Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish

Today marks five years since I started working at Íslandsbanki, and as of today, I have resigned my position with the company.

Now five years is not a long time, yet much has happened since my first day at the office.

I got hired into a newly formed team of experts, each with their own deep knowledge in respective niches, that was given the mandate to “shake things up” in the IT product space at the bank. As most members of the team were new hires, each one of us was free from any historical baggage and norms that could become a hindrance in delivering on that goal.

Subsequently the velocity the team experienced during the initial years was unlike anything I have ever experienced before.

The first project that we worked on, was creating a premium card management application called ‘Kort’. And it only took the team around 6 months to design, implement and launch the product.

As a follow up to that, the team was handed the task of adding mobile payment functionality (also known as NFC payments) to the application, with a fairly tight time frame for delivery.

This was an exhilarating project that required many puzzle pieces to come together. But it was also a bit of a hectic time.

At one point during the project, the IT department traveled to Kiev to meet face to face with our Ukrainian colleagues. Since the deadlines for the project had not changed, my suitcase was packed with more personal payment terminal gadgets than clothing, so that the work could continue.

Then there was the time when I had to send in some unexpected last minute patches, from a rooftop terrace in Florence Italy (the terrace had a very nice view though).

And like before, the team delivered in record time. Mobile payments from start to finish in less than 6 months!

Seeing the fruits of the labor that the team put in was immensely fulfilling to me as well as seeing the media campaign that followed:

At around a similar time as the payments were launched, discussions started around what to do with the older personal finance app that had started to show its age at this point and was written in a framework for which there was not much internal know-how for.

In the end the decision was made to move all of the personal finance functionality into the ‘Kort’ mobile client. This meant that all of the new functionality would require a complete re-write along with modifications to the service layer. On top of all that, the whole underlying server side authentication process was switched out for a new system.

Given all this there were many plates being spun at the same time, and the team experienced many ups and downs along the way, followed by some big changes in the team’s composition.

In the end though, we were successful in releasing a mobile client that fulfilled on the vision that had been laid out, now simply called ‘Íslandsbanki’.

And as the pandemic swept the globe, the team did not sit idle but kept up with releasing new features and evolving the client through out that strange period.

For all that said and done though, my reasons for leaving have much to do with having supported my partner through two cancer treatments in as many years, as well as the effects that having experiencing burnout has had on me. It has left both of us with a different mindset for the future.

I would like to thank my manager Jóhannes, the whole mobile team as well as the human talent team, for the support that they gave us during these difficult times. It genuinely helped immensely!

Looking back over those 5 years, reminds me that I have had the chance to meet and work with some amazingly talented people and that the connections made over this time are by far the most valuable thing I walk away with.

And so, in the end, all that is left to do is to leave you with the immortal words of Douglas Adams…