spotlight | July
In this spotlight edition, we will get to know more about one of our organization's most respected and charismatic members, Juan Carlos Estrella, our Technical Services Manager. Throughout his extended professional career, he has worked in prestigious technology companies and capitalized on his knowledge in a variety of fields, ranging from programming and quality assurance to project management.
His leadership and knowledge have undoubtedly been critical in achieving our goals and providing the right solutions to our clients. We are grateful to have him as part of our Mayan Techs team and look forward to doing great things together as well as many more projects in the future.
Juan Carlos obtained his bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering and started his professional path, leading him to work at several small and large technology companies. Working in one of these companies, he met and worked together with our CTO Sergio Prieto and our VP of Marketing Jessica Prieto, which eventually brought him to Mayan Technologies. In this section, Juan Carlos talks about the work that shaped him, how he has grown professionally, and his experience working at Mayan Technologies.
What do you do at Mayan Technologies?
I am a Technical Services Manager. I am responsible for coordinating that the development team has sufficient tools and assignments to perform their work efficiently.
In addition, I help facilitate communication between the customer, CAMs, and our team, to deliver high-quality service and ensure the customer has all the information they need regarding our progress and goals.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?
One of the most interesting projects I ever worked on was implementing an ERP system (and subsequent maintenance) for an oil company. For 2 years I had to travel constantly between Spain and a small town in the middle of the Algerian Sahara (Hassi Messaoud), in an oil field in the middle of the desert.
I was as a technical and functional ERP consultant, working on configuration and adaptation of screens and financial reports to meet the requirements of the laws of the Algerian government. I learned a lot from very experienced professionals, as well as from other cultures. This development was a real Tower of Babel, having the opportunity to work side by side with people from all 5 continents was a turning point in my career, and it marked my professional and personal vision forever.
What advice would you give younger generations that are just starting a career in technology?
There are several tips that come to mind, however there are two main aspects a young IT professional must pay special attention to:
1) Keep learning and stay current in you field, since the IT market is constantly evolving, and new technologies are born.
2) Develop empathy. We live in a global environment where remote communication is common, however, we still need human interaction. Empathy helps create a good and positive environment, allowing the whole team to "pull the rope to the same side".
What do you enjoy most about working at Mayan Technologies?
The freedom to do the job. Mayan Technologies allows me to put my years of experience to work, they provide the tools to do my job the best way I can.
They fully trust me and my judgement to make the best decisions for our projects and my team. Even though I have freedom to conduct my work as I see fit, I am always provided with support when needed.
What has been the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
The biggest professional risk I've taken in my career was leaving a company where I had been working for 15 years. It was a challenging decision that caused a lot of stress and anxiety since it meant stepping out of my comfort zone and the security it had provided for 15 years.
However, I needed to continue growing, learning, and seeking new opportunities. Today, I am happy I took the risk - with great risk comes great reward, and I strongly believe I made the best decision for my career, my family, and my future.
What has surprised you most about working in this industry?
I am amazed and pleased to know how much we can help our customers. Most of them know what their end goal is, but don't know how to get there, and that’s where we, as a team, come in to help guide them every step of the way until they achieve it.
Which job has had the largest impact on you?
If we know how to look on the bright side of things, any job builds and shapes us, it gives us experience withing the areas of responsibility.
For me, working in customer service has caused the most impact in my professional career. Understanding the many ways in which customers handle their projects and how open to suggestions they can be. Helping them with a customer-centric focus to solve their problems, and how they value their level of satisfaction with deliveries has been fulfilling and has motivated me because, after all, this is what our purpose is as a service company.
How would you summerize your professional career?
I started working as a developer in a small company.
I joined Softtek, the first large Mexican IT company, as a Technical and Functional Consultant.
I transitioned to Epicor. Subsequently, my job role changed to QA Manager. Soon after, I was performing Product Manager activities as well and coordinating the QA and Development team.
I decided I was ready to welcome new challenges and opportunities, so I transitioned to a small consulting firm where I was in direct contact with customers, identifying requirements and designing new features.
In 2019, I joined the Mayan Technologies family, where I assumed the role of Technical Consultant, then I became Project Manager in the C2C Service team, and now I am Technical Services Manager, of course, always offering to contribute as much as I can to the success of the company.
Preferences + Stats
Preferred Dev Methodology - Scrum
Recommended ERP - Acumatica
Scrum Master Certified
For me, what’s most important is to grow old, and in good-health, with my family.
