and help make applications come to life.
I earned the Master in Technology Management and Doctorate in Organizational Leadership to continue this path.
I felt that this was really my calling – the combination of technology and team building.
Creating commercial grade software requires more than great programming skills. It requires a higher level of focus in other disciplines such as project management, agile software development, lean process design, and of course creating high performing teams using leadership theory.
I made the shift from software architect to technology manager many years ago. At that time, I felt a sense of responsibility for something greater than myself. I wanted to do my best for the team, for customers, and for the company – and I really liked working with and mentoring engineers.
I haven’t looked back since.
The most amazing experience is making software. Behind that is a team of individuals that come together and become bigger than themselves.
More often than not, there’s a thoughtful leader behind the scenes that understands how to bring the right group of people together, and to inspire them to something greater.
I’m actually proudest of the teams that have made amazing software over the last few years, not the software itself. Technology almost by definition must change all the time, but inspiring people to continue to realize their full potential means so much more than any one instance of code.
I use a combination of servant leadership and situational leadership styles. These can be used for both communication and management related tasks.
The key is to be open, honest, and collaborative.
It is important to build trust and confidence with the teams and other employees in the company. It’s more than doing a great job at work, but connecting with people, that ensures that they understand where the company is going and that you can help guide that direction.
Change can feel continuous and unpredictable in the marketing technology space. However, there are well established processes that support change in organizations like ours. The key is to plan very well and communicate very well.
We then must help every individual in the organization through the change process until we reach the other side of the change window. This is sometime called the “new normal” and it’s almost always a better place than where we came from.
[In the near future] we will double in size. This means more revenue but it also means we will grow in knowledge and sophistication.
We’ll have more customers, more products, and more features. We’ll get there by inspiring our people, investing in more efficient processes, and increasing the intensity of our execution.
I was recently involved in a major release of a new flagship product. This was a minimum viable product (MVP) release that we shared with our existing beta customers. We had hoped that the MVP release contained all of the critical features that these beta customers really needed, but customers were expecting a more complete product with many more additional features then we expected.
We overcame this challenge by meeting with each of the beta customers and resetting the expectation on both sides. We agreed to the definition of a true MVP release and determined what features and what level of quality was required to move forward.
The product and engineering team rallied around this new definition and addressed the gaps in the product offering over the next two months – a very quick turnaround.
These beta customers became our strongest champions as we delivered the remaining features in the product based on what really moved the needle for them.
I’ve found that time management is a set of learned skills. Remember to plan your day, plan your week, and plan for the month ahead. It does require a certain amount of discipline.
Planning ahead is the best way to make time—time to meet your commitments, time for yourself and for your family. Don’t forget to make time for a vacation!
In my free time I’m professional scuba diving instructor. It’s a great way to get away from work, have fun, and help others discover the world under the sea.
The path to success can take many forms. However, there are some common themes that tend to appear. First, find your passion. This will be the fuel to work through the challenges, and there are many challenges at work when you are starting out. Invest in continuous learning, and never stop.
When you feel you know a lot, start teaching what you have learned.
My objective at MomentFeed is to help the organization reach the next level of success.
In the Development organization, this means ensuring we have the best people, processes, and execution. We strive to have high performing teams that are in alignment with the goals of the organization.
This means great commercial grade software offerings, happy employees, and delighted customers.
MomentFeed is thrilled to have Patrick’s education and wealth of experience on the team. MomentFeed continues its mission to build the best, most versatile executive team to drive the company into the future and become the leader in multi-location marketing platforms.