This month we present our S-Team, which is one of the largest teams at Scandio and works primarily in the Smart Home environment. In the following interview, you can find out how the team is handling the spatial separation, what exciting project they are currently working on and what the mood in the home office is like.
Please introduce your team briefly: what do you do, who are you?
Alex: We are the S-Team. The team was founded by Clemens and myself in 2015. Since then, the team has grown to eleven members in total.
Clemens: The team is split across three locations: Augsburg, Munich, and Freising. With the majority of the team (six) working out of Augsburg and the remaining five split across Munich and Freising (four and one respectively).
Alex: Currently, the team is working together on a single large-scale project for a Munich-based Home Appliance Manufacturer. Our time is split between developing infrastructure components, maintaining the backend, and administration and delivery of software updates to household appliances.
Is there a clown in the team? If so, what makes this person special?
Clemens: For us there is actually nothing to laugh about… (sarcastically).
Alex: We already have so much fun that we don’t need a clown in the team.
Clemens: We really don’t need anyone to cheer us up. Things are entertaining enough as is.
What is your favorite team dish? Are there common eating rituals?
All mixed up: Pizza and beer! PIZZA, PIZZA!!
Alex: One of the team members (Jonas) spends a lot of his free time making pizza and brewing beer. Fortunately for us, he had the whole team over in the summer to partake. The best pizza north of Sicily!
How well does the idea of self-organized teams work for you?
Clemens: In my opinion, this works well for us. Since we are one of the oldest teams, we have grown with the idea from the beginning. When there were three of us, there was not very much to organize.
Manu: It was very cool for me to join the team here. Flat hierarchies are important, but they are not always well implemented. The team structure really focuses on equality, whether it’s a new employee, a working student or one of the older guys.
Tobi: To be honest, we don’t have to think much about it. That actually shows quite clearly that it works well for us.
Can you tell us something about one of your team evenings?
Clemens: Didn’t we have the rule: “What happens at the team evening stays at the team evening?”
Alex: But we also have some funny experiences… e.g. standing in the rain playing boules in the courtyard garden or letting off steam in the trampoline park, which was really nice.
Clemens: That’s exactly what makes the team evenings so special for us, we don’t just have dinner together, but also experience something. Unfortunately, the topic of team evenings is rather difficult to tackle at the moment. The last team evening where we didn’t have to worry about anything was in January.
Which programs do you use most?
Alex: That’s easy to answer: We are hardcore developers and so we have our IDE, our shell, and without GIT our lives would probably only be half as good.
Jonas: Apart from that, we often use Miro for refinements, retros, and other meetings where we would otherwise normally use a whiteboard.
Manu: Since we have to work remotely a lot, it’s important that the technology works. This is especially important for remote code sharing. Fortunately, this usually works without problems, otherwise we would be stuck.
Tim: Thanks to Lukas’s persistence we are now allowed to use pair programming tools such as CodeTogether.
How do you get along in your team with spatial separation/remote work?
Alex: If the tools work, then great!
Clemens: For us this is actually the normal situation, even before the pandemic. All-day remote meetings such as for a sprint change or planning are more strenuous, although we have found a good schedule for this. In any case, we would be happy to hold them in the office again.
Manu: As far as communication is concerned, it is already much more common on site. Especially when you have to talk about crossovers, or when planning is upside down, things get lost more often remotely.
Jonas: In the meantime, we also tend to raise our hands in meetings as a way to prevent everyone from talking over eachother. When this was introduced, I was on vacation. You can imagine how flabbergasted I was when everyone raised their hands in the meeting.
Tim: I think it’s great that, despite working remote, small talk and joking around still happens.
Bene: I like the fact that we have a Google Meet room that is open all the time and there is always someone there.
How often do you have a meeting? What is the general procedure?
Manu: We have our Scrum Daily, plus our Team Weekly and the other Scrum Meetings.
Alex: But it’s always possible to a meeting spontaneously, thanks to the Agile Development process.
Clemens: A short meeting format is our Flashmob. If a topic needs to be discussed at short notice, whoever has time will get to in the Daily Google Meet and a solution will be discussed and agreed upon.
Honestly: Are you looking forward to working in the office again, or do you prefer the home office?
Jonas: For me a mix of the two is optimal. You can concentrate better at home, but I find it just as important to get have face time in the office. That is definitely something I miss during these Corona times.
Tobi: Proactively at home in the morning and then reactively in the office in the afternoon.
Alex: If it weren’t for the daily two hour drive, I would actually have no reason to stay at home. For me, working in the office with people is much more pleasant than sitting in front of the screen with headphones on all day long. In the end, direct contact helps with many things to find a quicker solution.
Clemens: It has both its advantages and disadvantages…. Working from home all day involves no physical activity and it can be more difficult to “switch off” in the evening. You have to be careful to make a clear separation between work and private life. But if you have to fetch your child from kindergarten, for example, it is already an advantage if you can save yourself the trip.
Manu: Also, the small talk is there, but not really the same as in person. Often only the most important things are discussed. When I was back (in the home office) after an illness, I simply missed chatting with my colleagues in the corridor.
Michi: Definitely in the office! The coffee is free and your own home actually stays cleaner. For work it is practical if you can sit next to each other and it is also easier to separate work and home life.
Thank you very much for your time and providing us a bit more insight into the S-Team!!
You want to join Scandio and want to work in a development Team on an exciting project in the Smart Home environment? Then take a look at our current job offers.