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Meet the team: Tim Hubbard, Insight Product Owner

1. What’s your career with Clearview Intelligence been like so far?

So far, working at Clearview has been a lot of fun. Insight is our data management software, which translates raw data from across the road network into actionable insight. As product owner I’m responsible for developing Insight and my role is a hybrid between a product role and a software development role. My career to date has spanned both managing products and working in development teams. I now have a foot firmly in both camps, which is what makes my role so enjoyable.

My previous role was very similar, with the main difference being that the development teams were overseas. At Clearview, our developers are based with me at our Insight Hub in Milton Keynes. I prefer working with the team face-to-face, as I find it fosters collaboration and creativity much more naturally than when you’re working remotely.

2. What does a typical day in the office include?

A project starts with a basic outline. From this I produce a rough estimate and shape of a piece of work. I then build up detailed stories, discuss these with developers, and ultimately get the software built. As the software nears completion, I am responsible for validating that the software is suitable for the end user.

We work within an agile framework, meaning we build fast feedback loops into every stage. This addresses a big issue with software development; that you don’t know what you don’t like until you see it. Something might sound great on paper, but when you start using the software, you realise something isn’t working quite as it should be.

Traditionally, software was built linearly. This means that by the time the software was being used, it was too late to make changes. At first it was thought that the solution was to do more planning, but people have now realised that this doesn’t necessarily solve the issue. In fact, the answer is to be more flexible and willing to accommodate change—plan for the plan not to work. That’s why we use a more iterative approach that allows for feedback throughout the process.

3. What’s the most rewarding element of your job?

It’s seeing things come to fruition and working collaboratively to get to that point. I work on projects all the way through from the initial concept to delivering the software to our users. This ownership and involvement in every step of the process makes my role immensely rewarding.

4. What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The software development team works very closely together to solve complex challenges. This is a creative process that relies on individuals contributing, but with sometimes opposing views, not everyone will get their own way. Every member of the team is passionately committed to developing the best solution for our clients and can be very committed to one approach over another. I’m the one in the middle moderating debates, which can be challenging. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing—conflict can spark a great deal of creativity and often leads to innovative solutions.

The key is to keep the team working as a unit and committed to the solution we come to agree on.

5. What’s one thing you’ve learned in your time at Clearview?

The industry is the biggest thing I’ve had to get my head around. I joined the company as an experienced product owner, but completely new to the ITS industry. At Clearview we provide solutions that combine hardware and software to help people make better journeys. This ranges from equipment that counts and classifies traffic the length and breadth of the strategic road network (SRN) to parking bay sensors that detect the presence of a single car. Our various sensors feed directly into Insight, so it’s been interesting for me to learn about these solutions and work closely with our team of hardware engineers.

This hardware generates the data that is transformed into actionable insight to meet the needs of our clients. This could be reporting on traffic flow on a part of the SRN in support of a Design-Build-Finance-Operate (DBFO) contract or generating a report on the use of a car park. Insight also drives changes out on the network by populating Variable Message Signs with information such as journey times or car park occupancy.

Essentially, Insight takes raw data and transforms it into actionable intelligence. It’s where the Intelligence in our name comes in and where we add real value for our clients.

6. What are you currently working towards?

One of the big changes we’re working on is the development of a new reporting tool. Our current reporting tools are a vital part of the system and valued by our customers but over the years the needs of our customers have evolved with a greater focus on real-time data and the ability to analyse traffic using individual vehicle data rather than the traditional binned approach. The new reporting system will initially focus on producing reports that the current system cannot provide and will gradually replace the Template Creator and Viewer.

We have big plans for the new reporting tools and we see it as key to turning data into actionable intelligence across all our solutions.

Author: Michelle C |Date Published: February 2018

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