Hi, I’m Paul. Dad, programmer at heart, engineering leader by calling, and dungeon master during the night.
I’ve lived in three different countries, hold degrees in computer science and mathematics and am passionate about the application of software engineering principles, leadership, remote work, mentoring and storytelling.
When I’m not busy writing code or preparing for my next session of Dungeons & Dragons I spend my free time dabbling in physics, psychology, philosophy, and cooking.
Self-knowledge, introspection and self-improvement are key to me, as I always seek to grow as a person. I lead my life with a principled approach and value integrity, ownership, freedom, and high-quality, sustainable work. I’m always working on how to better live up to these values, and sharing what I learn with others.
I started programming in my early teens, creating small games and tools. I quickly gained a deep appreciation of game and UX design while also specialising more and more into high-performance and graphics programming, which remain a passion of mine to this day.
In univerity, a combination of mathematics, computer science and game technology studies backed up my existing programming skills with a deep theoretical and technical background.
All this led me to co-found my own loosely-knit game development studio and publish a game on Steam.
Over the years, I came to appreciate the great value and utility of good engineering principles. I’ve learned how clean code and clean architecture enables developers to produce high-quality software at long-term sustainable velocity. I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as “quick and dirty” and even if there was, it would hardly ever be desirable.
I continue to develop games and various game and general utility libraries, most of which are freely available on GitHub. This allows me to continue developing my software craftsmanship skills and practice disciplines like TDD and Agile even when I don’t always have the chance to use them professionally.
I’ve led software projects and teams ever since I fell into that role in university. While I never sought to be a leader, my high-ownership approach to solving problems often had those responsibilities collect around me naturally.
Later, I joined Toggl as a developer but quickly had the opportunity to hire, build and lead a highly productive team. Here, I’ve been working on my leadership skills, developing them from a merely intuitive approach to one incorporating state-of-the-art psychology and the experiences of many of the greatest leaders of the last century.
Focussing on building relationships and developing high-quality software that solves real problems at sustained velocity, my approach can be broadly summarised as a mix between Extreme Ownership and the Agile Manifesto. The details of course highly depend on the situation.
Through many trials, and some significant errors, I now lead Toggl’s engineering department where I am responsible for the company’s technical direction and strategy, implementation of our company and product vision and the development of our developers, engineering leaders, and engineering culture.
From tutoring in high school to being a teaching assistant and lecturing at university, I’ve always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experiences of things I’m passionate about.
Professionally, I’ve focussed on enabling and empowering others to succeed with as little help from me as possible for years. I have regular one-on-one chats with my leadership team and many other colleagues and mentor and guide them towards succeeding with their team.
I specifically focus on growing leadership skills in those around me and on promoting an engineering culture of high quality and constant improvement. I prepare and give regular presentations and workshops around these topics to reach as many people as possible while also deepening my own knowledge through research.
I guide my team of leaders to be as independent as they can when translating company vision and mission into more concrete strategies and plans. Through improving their understanding of where we are going as a company, I make sure that they can make the best decisions possible day-to-day without the need for any micromanagement. This makes their teams much more efficient and significantly increases ownership and motivation of all team members.
Through these activities, I’ve been helping many individuals become more effective leaders and their teams to be more productive.
Are you or your team looking to improve your leadership skills or engineering culture? I’d be happy to have a chat and see if I could help you with that.