Red River stories: Lisa Legg
Red River is all about producing exceptional results for your organisation, but it wouldn’t be possible without our exceptional team. We wanted to big up some of the people who put their heart, soul and creativity into building the best business software – people like product owner Lisa Legg.
What team do you work in, and what do you do day-to-day?
I’m the product owner team lead. I spend quite a lot of time with clients or potential clients, talking about new projects or enhancements to existing projects. I enjoy getting to know our clients’ businesses, seeing how they work and what their ethos is – I think you need to understand a business in order to be able to design software to suit its individual needs.
I talk to business owners, stakeholders and end users. I enjoy sitting with end users and hearing about their current frustrations as it always gives me a little shiver of delight when thinking about how we can solve those issues. Once we have a full understanding of the client’s goals, I’m also involved in designing the software, usually in the form of written “user stories”, supported by wireframe designs. As a team, we spend time looking at the best user experience for the end user, and we design the software around this.
When did you start at Red River, and what attracted you?
I started at Red River around seven years ago. It’s an odd story, in that I was working for another software company based in the same building and the two companies joined forces on a new project: I ended up working alongside the Red River team while still at my previous company. I was struck by Red River’s dynamic approach, their client-centred focus, their willingness to invest in their staff and skills base, and their overall professionalism. I made the decision to move on, and when Simon Pringle suggested that there may be an opportunity to join Red River, I jumped at the chance.
Tell us about your career before that
I loved art from a very young age and studied Fine Art at university. After my degree, I worked in various healthcare settings running art and craft sessions for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems. However, after a few years I felt I needed a break and I ended up taking a job at a software company as their support coordinator. I did this for a year, but became increasingly interested in what the development team were doing – it looked far more interesting than my job – so I taught myself how to program in my spare time.
I approached the development manager and asked him for a job; he grilled me on my background then told me to go away and come back with fully functioning calculator software, which I quickly did. I was offered a job as a junior developer. I was with that software company for nearly 10 years, before another stint with a second software company, then finally I joined Red River, initially as a software developer.
Did you study a technical subject?
No – Fine Art.
What’s the best part of your job? What’s the most challenging or difficult bit?
The best part is definitely the team I work with. Everyone works together towards the same goal – creating technically excellent, user-centred software that will delight our customers. The most challenging bit is juggling the diverse range of customer requirements to be sure that we provide a timely, professional and personal service to every customer.
What project, or what single thing are you most proud of here?
That’s a difficult one to answer! Perhaps that I have promoted the importance of user experience within the company: it’s a fundamental part of our software.
Do you have any advice for anyone seeking a career in software?
Look around and research the different companies and roles available, look at online resources for training (lots are free) and join clubs if possible. There are local organisations that you can follow on social media to find out what is going on around you, and clubs or one-off events that may help you get support. If you are at school or college, talk to teachers for advice.
If you are looking at this as a second career, it is a good idea to get some training under your belt first to show your commitment. Research positions and don’t be afraid to contact local tech companies for advice (don’t be put off if the first one is not very responsive; there are plenty of companies out there that would love to hear from you).
How do you like to unwind?
I enjoy curling up with a good book, or with a bucket of popcorn, the kids and a DVD. When I’m feeling more active, I enjoy dancing, and even perform a few times a year. Also, I still love to paint.