Pouya Abadi joined WiseTech at the start of 2022 and has since been promoted to Software Engineering Team Leader. With more than 20 years’ experience as a software developer, Pouya says it’s the ability to solve real-world problems and the constant challenges he faces that has kept him engaged and excited throughout his career.
We spoke to Pouya about his first impressions of WiseTech and our culture, the importance of mentoring and what he enjoys about being a team lead.
You’ve been a software developer for more than 20 years, what’s kept you interested?
I decided to study computer engineering because I was good at math, so software development seemed like the logical next step. I used to play computer games, and at that time, you could see the code and make small changes and see how the game changes which fascinated me, so I decided to pursue it further.
There are so many things that have kept me interested, but the most important thing is that I’m able to solve real problems and then see the impact they make in other people's lives. Also, I enjoy problem solving itself, so the journey is the destination for me.
Aside from money, the most interesting thing in software engineering has been the constant challenges that it brings. Software engineering is very dynamic, it never stops, and you never stop. You're always learning new stuff, and you're always facing new challenges that you need to push yourself to think about, which is very interesting to me.
Why did you decide to join WiseTech and what were your first impressions?
First of all, I became familiar with WiseTech through the news and LinkedIn, and I was interested in our CEO Richard’s philanthropic work. Secondly, I felt like logistics would be an interesting and future-proof industry to work in.
My first impression was ‘wow, this proves me wrong, here is a big company that knows what they're doing’. I think WiseTech is one of the rare gems that has become quite big, but they haven't forgotten about their origins. They haven't become this big corporation that doesn't care about the people or the impact they’re making in the world.
WiseTech definitely cares about the people who are working here, and they also care about their customers and society.
What do you enjoy about working in the logistics industry?
The logistics industry is a completely new domain to me. I didn't know anything about it before joining WiseTech, and I'm enjoying learning a whole new set of rules, interactions, and processes that I didn't know existed before.
Like something imported from another country that's packed in Australia, you use it without even realizing how much effort has gone into making this available to you and how seamless all that effort is. Even if a small part of that whole process falls apart, you won't get that seemingly simple thing that has a complex process behind it. Logistics is the foundation of our civilization.
What was it like being promoted to a team lead?
A team leader is quite an interesting position, because you still work as a developer, but you also need to have good communication skills to be able to unblock people, to lead conversations and to be able to marry schools of thought. And that's something that doesn't come innately to most people. It's a skill that you need to develop, which is what I think makes this role quite interesting.
When I joined the company, I had some experience being a leader. But WiseTech has also supported me by enrolling me in in the Leadership Foundations course, which I find very useful and I learn new things every week. I also have a mentor who has been with WiseTech for quite a while, so they give me more insight into how things work here.
I enjoy my role as a team lead very much because I get to mentor new developers and see them grow. At the same time, it gives me the opportunity to not just be focused on the technical side, but also be able to see the bigger picture and try to solve the bigger problem. I can ask why this is required, and then create a vision about the product and see that vision implemented by those developers that I mentored, it's quite satisfying.
How do you approach mentoring the younger team members?
When mentoring younger team members, I tend to be very flexible. Every person is unique, they have different challenges and strengths, so every person needs a different approach to mentoring. That's my belief, you can't have a script for everyone. So I could have daily sessions with one person, work through with them on what to work on. And with another person, I might just give them the tasks that I feel they would benefit from learning and tell them to come to me if they have questions. It really depends on the personality of each person.
It's very rewarding to see team members progress. I would compare it to seeing your kid learn new things. When I have a team member come to me with something they can't solve, and I solve it with them, then next time we have a similar task and I see they didn't go to anyone and just solved it by themselves – It's quite satisfying. To know that you were part of what made that change is very rewarding.
How would you describe the culture at WiseTech?
WiseTech doesn't have a hard set of rules that everyone has to follow, you have general principles that you're encouraged to follow. You’re encouraged to make it work for your team, so every team has implemented this culture a little bit different. That’s actually very interesting and fascinating to me to see how teams work differently in WiseTech.
I also really enjoy the hybrid model. I have a young family with two kids, and before COVID, I used to work mostly from the office and I honestly don't know how I managed to do that. The hybrid model means so much to me in terms of work life balance, and being there for my family. If something goes wrong, I'm there to immediately help address it. And just being able to see my kids’ faces more often. As a parent, what more can you ask for?
What is your favorite WiseTech mantra?
There are several of WiseTech’s mantras that really clicked with me. One of them is ‘anyone can talk to anyone at any time for any reason’. I hate bureaucracy, when there is a decision to be made if you have to jump through hoops to get it done, it just slows everything down. Whereas in WiseTech, you can go to the source of the decision, present your case, and you can arrive at a decision quickly which makes everything much more efficient.
The second mantra is ‘slower today, faster forever’. So when you're implementing a solution, you're allowed to take your time, come up with the better design, the better solution, ask your questions, ask your whys, and build something that you know will stand the test of time and not just something that you have to deliver to a deadline. It’s really about quality over speed.
Why do you think an experienced software engineer should consider joining WiseTech?
First of all, the most important thing that WiseTech brings to the table is stability. You know WiseTech is here to stay, and it's here to grow. So you get a stable job that is in a future-proof industry, and the confidence to know that you can grow your job as much as you want to.
The second aspect that's quite attractive to me is there is the real-life impact that it brings to other people's lives, be it through the product I'm helping to develop, or through philanthropy that WiseTech is doing. This is quite satisfying for me.
And the third aspect is that there are so many talented people here. You get the opportunity to learn something new from all different people, whether it’s technical, communication skills, leadership skills, you get to learn something new every day.