Juan Carlos, or Estrella as he is known at Mayan Technologies, is a proud family man. His family is his priority and, at the same time, his driving force. To start the interview and get to know Estrella on a more personal level, our conversation began with questions about his family, his life, bucket list, and personal goals.
What can you tell us about your family?
My family is composed of my wife Lucy, to whom I have been married to for 19 years, and our two children Isabella, 18, and Carlos, 13. My wife and children are very loving, easygoing people. They help keep me grounded and constantly remind me how lucky I am.
What was your biggest dream as a child?
My dream was always to visit as many places as possible. I used to watch documentaries and read articles about faraway lands, and I would imagine what life would be like there. There will always be more countries to see and people to meet, but I think that, to some extent, at different times of my life, that dream is being fulfilled.
What would you like your future self to tell you?
I would like my future me to say: "Congratulations, it worked out! The mistakes we made gave us experience and the successes did not make us lose sight of what really matters. In life there will always be negative and positive facets, but the result of our life is defined in happiness".
What is the most important lesson you have learned?
The most important lesson I've learned is to be empathetic with others, to attempt to understand why others act the way they do by putting myself in their shoes rather than in my own. That is something I never used to do, but my years have shown me how important it is.
Which has been the best vacation you've taken with your family?
We really enjoy going to the beach, but my favorite trip has got to be when we spent a few days in a cabin in the Sierra de Santiago.
We enjoyed it to the fullest because there was no cellphone reception, so there were no distractions. We just spent our time together as a family; playing, cooking, and admiring the local wildlife (deer, foxes, wild turkeys, and even bears, which were already accustomed to the human presence).
Do you have any pets?
Yes, we have a husky named Hiro. He was a gift from my daughter’s friend and Hiro has been living with us for the past three years.
What do you enjoy doing most during your free time?
I have 2 very different hobbies that are my passions:
Soccer, I am a big fan of the soccer team Rayados de Monterrey and at the same time, I also play soccer, my preferred positions, and where I perform best, are as a midfielder and forward.
Folk dance, I started this hobby as a teenager and continued it for 20 years. This was an excellent way to stay physically fit, and at the same time, a way to continue the traditions and customs of Mexico. Today I practice it sporadically, but now it is also a family practice since my daughter is also part of the ballet where I participate.
Tips from Our Experts
We have the privilege of working with very talented experts, each in their areas. Why not share some of that knowledge. Here are Juan Carlos' best practices when working on a development project.
Drafts, not final designs – It often happens that the design is delivered on a “back of a napkin note”. There are cases in which the designs of features are explained in a visual draft or 4-line text and from there go directly to development and testing. Design time is one of the most important parts of development, good design leads to good coding, good QA, good documentation, good security, mitigates rework and facilitates the work of development engineers.
Empathy and customer-centricity – Put yourself in the client's shoes – When the client tells you about a problem that needs to be solved, put yourself in their shoes, frame it, explore, envision, and design the desired horizon, to offer several alternative solutions, not just one, respecting your customers’ processes as much as possible. In this way, you make sure that the client analyzes the problem from other perspectives, resulting in a better problem-solution fit, and this is the beginning of what will be a more complete solution aligned to your customer’s tech-market need.
Let's Change hats - it is of great value for the team in a project, that as far as possible, they change their roles (hats). The developer can at a given time put on the QA hat, and vice versa, and this gives added value to the team and people. The developer will know the fine details that must be paid attention to, so that QA approves his deliverables, and at the same time, the QA will know the difficulties that development has to carry out to deliver in time and form. This cannot always be done for time constraints, but if it is possible, it is a great added value for the team. Thus, everyone will be an expert in their field, but will have a comprehensive and global vision of the project. Changing hats allows team building, finding complementary strengths and hidden abilities in others and ourselves, that otherwise would never be discovered.
Here is a small glimpse into Juan Carlos' personal and professional journey.
Did You Know?
Here are three things you probably didn't know about Juan Carlos Estrella:
Estrella has always wanted to learn to play the violin and hopes to take the time to do so.
His favorite book, “The Physician”, by Noah Gordon.
Estrella has traveled to Europe to participate in art festivals with the Ballet Folklórico.
Thank you for reading this month's Spotlight article, where featured team members provide insight into their job at Mayan Technologies and detail what their role encompasses while opening up about their personal life.
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