Humans of iQmetrix: Hon Yee, Retail Product

Next up in our Humans of iQmetrix mini-profile series, we have Hon Yee, Development Lead, Retail Product. 

Hon is a hockey, cycling, photography, and cooking enthusiast, with a background in software development for some impressive institutions.

His senior colleague Lindsay Layne describes Hon as authentic, proactive, empathetic, and insightful.” Here’s a bit more about this Edmonton resident.

iQmetrix: Tell us a bit about your role at iQmetrix and how long you’ve been here.

Hon: I manage two teams in the wider Retail Product team — RQ Mobile and our Perseus team. Essentially, I work as a scrum master for my two teams in terms of their software development, I work on process improvement, and I work on career growth for my developers. I work a lot with the Product Development Leadership Group and the other development leads, so I’m more on the people side of things, focusing on team health and productivity. I’m also responsible for our team surveys, feedback, onboarding, and various other aspects of teamwork. Each team has a dev lead, that’s me, plus a tech lead and a product owner — so we’re a trio that manages different aspects, with my role managing the people side. 

I’ve been at iQmetrix since June 2020, but I’ve only recently moved to the Retail Product side. Originally, I was hired as a Product Manager in Research and Development, then I moved to being Development Lead in Enterprise Services, and now I’m leading these two Retail Product teams. When I moved over to being a dev lead, I honestly had no idea what a dev lead was, if I had the right skillset, or even if I wanted to do it. But I ended up really liking it and I learned a lot of different skills.

Aside from your personal career path, how have you found working at iQmetrix?

The experience and the culture — they’re very different for me. I was previously a government worker of 11 years, so it’s a very different vibe. The culture is actually what led me to move over to iQmetrix, as the cultural interview was amazing. I just felt like it was a very welcoming, very balanced place to work, and it has been. Every individual here has their opportunity to shine, you’re not just a cog in the wheel, and everybody’s treated with respect.

What was your professional background, and the story that got you to iQmetrix?

I graduated from the University of Alberta from computing science, so I was mainly a developer. I worked many different jobs before becoming a developer for a blood transfusion software company that worked with the United States Department of Defense, which was super interesting. Blood transfusion, especially in the US military, is no joke, so the software was literally not allowed to have any bugs. That was an awesome experience for me.

Then I was a BlackBerry mobile developer for a startup company, which had a fun startup culture, and then I worked for a construction company doing construction management software for a year. And then I landed at the AGLC, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, which is now Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis. I was a developer there for around five or six years, focusing on liquor management and casino asset management software.

All in all, I was a developer for 10 years, and then I kind of fell out of love with development. I didn’t think it was for me anymore going forward, so I became a business analyst, which is kind of the liaison between the coders and the business. And I would gather requirements from the business and write the requirements for the developers and be able to talk both languages — business and coding. I was a business analyst, still at AGLC, for three years, then I became the team lead for 14 other business analysts.

At that point, cannabis became part of the equation, and my last job for AGLC was helping to stand up their entire new cannabis division. I had a lot of responsibilities in that area, but my main role was the ecommerce website that we had to set up in six months — both the business-to-business, the B2B side, and the business-to-consumer side. We would sell to all the stores within Alberta and then they would sell to their customers, but we also had the ability to sell direct to consumers from our website and ship it to them.

That was a very busy time for me, jumping around from project to project, but eventually — especially after the B2B side didn’t work out, for various political reasons — there wasn’t much left for me to do. That’s when Jon Campbell, who had been my director for a year at AGLC and then had moved to iQmetrix, reached out. He was leading the R&D team, and he asked me to become a product manager in that team. It was the perfect moment for me to be offered that job, just as I was figuring out what to do next. 

What’s something else we might not know about you — personal life, or maybe some passions or hobbies?

I live in Edmonton, Alberta, and I am married with three kids. I’ve been with my wife Jenny for 20 years — we’ve been married for 11 years, and dated for nine years before that. Our sons are Benjamin and Finnegan, and our daughter is Elliot. They are eight, six, and four, so they’re still doing their little-people things.

Personally, I love ice hockey, and I play on two teams. I love cycling in the summertime — road biking in particular. I do the MS Tour every year and raise money for Multiple Sclerosis, and I’m joining a few races this year as well. I’m also the assistant coach on two hockey teams for my boys, which I really love doing.

Outside of athletic stuff, I’m a big movie and TV guy, although I don’t have much time, so I’m very selective about what I watch. I’m also really into photography and videography. I’ve got maybe six cameras beside me right now, and I love to capture good images of the family and vacations, just as a hobby.

And lastly, my biggest passion is cooking. In fact, when Jon asked me to come work for iQmetrix, I was considering going to culinary school — just for fun, as I didn’t want to become a professional chef. But I decided to take the iQmetrix job, and now I do my best to make meals throughout the week that are good, and interesting, and my family gets to reap the benefits, I guess! My wife is Vietnamese, so I make lots of Vietnamese food, plus Italian and Mediterranean, and a lot of other cuisines. I just got a pizza oven, and I do sous-vide, and charcoal BBQ.

Being a developer, I think my next little project is to try to start a personal website and use my camera gear to make videos or pictures of the things that I’m cooking, and kind of make my own online cookbook. Maybe it will help my kids with cooking as they grow up!

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