To play an instrument, you must be able to read sheet music. When travelling to a different country, you need to practice and learn the common vernacular of the country you are visiting. In the same way, to be a Software Engineer you need to have an extensive knowledge of programming languages. Roni Lev, a Software Engineer, is one of the faces behind the Planview Clarizen software and he knows a thing or two about all the above.
For our People of Planview monthly feature, we are going travel to Israel, to follow Roni and spend a day in the life of a Software Engineer. He will be sharing his daily work life, his career journey, and his experience with the Planview team and culture.
I asked him a round of questions to get an idea of his background as well to get to know him on a personal level. Let’s take a walk in Roni’s shoes and see a day in the life of a Software Engineer.
Explain your role at Planview and a few of your responsibilities.
I am a Software Engineer focused on Planview Clarizen’s backend and I am responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining backend components on our platform, complex user scenarios, as well as diverse features. Currently, I am involved in building a new innovative architecture for our product which will improve performance, scalability, ease of use, and ease of development.
Who do you typically collaborate with?
I have long daily sessions with my teammates – we discuss challenges and plan solutions and occasionally even program together on a shared screen. This has become quite common to program together when so many people work remotely. We connect through Microsoft Teams or Zoom, and one of us shares their development environment. Since the whole team can see the screen, we can easily discuss our challenges and solutions hands-on, meaning one person is doing the actual coding, but everybody is involved and can make suggestions and influence the outcome.
We also have a tight collaboration with the architecture team. Recently as a strategic choice at Planview we started using The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®). Our team, together with our QA, surrounding teams, product managers, project managers and so forth all use agile methods (our whole company uses agile methods, actually!). My team works in sprint cycles of 3 weeks, with the standard scrum ceremonies, such as Sprint planning, daily scrums, Demos, Retrospectives, etc.
Tell us about working from home – what are your tips for success?
Officially our office in Israel is working a hybrid model – 3 days in the office and 2 days from home. But, due to the exacerbation of the Covid situation over the last 2 months most of my team is working entirely from home.
With that, I have several suggestions for working at home that have helped me:
- Take structured breaks
- Wear different clothes when working
- Do NOT eat in front of your screen!
- Arrange a working environment without distractions. Anything that separates home from work physically and mentally.
- Oh, and get a dog – you will either go on walks with it or clean the mess if you do not – either way, both will compel you to move your body!
Tell us about your career journey to date?
I have worked as a software engineer for over 20 years, from very big companies (like Amdocs) to small startups. Prior to Planview I worked for 15 years at 888 Holdings in the Gaming industry. Also, I had a former career as a professional Horn Player. I performed twice at Carnegie Hall and several times in Lincoln Center. I also had the honor of performing for Bill Clinton and the Queen of Denmark.
How is Planview different from other companies you’ve worked for?
The people. Definitely the people!
The spirit of collaboration is strong at Planview — you can’t help but feel that you are part of something great and unique. The customer-centricity is tangible across all teams and at every organizational level; it’s no wonder that we have received awards and recognition as a world leader in that aspect! It is a pleasure to work in an environment where professional integrity and the pursuit of excellence are fully ingrained in the culture.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as you’ve moved up in your career?
‘Tis the dissonance that empowers the resolution. Constant harmony hinders growth.Roni Lev, 2012
Plus, three important insights:
- The more you share, the more you gain! Always be willing to both ask for help and provide it when asked.
- The “Can-Do” approach will take you a long way.
- Be as open as possible to criticism – you can learn from anyone anytime.
Are there any experiences in your life that you feel contributed to your professional success?
I was always drawn to mathematics and physics, and a lot of my studies oriented me towards some of the tenets of software engineering – Abstractions, Patterns, Efficiency and so forth.
My strong background as a former professional musician taught me the importance of working as an ensemble, and the importance of professional integrity.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
Figuring out the boundaries (especially during the pandemic) is the real challenge as far as I am concerned – I am still struggling with it myself!
Committing to different actions or events helps me a lot, so I try to schedule activities in the evenings from time to time and challenge myself to learn new things in different areas (such as a new language, a new piano piece).
As Senior Software Engineer, how do you make time for your team?
The team is an integral part of my work – we consult with each other a lot daily, and we have each other’s backs. Whenever anyone needs help or is stuck, we go on Zoom/MS Teams and solve it together. We have a wonderful flow of ideas!
What makes your team so effective?
Our team is effective because we collaborate, stay agile, we are not afraid of change, and we can always depend on each other.
Are there any current job openings on your team?
My team just filled its last position, but there are a number of open roles at Planview. If you are looking for a position and are in the Hod HaSharon area, you can look at our current openings on the Planview careers page.
What advice to you give to anyone wanting to work in development at Planview?
- Patience and perseverance
- Write code as if you intend to get back to it from time to time – so it must be clear, in order, and comprehensive.
- Write as many tests as time allows – it is always better to catch failures in development rather than getting complaints from customers.
- Simplify things whenever possible – try to always keep your objectives in sight and focus on them. Enhancements should only be applied at the end of the cycle if time allows.
- Be courteous – we value and cherish our pleasant working environment.
Best career advice you have received?
Always strive to learn new things – in our career, our expertise is measured by how well we adopt new frameworks, infrastructures, technologies, and by how quickly we implement them.
From your perspective, why is Planview a great place to work?
After working in the Gaming industry for 15 years, I was looking for a change of pace. First and foremost, I wanted to join a company that helped people; one that one that contributed to the success of groups or businesses in their endeavors. After working in the Gaming industry for 15 years, I was looking for a change of pace. It was also important to me that I work at an industry-leading company that would give my work a sense of meaning. Planview represented all of that, and more.
For fun, how do you unwind when you are off the clock?
I play Piano, mostly Chopin, and some Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Learning foreign languages is another passion of mine and I try to practice them whenever I can. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, German, French and Russian (My mother tongue is Hebrew).
Also, I enjoy reading non-fiction books, one of my key interests is behavioral economics and I also like history and psychology. Another hobby I have is listening to podcasts – mostly history, philosophy, and art/music. And on weekends my wife and I love taking long walks by the beach or walk with our dog in the park.
Planview is hiring!
Thank you Roni for sharing your daily and personal life with us! People like you are the reason Planview is a great place to work.
Roni is one of many of our talented and wonderful people at Planview. If you are interested working on a team like Roni’s, you can submit your resume online. Not a software developer? You can browse all the current job openings on the Planview careers page.