Meet our Colleague Tammy.
Tamunoemi Ockiya – Tammy (36) – is currently supporting the CCG administrative team at Loughborough University with the development of new reporting tools. Here we find out a little bit more about him, his journey to Loughborough and his aspirations for the future.
Tell us about what you’re studying at Loughborough.
I’m studying software project management. I’m doing a PhD that’s actually based on remote teams. What we’ve noticed in the industry post COVID is that most software projects fail – more than 70% – and that’s in part because of remote and hybrid working. The good thing about co-working spaces is that you can grab a coffee together and have certain conversations that help the project. With meetings on Zoom and Teams, there’s this air of officiality that prevents that informality. We realized that, because that human touch and that personal thing is no longer there, software projects tend to fail more. So, my research is about understanding what the problem is and how we can solve it for the industry basically.
That’s fascinating because presumably now remote working is here to stay so you need a way to solve it that doesn’t involve people being back in the same room again.
Yes, so the first thing is to identify what those causes are, and a lot of questions have been asked around this. Most researchers focus on technology, so we have more tools like Beat, Zoom, Moto, more collaborative tools, more project management tools. You have things like Slack and JIRA to get people to work together more but that has not solved the problem. My research is focused on the human factor. I think there’s something in us that wants us to just connect, but if you connect via screen, that relationship is not as it should be, and it reduces certain commitment levels.
Yes, we do the work because we’re paid to do the work, but the value we get doing the work when we are in co-located spaces and when we can have certain conversations is different and that affects a whole lot of things. My PhD is going well actually, so that’s good.
I wrote a paper that was accepted for a journal and I’m attending the conference to have further conversations with industry partners sometime in November.
Excellent. And what do you hope to do after that?
Back to the industry. So basically, I did my master’s about nine years ago. I was practicing before I came to do my PhD and I was a team lead of a company doing software projects and this was one of the issues we experienced. That is why I came back to do research about it.
I don’t want my project to be something that will be on the shelf somewhere in some library. I want it to be used within the industry, so I’m focused on actionable and value driven work.
And do you see that as you starting your own company or joining an existing company to bring your expertise to them?
It’s funny you asked this question because I actually started two companies. The first one failed because we had too much success, which is a reason you don’t often hear. I started with a few friends of mine a few years ago when I did my undergrad in Singapore. Going back to Africa, we were ahead of the competition and stuff and money started pouring in. Unfortunately, that caused conflict in our team so we couldn’t continue.
So after that I went to work for some people for a few years before starting my second company, which is actually still running back home. It’s basically remote work so, whenever we have projects, we have developers all over the world that I call on to do different jobs and we meet online, we do the job and we submit and that’s it.
And you mentioned home there, where is home for you?
Nigeria, I live in Port Harcourt. It’s a beautiful place and I can’t wait to get back home.
Tell us about your journey to Loughborough
Funnily enough, IT was not my first course. I did something in chemical engineering because back at home petroleum basically was our mainstream. So I did petrochemical engineering and then I got a scholarship to go to Singapore to do information systems & software engineering. After that I went back home to do my para-military service. Immediately after that I came back to the UK and did my master’s at Brookes University in Oxford. Then I went back home again and started my company. After Loughborough I will see where the world leads me again; I’m a globetrotter!
And what about family?
I am married with two beautiful girls aged four and six, and it’s been a beautiful journey. I’m more of a family kind of guy, and I place a lot of value with respect to that.
So briefly, what are you doing for CCG right now?
Basically, I started out as project support, mostly with respect to CCG’s data. I am using Qualtrics to streamline data collection and data processing and I’m also supporting other projects as the need arises. I just try to help as much as I can in whatever capacity I find myself basically.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not working?
Well, I go to my church, and I love playing chess. I also love to cook; I just go to the store, buy things, and try to make something new out of it. That’s fun for me.
How do you feel about working with CCG?
It’s actually been a very exciting journey meeting new people, people with the heart to give back to society in this manner and try to make our world better. I’m happy that I am here at this point in time. It’s exciting work, just learning about the different research that comes out of the programme and the lives that have been affected, the economies that have been affected. It’s remarkable getting to meet the people behind that success.