To get through some rough days, sometimes you just have to focus on the simple things in life. For John Sutcliffe, whose days are spent in a sea of bug fixes, features tests, and Jira cards, that simple thing is often a refreshing IPA.
Sounds good to us.
This is A Workday With John Sutcliffe, Head of Product at Addigy.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve built software my entire career. I was always on the engineering side of things until I joined Addigy, where I’m responsible for our product.
What time do you rise and shine?
I used to get up at 6 a.m. But now it’s closer to 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. because everyone is working from home due to lockdowns.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
A bagel and French press coffee. Dark roast is my go-to.
What’s the first work-related task you tackle each morning?
I usually chat with QA and then do some testing. I’m testing new features, bug fixes, etc. Basically focusing on testing things that were completed in the last 24 hours.
What is your workspace setup?
I have a standup desk arriving soon. This is my current setup.
What’s the most interesting/fun/meaningful thing on your desk?
The most interesting thing I have is my Summit Sága IPA fluorescent light that we won at the state fair two years ago. My wife threw a name in the hat at one of the beer vendors and our name was drawn. It’s meaningful to me because IPA is what life is all about at the end of the day. It’s what I work for.
What’s one piece of tech you can’t live without?
I love my laptop. I have a 15-inch Macbook Pro and have been a Mac guy for a long time. It’s a great machine, and I don’t go anywhere without it.
What do you need to get done before lunch to feel like you had a productive morning?
I’ve been able to make progress on the cards on our Jira board. Jira is a software that helps us track the products that we build for our Apple device management platform. Basically, these cards drive our life. I use them when I’m writing product requirements or finishing up testing or making decisions. Those cards show how those pieces work and get through the system.
What are you listening to these days?
I have a very diverse Spotify channel. Some of my favorites are Michigander, Black Keys, anything blues, along with classic rock and indie rock.
What is your current TV obsession?
We just finished “Ozark.” I can’t give too much anyway, but the last season was “wow!” We’re late to the game on “Game of Thrones,” so we’re going through that now. I don’t think I have a favorite character yet, but my most hated character is definitely Joffrey.
What’s the last movie you saw and what would you rate it (out of five stars)?
I saw the “[Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker]” in theaters. I give it a four out of five. The last movie I streamed was “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” which I’d give a five out of five.
What book would we find on your nightstand?
“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams and “Pro Cycling On $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro” by Phil Gaimon.
Cats or dogs?
The best part about living in Minnesota is…
Summer. I’m a cyclist and I love to ride. I enjoy hot days, obviously because that’s better riding weather. That makes me ask why I live in Minnesota.
How do you fend off the post-lunch lull?
I just stay dug in and keep working.
What do you use to stay organized during a hectic day?
I just stay dug in and keep working.
What’s a recent work-related challenge you had to conquer? Walk us through your process.
A lot of folks who don’t usually work remote are now doing so, and that’s presented new challenges for us as a team. For example, the product team works closely with engineering and operations. But now that everyone isn’t in an office, we’ve had to make sure that communication stays super tight. We do that through Slack calls, GoToMeeting calls, and just generally checking in with people.
We also catch-up with our teams on a personal level, too – how’s your life, how are the kids, etc. It’s really easy to lose relationships that you’ve built from being in the office when you go fully remote, so it’s important to stay connected however you can. I miss the face time I had with my coworkers and grabbing a beer after work.
What’s one thing everyone could do to be more productive?
Turn off notifications, at least for short spurts. Whatever your Slack equivalent is, shut it down for a couple hours. Just make sure your team knows that you’re doing it.
What’s the last work-related thing you do every day?
I talk to some of our later workers. One of my coworkers is in Portland, so I’ll talk to him later in the day. Also, the guy who runs our operations team works a lot, so I catch up with him at the end of the day to understand what he’s seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. I also use time at the end of the day to get writing done, like when I need to draft product requirements or write updates for customers about product updates.
How do you decompress at the end of a long workday?
I’ll have a beer in our screened-in porch on the back of our house. I also like to ride my bike for a couple hours, take the dog for a walk, and hang out with my wife.
What time do you usually hit the hay?
About 11 p.m. I usually read for an hour before.
Photos courtesy of John Sutcliffe.
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