Dot every ‘I’ and cross every “t”. Never let anything go. Nothing can be [left as] good enough. Good enough is not good. In software, good enough catches up with you.”
André may have recently retired as CTO of Temenos, but he is still very much a Temenosian. “I popped into the Hemel office recently to say hello. Within five minutes I was on a con call,” he says from his home in Hertfordshire.
That André remains so connected to the company should be no surprise. He is part of the core team that has been with Temenos right from the start. As a coder, he really can be said to be the author of the company’s success.
His work lies behind the end of batch processing and the drive to real-time banking software, to having a single-code base, to year-on-year improvements. “When we launched T24 [the company’s integrated core banking solution, now called Temenos Transact], we initially thought that would be it. We had a banking system that operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week that could be parameterized. It was the first that could truly manage 24-hour banking. But no. You have to launch new frameworks, new functionality every year. You can never say that’s it. Never sit back,” he says.
But it’s not just his drive to constantly introduce the new that made André’s contribution to Temenos stand out. It was also his attention to detail when it comes to coding. “You must dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’. Never let anything go. Nothing can be [left as] good enough. Good enough is not good. In software, good enough catches up with you,” he says.
He also understood that as the company grew, so the pressure on the software would grow, too. This was particularly relevant to how Temenos solved bugs. He realized that patching for individual clients was unsustainable once they numbered in their hundreds, as it would undermine the notion of a single code base. “We abandoned patching for updates sent automatically to clients. The year I told TCF that we would no longer offer patches there was a long queue of very worried people waiting to talk to me straight after,” he says.
And as the company grew, André was also adamant that there should be no inner cabal of all-knowing developers and coders. Rather that everyone on the development side should know and understand the code thoroughly.
“It’s really important not to have just me or a few people who really understand it. So I would get new recruits to re-engineer old parts of the code,” he says, adding: “The mission must be to always leave the code better than you found it, whoever you are. That way the company will keep going, stay relevant.”
“The mission must be to always leave the code better than you found it, whoever you are. That way the company will keep going, stay relevant.”
And the fact that André has been named a Temenos Fellow, despite having now retired, very much says the same about him.