By TopUp Mama
TopUp Mama is a software development company, owing to the amazing product we have created for our customers to simplify the supply chain systems and long tedious processes in the hospitality industry. Therefore, a huge chunk of our business and team is tech/engineering.
The team works fully remote - with some in Kenya, some in Nigeria, and others in the UK- thus the rest of the team rarely gets to mingle with them. We caught up with our CTO, Andrew Kibe, and had a quick chat about what’s essential to him and on being a techie at TopUp Mama.
What are the 5 work items you never leave behind? Why? (What's in your bag?)
I carry a notebook with me wherever I go. I love writing down different ideas, and thoughts or updating my product ‘to-do’ list. There’s something about physically writing down your thoughts, therapeutic even.
Meet my 13-inch laptop (it’s my baby - ok one of my babies). It is quite powerful given its specs and has the patience to deal with all the things I throw at it. One thing I love about my backpack is the waterproof laptop compartment. I’m someone that gets caught in the rain without an umbrella, so having my laptop in a waterproof case is amazing.
Headphones and Earbuds
Music helps me concentrate and the louder, crisper and clearer the better. You can never go wrong with Pace Headsets. The option of having both Bluetooth and the cord is excellent since you don’t need to worry about the set’s charge level. The earphones are utilized on every call I have and if I need to take a walk to clear my head, they come in quite handy.
Next up are all of my chargers. I have a laptop charger, a headphone charger, and a phone charger. I’ve tried a lot of different external chargers and a lot of them last for a few months and then completely glitch out. It has been highly reliable and I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without one.
What do you love most about working remotely?
To be honest, you get much more work done by working remotely. Especially if you have a bunch of meetings and still need that concentration time to work on a solution either for your problem or what the team could be facing. I have noticed, that as a team we churn many more features/ products much faster now that we are 100% remote and also reduced distractions of being in the office. Apart from that, being a father I get to see the kids and family more. Sounds cliché, but with the amount of time I spend working, should I have been 100% in the office, I would miss out a lot - especially helping them with their homework, feeding, and helping them stick to sleeping patterns.
What have been your highlights of the year as the TopUp Mama Engineering team?
1st April 2022 - when we launched our internal customer, inventory, and order management system, both web and mobile versions aptly named Galley.
For starters, it was the first product released by the team, a totally new team, and the entire process was done in less than four months - from requirements documenting, development (backend, frontend & mobile), setting up the infrastructure, quality assurance, and finally deployment for internal customers (sales team).
Secondly, it showed the team's commitment to set deadlines when they all rallied to get all pending work done before time even with shifting and additional requirements on the product. This was quite commendable for everyone working in the team.
Lastly, internal customers quickly adopted the new platform by onboarding new customers, managing existing ones, and making orders for them. Visibility of all products on sale was more clear as well as management of all customers' orders - from creation to delivery.
The team has been busy! You recently launched TopUp Mama App, what feature do you find especially important?
For all customers, we have enabled them to view all orders they have made with us previously and can convert the previous order to become a current order without having to fill the cart again. If new products are needed, then only those products are added to the cart before checkout. We also allow the customers to specify the date & time they want the goods to be delivered and also to the various branches they may have in the markets that we operate.
We have created a specific section to show the deal's specific per customer. This helps them quickly view the offers we have on offer without having to search for the items on offer.
We never see you at the office! What is the number one thing that drags techies out of their houses to mingle with the rest of the team in your opinion?
Social occasions! We are wired differently, some come for physical activities (football, paintball, ziplining, etc.) and others for social events to know the rest of their work colleagues. Most engineers will likely come to the office for social activities that will help them know the rest of the people they work with - our internal work customers. Training and networking events also have the same effect, getting to know what others have accomplished and also benchmarking yourself with peers in the industry.
Over 3000+ restaurants use Topup Mama to purchase supplies, access credit and grow.