Name: Daniel Flynn
Designation: Agent 0056
Double Agent Role: Senior Software Consultant
Special Skills: Quantity and quality distributed across a bell curve derived by the amount of coffee consumed.
Location: Dayton, OH
Favorite Emoji: ✨
Being able to model and provide support to the client. This goes beyond what is normally required in delivery. As they had to adjust to fully remote work during the pandemic, I had to be more supportive at the personal level too. I’ve been able to be a healthy example of how to continue to make progress without hiding your head in the sand to the realities of the outside world that have made that challenging. Just because we’ve all been stuck inside doesn’t mean that our work has been unaffected.
My favorite thing about being a double agent is probably just being a consultant. The ability to have a kind of context or domain change over time, as we have client to client, and being able to switch around provides me a great opportunity to learn. I love to learn and deep dive into many different things! I am able to learn about the inner workings of a specific vertical in a business and then go somewhere else without having to change jobs. We get the pleasure of being able to experience a lot of what the world has, without having to take on the burden of looking for another job or looking for different challenges when because the nature of our work is to go around and help solve problems.. On occasion, I’ve referred to this as experiencing the breadth of possibilities without the usual stress of wanting to pivot on to something else. It’s freeing and rooting.
Without being overly cheesy or stereotypical, I would say everyone at Test Double genuinely cares about each other in ways that other companies put on their website or in their marketing. Whether it’s the way that they have supported us—not just with this past year being an absolute dumpster fire. Even prior to that, Test Double moved to an ESOP and allowed for employees to have not just a mentality of ownership, but an actual investment into the company. As well as being able to be supported to bill 36 hours and have four hours of growth time invested and built-in. And there’s an accountability layer to ensure that you are doing that and you aren’t just gonna burn out.
Something I have been mulling over a lot is the intersection of work in design and software. The two, as artforms, can function beyond being symbiotic or treated hostile. Our approaches—ranging from “iron sharpens iron” to “just become a unicorn and have expertise at both"—have been impacted heavily by project management styles, business objectives, and on occasion a lack of designers and engineers each recognizing and valuing the small things in each other’s work.
We see engineers making software decisions in user experiences while forgetting to consult with UX designers. Similarly, designers may be committing to features that cannot be built within the constraints of the existing system. On a personal level, these two have similar mental models and approaches to their work, but the disparity in the overall domains causes a natural, but often unneeded, tension.
This rift can cause software developers to stay in software developer land, designers to stay in designer land. However, I believe and have seen that there are common principles and problem sets that should welcome a unified front. The two can not just coexist, but refine each other through their own unique applications to better facilitate software delivery. The result is a better process and overall a better end result.
My wife and I are expecting our second child in September! It’s been a joy, and stress, to start transitioning our lives to including another human, and I’m ecstatic to start this new “man-to-man” defense running after two kids!
Not to be redundant, but expecting our second child. Additionally though, just returning to a sense of normalcy, or at least towards a more socially rich life, to where we can go and visit family more regularly and learn from our past year’s experiences.
A book I’ve been coming back to a lot is The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. I’ve had a large amount of transition and change in my life over the past few years and I’ve noticed that I’ve adopted a propensity to overcommit, extend, and burn out. While I’ve found some success in managing this stress, I found this book refreshing and convincing in helping remind myself of the need to rest and the importance of slowing.
Getting to both meet and get together again with coworkers. The retreats this year were super fun—and we facilitated a great way to have them remote—but to have opportunities to see people face-to-face, and have that different level of human interaction, is invaluable. It can’t easily be reproduced or replaced, nor should it. To be able to do things outside of a Zoom call, or something that feels similar or in the same space as work, with co-workers: go play foosball, get a beer, or play board games, or go to the zoo.
I love to learn about the things that other people care about. If you’re very interested in the NBA, for our friendship and relationship I love to learn all about that. I will deep dive into things that others love, because it helps me see the world from a different perspective and enjoy something else I have not experienced. Selfishly, it’s also something where I get to learn, and I love to learn. I like to learn how things work, or why people care about specific things, whether it’s their hobbies, their faith, or anything else.
This interview is based on a recorded conversation with Daniel Flynn and Cathy Colliver. It may or may not self-destruct.