Adam Ratliff: 4 minute read

Who Am I? Ben Best

As part of our walk in the shoes challenge, we are walking, running, hopping and generally moving around the United Kingdom. As we pass our customers on the route, we are donating to local food banks to raise awareness of child poverty and in particular, The Child Poverty Action Group.

Our journey recently passed London, which houses our head office. Located in Teddington, our head office provides us with a base of operations and it is one in which we hope to welcome everyone back to over the coming year.

Teddington also houses one of our OLMers, Ben Best, who has been with us for more than ten years. Joining in December of 2010, he is now a Development Team Lead, proud father, member of our walk in the shoes challenge, and amateur actor.

About Me – Ben Best

Before taking the plunge and joining OLM in December of 2010 I was a Team Lead and Senior Developer at a web agency in Soho, mostly working with fashion brands. It was a role that I enjoyed but following on from a conversation with a friend who was working for OLM, I decided to apply.

Meeting everyone at the interview really opened my eyes as to what I could accomplish. The opportunity to do something “good” stood out. The chance to develop the latest technologies to make life easier for those working within health and social care was something I couldn’t say no to. The lack of a commute was a great bonus too!

My first day was also the day of the Christmas Party. As such it was rather odd, but everyone was really warm and friendly, so I soon felt at home. I met the team that I would be working with, started to get my head around some of the work that we’d be doing, and then we all went off to the venue.

My journey at OLM

I began my OLM journey as a software developer in which I was responsible for solving any issues that arose with code. From here I moved into the role of the technical architect, in which I helped set the technical roadmap for our software. Now today, I am a Chapter Lead.

Within my current position, I have management responsibility for two teams of developers. Alongside this, I am a tribe lead, responsible for the overall work that the tribe does. These are complementary roles and provide different challenges.

  1. The chapter lead is the more traditional of the roles, with management responsibility, weekly check-ins with every team member, approving holidays, and dealing with any problems that arise.

  2. The tribe lead is focused more on understanding the work that we are doing, where we are with it, and being sure that we are communicating clearly with our key stakeholders.

My average day then looks as follows:

  • Look at my calendar and figure out what meetings I am in
  • Write a couple of sentences for each one to ensure that I am prepared and clear on what they will be
  • Look at what did not get done yesterday and put together a list of what I am doing today
  • Run the morning briefing calls, which then run into two or three one to ones with team members, during the day
  • Look at any code that needs reviewing and try and get a release built to go out that night
  • Meetings, usually about the progress of the work we’re focused on
  • Quick afternoon calls for both teams and helping with any developers that are stuck.

Favourite Memories of working at OLM

Helping customers with their pain points and cross the line is always something that stands out for me. For me, the weekend in which Birmingham City Council went live with ECLIPSE is a key memory. I was supporting those who were on site. When it all was signed off and delivered there was such a huge sense of relief, joy, and a wave of exhaustion. The work which we complete is challenging, but also rewarding.

What I enjoy more than anything else working here is the knowledge that I’m doing good things with good technology and great people.

Above and Beyond

Someone recently asked me where I see myself in ten years’ time. That is something that is a challenge to answer at any age, but for me, I’d like to be pushing the boundaries at OLM, with a bigger team, helping people, and doing exciting and interesting things. My children will also be 16 and 20 by this point in time, which is a thought that terrifies me.

I am inspired by many people personally, but someone who sticks out is Margaret Hamilton – The lead software engineer on the Apollo missions. Hers is a fascinating story there more people should know.

Child Poverty

Being a father myself I imagine what it must be like for families who are unable to afford the basics in life. It was for this reason that I was excited to join the awareness-raising of OLM’s Walk in the shoes challenge.

I am proud to be part of an organisation that wants to do what it can to make a difference to those struggling with bills, or where there is exactly nothing left after essential outgoings are paid

A Final Thought

Those who work for OLM make the organisation what it is and without them, we are nothing. They are the heart and soul of the company, and ahead of our 30th year in operation, we want to share their stories. We are proud of our achievements and of those who make them happen. We are OLM and at a time of great change for the nation, we are proud to continue forward, making a difference to those working in health and social care.

If you have ever thought about a career in technology, we would love to hear from you. Our current vacancies are listed here.