Software Development Manager, Carlos Lopez celebrates 17 years with ACF Technologies. Learn about what Carlos does and his take on heritage and family influence.
We recently had the privilege of visiting with Carlos Lopez, an experienced Software Development Manager at ACF Technologies who marked his 17th year with the company on August 1st. The conversation provided a glimpse into the dynamic world of software development and management as well as how Carlos views heritage and family and how both influenced his career.
A Day in the Life
As a Software Development Manager, our interviewee’s role primarily involves overseeing the planning, execution, and delivery of software projects. Ensuring the timely completion of projects within the determined budget and maintaining quality standards are some of the principal responsibilities. This role also encompasses project planning, team management, collaboration, performance evaluation, and post-release support.
One crucial part of the job involves identifying and evaluating new business opportunities. Most of these opportunities arise from client meetings where clients express their needs and goals. Such interactions provide an ideal setting to evaluate existing products and brainstorm potential features that could positively impact customers. The ultimate goal is to foster a continuous partnership with clients.
Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients and business partners are important on Carlos' to-do list and are achieved by incorporating techniques like effective communication, delivering value to their business, handling complaints professionally, and focusing on continuous improvement. Carlos strongly advocates that honesty also plays a key role in establishing trust and maintaining these relationships.
Measuring Success and Overcoming Challenges
The success of development projects is measured using several metrics. Customer satisfaction is paramount - even a one-second improvement in customer process efficiency is considered a significant win. Other metrics include code quality, which is analyzed using quality analysis tools, productivity, time tracking, and meeting target delivery dates. It's evident that careful monitoring and evaluation are integral to how Carlos works his magic at ACF.
When asked how he stays updated on industry trends and changes that could impact the company's business development strategies, our interviewee shared, "This is a hard one, technology is changing so fast and day-to-day activities usually keep me away from looking at new technological trends. Luckily, there are other teams in the company that are investing time in looking at new technologies."
As for the challenges encountered in the role of a Development Manager, he admitted, "There are always many challenges, some of them are easier than others to resolve. Some common challenges include resource constraints, changes in requirements, tight deadlines, balancing product quality and time, and managing client expectations."
Management, Networking, and Communication
Our interviewee believes in the power of teamwork. The development team cannot operate in isolation; our interviewee emphasized the importance of working closely with all departments, including sales, marketing, and product development. Collaborative efforts such as regular meetings, team calls/chats, emails, and participation in conventions and shows help resolve issues and bring new products to market.
When asked how he manages multiple development projects simultaneously, he responded, "I have a great team behind me. They are confident and can lead development projects on their own. Of course, there still has to be some management and monitoring, but we have staff in the development department with many years of experience, and they know how we do projects and feel confident when talking with our customers and helping drive their projects. As a summary, I get a lot of help from my team, and I’m proud of all of them!"
Effective communication is essential for any organization. "Some strategies I use include having regular meetings, establishing common goals, and having clear communication channels," he explained.
Vision for the Future
When asked about his long-term goals and vision as the development manager in the organization, he shared that he aims to "continue improving the performance of the development team, continue our internal process improvements, deliver quality products while aligned with the budget, align development with ACF goals, mentor and coach my team, and promote a positive work culture. It doesn’t feel like a job if you enjoy what you are doing 😊."
Here is a little bit of Q&A fun with Carlos.
How would you describe the influence that your heritage had on your life?
I was raised with one important thing in mind: always try to do the right thing, this seems to be a simple statement, but it had a huge effect on the way I live and behave. I come from a big family with hard-working parents and brothers, and that fact has influenced my life in a positive way. If you want to accomplish something, you need to work smart and hard for that.
Can you share any specific aspects of your heritage or upbringing that have had a significant influence on your career choices or work ethic?
I have always been a curious person. When I was a child, I used to break my toys (one or two, I didn’t have a lot of toys 😊) that my parents gave me as presents. I wanted to know why the little car was able to move forward when I moved the car back (little traction car), I believe that curiosity and need to know more about how things work, led me to the computer world, and nowadays I’m still a curious person (much older than before), and I still want to know how the things work, or how we can make better things.
In what ways has your family shaped your values and beliefs regarding work and professionalism?
I always prefer to tell the truth even when is not easy or difficult, I believe that by telling the truth, you just take a step in the right direction. My family has played a key role in who I am right now, I owe them so much that I will not be able to pay for all the live lessons I got from them. I also believe in doing the best you can with the tools you have.
Do you incorporate elements of your heritage into your daily work routine or decision-making process?
Absolutely, that is part of who I am, and every decision that I take is after thinking about how that will affect the people surrounding me, including coworkers, customers, and family.
Have you encountered any challenges or obstacles in the workplace that you believe were influenced by your heritage? If so, how did you handle them?
Absolutely, my primary language is Spanish, and I had a hard time at the very beginning when I moved to the US with my family, it was difficult at that time, but a few months later, I lost the fear and started getting a little better with English language, I still have a lot to learn, but I’m not afraid anymore, and I have great friends and team members that correct me when I’m saying or pronouncing something properly, I will never get mad or frustrated if someone tells me that I’m saying something wrong, at the contrary, I’ll thank that person and try to do it better next time.
Can you provide an example of a situation where your cultural background or heritage provided you with a unique perspective or advantage in the workplace?
The fact that I come from a Spanish-speaking country and that I can easily talk to others has helped me in my position, especially since part of our development and other subsidiaries also speak in Spanish. Also, knowing how other customers in LATAM (Latin America) use our products and services offers a unique perspective that is useful in my role.
Can you describe a time when your heritage helped you establish connections or build relationships with clients or colleagues from a similar cultural background?
It’s great to find another Spanish-speaking member of the team. When I came to the US, I made a quick connection with some coworkers with similar backgrounds, the same happens when I usually join meetings with customers, and they speak the same language. For instance, I’m currently working on a project for Miami Dade College, their system administrator also speaks Spanish, and sometimes we just talk in Spanish while waiting for others to join the session.
In what ways do you believe your heritage contributes to fostering inclusivity and diversity within the workplace?
Having team members from different cultures working in ACF is an important indicator for me, that basically means, the company doesn’t discriminate based on your background, what is important for ACF is, that we all do our jobs the best we can, of course, still meeting certain quality specs.
How do you contribute to fostering a culturally inclusive and respectful environment for all employees, regardless of their heritage?
There are many actions we can take to promote an inclusive environment in the workplace, including diverse hiring, having inclusive policies, listening to challenges, and offering training opportunities.
Can you share any specific ways in which your heritage has influenced your problem-solving or decision-making abilities in the workplace?
Sure, my heritage has significantly influenced me in several ways like my communication style: I always try to listen and understand before making any decision in the workplace, I never try to impose an idea on others, instead, I look for ways to shape their and mine ideas into a better and more robust idea or plan, my problem-solving skills are also deeply influenced by background, I usually try to see all sides before resolving a problem, analytical thinking is super important when you are in front of issues that need to be resolved.
What advice or insights would you give to others who are navigating their heritage's influence in their professional journey?
I would recommend others with different backgrounds and cultures not be afraid, the sooner they beat their fears the sooner they will start reaching success, of course, say it is easier than doing it, ACF is a company where your talent and desire to succeed matters, we will never discriminate anyone based on their heritage… start every day with a good attitude and always do your best!
You can find Carlos outside of work with family and friends walking in the park, touring local breweries, or catching a new film! After being with the company nearly since its beginning 20 years ago, Carlos remains a dedicated and cherished member of the team here at ACF Technologies.
Thanks for joining us as we celebrate his time and inspiration in the workplace. To learn more about what we do and what we can offer, visit us here.