People @ Personio – Manolo Montenegro, Senior Backend Engineer

Manuel Montenegro (or as we all call him: Manolo) is one of our Senior Backend Engineers from the Madrid office. He talked to the people at We love code where he shared among other insights, how is a typical workday, as well as some highlights of working at Personio. You can check out the original Interview completely in Spanish published on We love code.

Hi Manolo, please tell us who you are, and what is your background?

Hola! My name is Manolo, I’m from Málaga, I’m 28 years old, and I’ve been living in Madrid for the last 10 years. I remember I started to get interested in “creating things” back when I was in fifth grade, and our computer teacher proposed us to contribute to the school’s website. Dreamweaver MX and Microsoft FrontPage – what a memory! 😂

What is Personio and what do you do within the company?

Personio is an HR SAAS which covers the entire life cycle of an employee at your company. This means: recruiting, onboarding, absence management, attendance tracking… And also payroll, which is the part I do. My team’s mission is to ensure that our clients’ employees are paid at the end of each month.

What is a typical workday for you like?

My day usually starts at 10:00 am (I don’t like to get up early!) with a daily stand-up-meeting. Then, everyone continues with their task or takes on a new one. We usually eat around 1:00 pm, and we also take a couple of coffee breaks during the day. So that would be a normal day for me.

Apart from that, Tuesdays are the sprint planning days, Wednesdays are retro (with our sprints from the last two weeks), and late on Fridays, we celebrate what we call the “AllTeam-meeting”, where we all get together (now through Zoom) and make a little summary of how the week went.

Your current title is Senior Backend Engineer, in which part of the stack do you feel most comfortable? And why?

If I was given a choice of language, I think I would choose PHP. It was the first language I learned, and it’s the one I’m most attached to. On the other hand, if I had to start a new project today, I would surely choose Kotlin. It is a language that calls my attention a lot and I want to learn how to use it.

What can you tell us about your team and your colleagues?

In my team we are: one Engineering Manager, five Engineers and one Product Manager. The team is divided between Madrid and Munich, and we all communicate in English. In our day to day life, most of the code we produce is Backend, however, all teams are meant to be able to develop end-to-end tasks.

How do you organize and coordinate with the rest of the teams?

We rely on SCRUM and do two weeks sprints with all their ceremonies (planning, dailies, refinements, retro). And we use JIRA and Gitlab to manage the whole life cycle of the tasks.
For internal communication we use Slack and Zoom. We are an international company based in four different countries (UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain), so we use English as the official language. The division of the company is Departments, Tribes, and Teams. We also have some guilds: Backend Macroarchitecture, Frontend Macroarchitecture and DeVops.

What attracted you the most when you started working at Personio?

This question is a bit difficult to answer because I started working on Rollbox before it was acquired by Personio. From Rollbox I was very impressed by the product, the team, and the challenge of learning a new language (Ruby, in my case).

What is the most complex challenge you have faced working at Personio?

Understanding a complete payroll cycle and the different parts of a payroll. We are used to receiving our payroll at the end of the month and we have no idea of anything that happens before: registration with social security, communication with SEPE, etc. And then everything that comes after: social security, payments to social security, communication of the personal income tax…

But coming back to the original question, because all this comes from when we were still Rollbox, I would say the most complex challenge at Personio has been, on the one hand, going from 15-20 employees to almost 400, and on the other hand changing to a full communication in English, where also the whole adaptation process to the different internal work procedures of a bigger company comes to play.

What good things has the integration with Personio’s team brought to you?

Many things! An international environment, English as the official language (with English classes 3 hours a week!), the possibility of growth with a consolidated product, new tools to play with, and the coolest thing: now we are not only an API, but we also have an interface, so if anyone wants to hit the front, they can do it.

We also have a team of infra that does very cool things, and a team of Developer Experience, which is responsible for making things easier for us, the developers.

What are the resources that have helped you become the professional you are today?

If I had to choose only one resource, without any doubt, I would choose codely.tv. I think they are doing a great job in bringing programming closer to everyone.

…driving is something that I find quite relaxing to disconnect, whether with or without direction.

What do you like to do normally to disconnect from the screen?

More than disconnecting from the screen… I would say to disconnect from work! Because most of the things that I usually do after work are still through a screen: such as playing a video game, watching some series, or working on my own personal projects… Besides that, I am a big fan of cars and driving is something that I find quite relaxing to disconnect, whether with or without direction.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to build some tools for developers like Depfu or Laravel Shift. Something not too complex but that solves a problem easily and quickly.

Would you like to be part of Manolo’s team?