When Kui Tze Lin originally applied to work at Quintiq, the engineering graduate set his sights on being a developer. Instead, he found himself assigned to the newly-formed Quintiq Global Delivery Center (GDC) 24/7 support team as a technical operations consultant (TOC). Initially, he intended for his stint as a TOC to be brief and planned to campaign for a transfer to software development.
This was because, at his previous job, support had been a one-person show. Tze Lin wanted to avoid being pigeonholed into a support role. But the young team at support soon captured his interest and he found himself staying on in the TOC role because “I realized that as a TOC, I learned more things, things I would never have been exposed to if I became a developer.”
After a year on the 24/7 support team, where his role included interacting with developers, Tze Lin counts himself as someone with a unique insight into the differences between the role of developer and TOC. “The lifestyle of a developer is very different. Most of the time, you know what is coming next. When you go home, you know what you have to do. Sometimes you have to take work home, crack your head — you can’t chill after you finish work,” he explains. “As a TOC, you never know what’s coming next. When you come in, and the previous shift highlights a ‘red alert,’ you have to solve it. You have to pick up things fast and get into the task of solving problems quickly. It’s very unpredictable, but you never take your work home.”
He finds the challenges of being a TOC markedly different from those faced by developers: “The most difficult aspect of this job is delivering bad news or convincing a customer to accept our proposed workaround, and working with internal personnel to accept customer escalations,” he notes. This is because a TOC typically has to ensure there is approval from key business units and the management before they can offer certain solutions to the customer. “We’re sandwiched between the internal teams and the customers,” he notes. TOCs have to work hard, but also smart, to ensure everyone is happy.
Since joining 24/7 support, Tze Lin has found his personal sweet spot on the job, taking on more operational responsibilities that capitalize on his passion for making people happy. When he realized that his colleagues also found the shift rotation unsatisfying, he took on the task of finding an optimal shift rotation pattern. The current four-day working week — with two-week blocks of morning, afternoon and night shifts — is the result of his efforts. “I’m all about improving processes and making people’s lives happier and easier,” he explains. That is why he’s also actively looking into the team’s training program, working on ways to make it more structured and creating new training material for new TOCs to help shorten the learning curve. Meanwhile, he's also enjoying the opportunities he has now to do a lot more mentoring on the job.
This all is par for the course for someone like Tze Lin, who confesses to enjoying the learning process in everything he does and has a passionate desire to understand the concept behind everything around him.
Much of his efforts are also driven by his aspiration to help make the transition into the role of TOC easier for current and future colleagues. He’d like to clear the path for those who perhaps don’t yet realize they have a talent for the TOC role. But mostly, he’d like to see more people from pure code and development backgrounds give the TOC role a shot. “Quintiq’s 24/7 support team is only a year and a few months old. It’s a young team. Lots of processes need to be developed, and lots of tools need to be built. There’s a lot to learn and a real chance to be a part of a new and young team,” he extols.
As an engineer who aspired to be a developer but has found his niche in support, Kui Tze Lin exemplifies Quintiq’s philosophy of letting the way people work define their opportunities.