.NET developer and project manager Hani Faylee
– 10 questions to the expert
Hani Faylee has worked as a self-employed .NET developer since 2008, but increasingly works as a project manager, and always with a basis in solid business understanding. His motivations as a consultant are the concrete business-related results, and he is studying for his MBA in management at the moment in order to be able to create even more value for his clients, among other reasons.
1. Why did you choose to work as a self-employed .NET developer and project manager?
I started my own business because I wasn’t satisfied with the challenges I met as an employee. At the same time, I experienced that people listened more to external consultants, and those points combined gave me the incentive to become self-employed. At one point, I expect to make my own projects, but for now I thrive in my role as self-employed consultant.
2. What is the most interesting IT project you have worked on, and why?
I like seeing the concrete results of my work. A good example of this is a project I did for a client in the telecommunications industry where four people were manually entering orders into the client’s order handling system, because the orders went into another system, and there was no integration between the two systems. By using a new and better system for the end customers and creating a back-end integration to the order handling system, we released four full time resources, eliminated the errors which inevitably come with manual handling, AND increased the number of orders, thanks to a better interface for the end customer.
The interesting part for me is to reach concrete business-related or organisational results, and that is probably also why I believe that having an understanding of business is incredibly important as a self-employed IT consultant. On my current project with The Danish Building Defects Fund, the manager said the other day that the amount of time the building experts spent had gone down, thanks to the system we implemented.
3. What is the most important professional trend in back-end development?
People have an increasing preference for web-based solutions, and integration of various systems is essential. .NET-based technologies such as C# are gaining traction, in particular because Microsoft have been good at buying up other businesses’ technologies, which can be used as add-ons in Visual Studio. It makes Visual Studio an attractive framework for developers. It’s also a strategically sound move that Microsoft (BizSpark) gives small businesses a free 3-year licence for Visual Studio, because they will gain a lot of new customers and make .NET technology even more prominent in the long run.
4. What skills do you think set good .NET developers apart from the masses?
A well-rounded understanding – that is, the ability to see collected functionality and the interaction with other functions and systems. The best .NET developers and developers generally understand from the beginning that what they are making needs to be usable with other systems.
5. What is essential for a successful IT project – and what increases the risk of failure?
On the consultant’s side, it is vital that you as a developer have a good understanding of business, and that you take the time to know what you are implementing, and what the expected result is. As an external developer, you cannot just sit down and code – you have to deliver that extra bit, and that is typically an understanding of business.
With regards to the client’s contribution to the success of the project, they of course have to provide the necessary input. That being said, I am the kind of person who independently seeks out information, and that may also be an important ability as a self-employed developer. I look at the work flow and will suggest improvements, if they seem fitting. It is of course important to be aware of not overstepping any boundaries, but if you put things in the right way, suggestions for how the organisation may minimise sources of errors or optimise work flow may be welcome and appreciated.
6. Which skills do you expect to gain within the next couple of years – and why?
I am currently studying for my MBA in management, and I may continue my studies when I finish this autumn. The point is to strengthen my business understanding – I think that education is important to being an external consultant in order to have something extra to contribute, and end up on different employment terms than if you had the competencies of a salaried employee. By combining my competencies as a .NET developer with my MBA, I am now able to further incorporate the client’s business in the IT projects I work on.
7. Who or what is your greatest professional source of inspiration?
I won’t limit myself – I take inspiration from a number of different sources. Regarding business-related perspective, I read Børsen and Berlingske Business every day.
8. How do you keep up to date with your field?
Via other developers in my network, and of course via the web. I’m also subscribed to newsletters from Microsoft in order to get their regular updates on new technologies and versions.
9. What is your best piece of advice for other developers who are considering becoming self-employed consultants?
First and foremost, they have to consider why they want to be self-employed, and not do it for the money. But if you have the competencies and want to achieve greater freedom and make people listen more carefully to you, I would recommend it.
10. What is your best piece of advice for businesses who are considering hiring a self-employed consultant?
It’s a good idea to make use of consultants, as you’ll see things from a completely different angle. Employees get wrapped up in the organisational culture, and it’s difficult for them to change their work flow. Therefore, it may be necessary to get an external analysis of where the potential for improvement is, and unsettle the solid structures a bit. With good management, it is then possible to achieve significant improvements in cooperation with external consultants.
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