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INTERVIEW-6

Yutaka Komatsu, Development department

Q&A

Q1. What are your current roles and responsibilities?

I'm in charge of designing and developing Apeos PEMaster Evidence Tracker, which manages the progress of such work as accounting and procurement by tracking whether the necessary documents are prepared.

I'm handling a wide range of work, from such upstream work as designing the whole system architecture, and studying customers' needs and challenges in cooperation with system engineers, to such downstream work as coding the program and verifying operation.

Q2. What do you keep in mind while at work?

My job is to listen to customers and people from other departments, logically understand their needs, and finally create consistent programs that meet their needs. So I have to make sure that there is no misunderstanding in communicating with them. If I don't get their intentions well enough, things could go wrong and thus make me go back to or redo the previous processes later.

There is also a lot of information that only exists in the developer's mind or in the actual coding when we design and develop software. It is unrealistic to visualize all that information, and there is no need to discuss such detailed information with customers or people from other departments. So, I think that it is most important to coordinate the direction with them.

The two points that I always keep in mind are (1) grasping the objectives and preconditions, (to determine whether to share the goal image depending on each case), and (2) making decisions quickly. This is because I want to spend more time on the essential parts.

Q3. What do you think is the value of technology?

Strong concept

There are not many things that are "impossible to achieve" in the software and solution fields. We can create any products that customers want, as long as their needs are logically consistent (meaning that requirements are consistent with each other and logic can be created), provided that the time and money necessary for development are not considered.

As you can see, my work is likely to be a repetition of the whole process of listening to the needs, resolving inconsistencies, and dealing with the time and money allowed. This approach only responds to the apparent needs and would not impress customers.

In order to impress customers, I think we need a consistent concept that is worth observing. By using our software assets and accumulated know-how based on such a concept, we can provide solutions much quicker and at lower cost, and thus cover details that competitors cannot grasp in a single day.

In order to build a strong concept, in addition to knowledge of the technical field, we need to have knowledge about the environment surrounding our company and the trends, planning capabilities, and the ability to gauge future prospects. Although establishing a concept is very difficult, anyone can create a product in the solution field. Therefore, what you do is most important, and I think the ability to establish a concept is the absolute standard for determining the value of that concept.

Passion

Those who propose new concepts sincerely think about how people will feel about the new concept and how much they will be impressed. They have passion. Actually, maybe they have no choice but focusing on it because there is no established standards for determining the value of concepts.

Those who imitate hit products, on the other hand, only copy some parts of those products and then improve the specifications at a superficial level. Then they claim, "This is better than the hit product." Their standard for determining the quality of products is for competitor products, and not customer needs.

Software development includes many processes that require tiny adjustments such as the usability of a user interface. We must also deal with the uncertainties of determining optimal software behavior. I think the real difference between the developer's attitude of handling these issues with passion and belief, and the attitude based on "copying something" will be revealed in the overall usability and integrity of products.

The extensibility of software is also determined to some extent by the basic design in other fields as well. I think that the difference between an approach where users' needs are considered in the basic design and an approach where basic design is made for creating a copy will become evident over time.

"A copy cannot come close to the original" does not mean a kind of first mover advantage. It means we cannot copy the passion. How seriously we think about the customers and target products, that is, the quantity of passion, is what I consider the absolute indicator of determining a product's quality.

Q4. What do you like to do to relax or relieve stress?

I like to drink and have a good time to reduce my stress.

I like distilled liquor such as shochu and cognac better than wine and Japanese sake.

One Day - a day in my workweek

10:00 a.m. I come to work. After checking emails, I prioritize the tasks of the day and get started.
In the morning In order to prepare for a meeting to discuss the design and development of the next version of Apeos PEMaster Evidence Tracker that will be held two days later, I consider the design of the whole system architecture and prepare the presentation materials, while confirming the requirements.
Lunch I eat lunch at the company cafeteria with my coworkers.
1:00 p.m. As part of a technical investigation, I select software modules that satisfy the requirements of new features introduced to the next version. I investigate the modules, conduct trials, create demo programs, and summarize the results.
2:00 p.m. Sometimes I have one-to-two hour meetings. Since I divide the work with team members in the design process, we often need to review the designs of other members and communicate with each other to confirm the details.
In the evening Back at my desk, I check the issues reported from the market regarding the current version, and then try to resolve those issues.
10:00 p.m. I leave the office. There are days that I may stay this late.