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I have a burning question to start us off. I’ve just heard you have a pet chicken. Is that right?
No. I have three chickens. And they’re all called Betty. We have Speckled Betty, Grey Betty and, of course, Black Betty. They lay three eggs a day which is great, although the early morning noise is less great. I have to get up to let them out at 6 am, before the neighbours starting throwing things at our windows.
You’re from Pembrokeshire. Where’s your favourite spot to visit when you go back home?
Definitely Newgale beach. It’s a two-mile stretch of pure sandy shingle-backed beach. During school holidays, I’d work at the beach shop. It’s a really fun place to hang out and the view is just amazing.
When did you start working at DenGro? Do you remember the first project you worked on?
I started working at DenGro full-time around two and a half years ago. The first feature I worked on was DenGro’s smart task management. Back then, there wasn’t a clear task list. Users could see the number of leads that required follow-up, but there wasn’t a clear breakdown of tasks for each lead.
Today, DenGro’s smart tasks make lead management really simple for users. The prompt system means a lead can’t get lost – or orphaned, as we call it. You follow-up every lead until they either confirm they no longer want treatment or they successfully convert from lead to patient.
How has tool changed since then?
DenGro went live a few months after I joined. The smart tasks feature was the first big update. Integration with third-parties was another major milestone. The first integration was Facebook. Being able to track leads from Facebook ads was a game changer for users. So was our form builder, which lets users build a form in DenGro that sits on their practice website.
In the last year, we’ve added practice management integration, so clients can hook DenGro into practice management software such as Dentally. We’re constantly adding features that really benefit users.
What are your typical responsibilities on DenGro?
The work can be split into two categories: feature development and customer support. Developing a new feature may take four or five weeks. Day-to-day, I help Sara complete customer support requests. I spend the rest of my time scoping and costing future feature development.
Tell me more about the dev team. Are your favourite topics of conversation as nerdy as we think?
Yes! We’re PHP specialists, and Laravel is our PHP framework tool of choice. A lot of our conversations revolve around that. We recently travelled down to London for Laravel Live. Being in a room with 400 like-minded developers helps reinforce your knowledge. We spend a lot of time talking about the Laravel ecosystem.
What’s the most interesting part of working on DenGro?
Seeing the sheer volume of leads and how they progress through the conversion journey to become patients is really fascinating. Building features is great, but it’s more interesting to see how people use those features to dig into their data.
When you spend all day looking at the system from a development perspective, you sometimes forget to appreciate just how powerful an effect the software has on the practices using it. Seeing users get value out of DenGro is really satisfying.
If you could implement a new feature, what would it be?
We’re looking at implementing an in-app chat feature. Users could communicate with leads over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, etc. all from within DenGro. That’s a feature I’d really like to see added.
Last up, tell me one thing about yourself that would surprise your colleagues.
Well, before software development, I really wanted to be a carpenter. I only went to university because all my friends were going. I didn’t want to be left out, so I went off and studied computer science. That’s when I discovered a love of building websites and I pursued that in my professional life. It seemed like a logical transition in some ways. I still build stuff: I just shifted from physical things to virtual things.