Meet the team: Matthias Hobi

Matthias is cosmopolitan, well-traveled and an alpinist. Actually, he lives in Zurich, where he also works. That is, sometimes. He is usually on the road: often visiting clients – especially in Nurnberg at the moment – or in his free time on a mountainside somewhere in the world.

  • Born: Walenstadt
  • Birthday: June 4, 1980
  • Diploma: MSc ETH Computer Science & MAS from the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Management, Technology and Economics
  • Lives in: Zurich
  • Works in: Zurich, Baden & Nurnberg at ERGO Direkt
  • Current project: ERGO Direkt
Favorite mountain: I have two: Zinalrothorn & Sichler.
Favorite music: That’s tough. Perhaps Frank Turner, Gaslight Anthem or Airborne Toxic Event?
Favorite beverage: Whisky & water, when not eating, red wine with filet of beef.
Favorite software: I think it is still Civilization.

At BSI we do not work in departments, but within projects. Sometimes in multiple projects at the same time. What challenges and advantage does this offer?

I am currently “only” working on the project for ERGO Direkt. But in 2014, I worked for five customers, and sometimes on up to three projects at the same time. That does not always make it easy to meet customers’ preferences in terms of being present on site: Every customer justifiably would like to have “as much time as possible,” but the work together with BSI staff back in the office is also important for the success of the project. The advantage of working on parallel projects is that they tend to be in different project phases at any given time: while project A is in the preparatory phase, project B is in the middle of implementation. This enables a view from “outside” on each project and helps avoid tunnel vision. Challenges in one project can sometimes be avoided from the start in another.

Besides projects, BSI is oriented upon roles. While one person may take on multiple roles, one role, in turn, may be divided among multiple people. What roles do you take on?

In addition to the role as project manager, I also assume the role of business expert: The catchword is requirements management. This involves precisely understanding the customer: What does the user need? What does management need? What does the software have to be able to do? The task of the business expert is to convert these requirements into “how the software does it” and to implement that together with the entire team.

How did you get interested in this role?

At some point I no longer wanted to “just” develop software, but to get to know and understand the entire software project procedure better, such as change management, which our customers often must operate on a grand scale during the introduction of a CRM, or find out the actual requirements between process depictions and business concepts by talking to end users. I can experience this better with the project manager and business expert roles, and I actually prefer this over developing the software itself. That is how I slid step by step into these roles. What’s nice about BSI is that I was simply able to say this and then take the first small steps. That worked well and so it is quite easy to change a role if that works. And if it doesn’t work, then you can simply switch back and no one gets upset.

How do you combine multiple roles and how do you profit from this?

Sometimes it is hard for me to separate the roles: the project manager and business expert roles interact a lot. What is important is that everyone on the project team can apply their strengths – just what the roles are called is really secondary to me. Here too I also find it extremely helpful that we don’t have rigid structures, either within a project or at BSI in general.

“Favorite hobby: being in the mountains – no matter how: ski tours, skiing, hiking, mountain climbing.”

Matthias Hobi

In your private life you tend to seek the next challenge for yourself in the mountains. Which mountain climb do you remember best?

My favorite peak is in Valais: the Zinalrothorn. The mountain has three wonderful ridges and offers a brilliant panoramic view from the peak. Even the easiest route is challenging, but all three are simply fantastic.

What peak would you like to climb at BSI?

In addition to co-designing the ERGO Direkt project in 2015, I am looking forward to helping to organize the BSI autumn exhibition together with five other BSI co-workers. The primary aim of this two-day event is to exchange know-how, as well as to learn from one another and from other customer projects. Of course, there will be no lack of fun and a party in the evening.

You undertook a trekking tour in Peru last year. What is your next destination – at BSI and privately?

I have a subscription ticket with Swiss Airlines to and from Nurnberg – we are onsite at ERGO Direkt every week. Privately, I will travel with my girlfriend at the end of 2015 to Patagonia, Argentina and Uruguay, do lots of trekking and climb a simple peak or two. Nothing spectacular, just beautiful, for pleasure. :-)