Why would a senior product owner leave his successful career and get back to coding?! There has to be something valuable behind such a decision. Why and how did I make this step? Having 10+ years of coding experience, but not being a full-time developer in the past 2,5 years made this switch really interesting, and it went surprisingly well.
Why did I switch?
Previously I was working for Balabit Europe with some really nice and bright people. Still I’ve decided to stop my career there, because I felt that the product despite having huge monetary value, does not add much to humanity, and has no real value. I really liked the people there, and would have been happy to work with them, but not the product. Being a product owner, this is clearly a mis-match.
What is Potzak?
Potzak is the first IT solution, in a hopefully long and successful list of products that we plan to ship with the team at Fontanus IT. Potzak is a homecare solution for mothers having diastasis recti.
To us it’s actually much more than a simple health related application. We have a strong dedication towards teaching people about how to love, understand and use our body. Potzak is the first solution in this area. We would like to reach mothers in need of help, and provide them a nice and easy to use solution that will help them to better understand their body and make it healthy again.
Of course, once we manage to reach these health-focused young ladies, we would be happy to build out a close relationship with them, and work together with them outside of Potzak and the cure of diastasis recti.
How did I switch?
This was actually quite fun! As the team was admitted into the incubator programme of NN Sparklab Hungary, we’ve started to work on the idea in June 2017. As I was the only one having experience in building products, it was obvious to the team that I’ll lead the product development. As I was the only one having experience in coding, it was obvious to the team that I would be our primary developer. Now, wearing those two hats is definitely a bad idea, that everyone should try to avoid. I tried to do the same … but succeeded only partially. I tried to give the product manager’s hat to someone else, as a result I focused on mobile development.
I’ve never done mobile development before! I’ve read a lot about React Native, NativeScript, and new that I have 2 months to get ready before real coding should start. Having this foresight was a really valuable skill! I’ve never went into any development project as prepared as I did this time. Despite never using the technology before, I had a quite nice list of react native packages compiled that I new I might need sometime in the project. As during summer I had my regular job, plus I was coaching my team in product development, I did not have much time to do tutorials or much preparatory coding except for reading articles. It was pure mental preparation to a really practical job.
Finally, when I got into coding in the 2nd half of August, I was already super-excited to give React Native a try! I’ve set up my environment under my Linux machine, and started to run some katas and tutorials. When everything worked, I took my personal laptop, running Windows, and set up the environment there for development. It took almost a full day, but finally I had everyting needed for development. (If you are interested in developing RN under Windows, you can read my article on the topic.)