A Day in the Life of … Head of Development

A Day in the Life of … Head of Development

Morning jay-alphey-development

I love a cycle ride in on a sunny morning as the sun comes up. 1Spatial is only ten minutes from home. It’s not going to make me fit, but the ride helps me get my plans straight for the day ahead. I got used to early starts when I worked cross-site with a team in India and it still works well for me.

It helps that there’s a decent Nespresso coffee waiting at the office.

At 1Spatial, we continuously review how we can improve and strengthen team identity. Stable self-managing teams help us share skills and reduce work in progress. The team seating and positioning is even considered in this process to make sure that teams are grouped in the most conducive way. We have a circular desk arrangement in place which makes it easy for teams to share ideas. Makes me think of those old westerns when they pull up the wagons in a circle for 360 degrees vision.

We’re always looking to achieve the ideal “team circles” and have also carved out some space for our fledgling “Test Guild” that keeps them together while overlapping with the teams they work in. A nice note just came in from our Ireland team to say they like the idea but their “team circle” would be 300km diameter as they work remotely.


As part of the induction process today, I will be catching up with one of our new Product Owners, who has been mostly offsite with a customer the last few weeks. It’s a great chance to get some input on the latest round of developments and customer needs. We can also talk through the practicalities of the Product Owner role and how we can maintain the drive for continuous improvement with Agile here at 1Spatial. Product Owners are one of the key roles linking the team with the customer and the business.


One of the US consultants is running an internal lunchtime seminar. It’s a chance for me to learn more about how 1Spatial solutions are being applied in the real world. In this case, how we are making a difference in next generation 911 in the US. Every time the emergency services are called they rely on dispatchers to get them to their destination. Mapping errors – incorrect or missing house numbers, inaccurate addresses – can lead to delays or errors in dispatch and have led to fatalities. 1Spatial solutions are being used to clean up the data and so, in the long run, save lives.

Late afternoon

Looking into training for the Product Owner role to support the teams. There’s a certification scheme but the nearest open courses are all in London. Don’t people realise that Cambridge (and I don’t mean Cambridge, MA) is a tech hub?

Looks like we’ll get a trainer to run something in-house. I had originally wondered if we had enough demand, now I’m now more concerned if we will have the capacity! Lots of interest from Product Owners, future Product Owners and people who want to learn how to work with Product Owners.

Can’t wait for the training event and to listen to the questions.

Finally, before I cycle home, preparation for an interview tomorrow. We have a promising Java developer coming in. I have been going over the structure with the interviewers and they have a good technical challenge lined up. It’s the first interview since I joined – I want to understand what she’s looking for, her capabilities and make sure she shares the 1Spatial values.

If all goes well, we will have another team member and one more step in growing the business.


Jay Alphey, Head of Development, 1Spatial

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