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“It’s All About the Team”

As part of the Nordnet development machinery, we thought we’d let you in on what our days at work look like. Because we’re guessing that learning more about developing pension related products really gets you excited and curious. No? Well, it should! Let us tell you what’s so hot about it.

But first, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Anna and Anna. Anna J and Anna A.

I, Anna J, have the title “Pipe Master”. In case you’re new to this term, it’s basically like a Scrum Master. But since our development team is organized in “pipes”, and since we are not entirely true to the Scrum methodology, Pipe master is more fitting for us.

As a Pipe Master, I’m the one organizing the work in our pipe, the pension pipe, together with the rest of the team. Besides me, the pipe includes a Product Owner, a Requirement Analyst, three developers and the Quality Assurance function. My role is to make sure that the development is made as efficient as possible, trying to minimize context switching for the developers. I’m also the one taking care of meetings and sorting information and requests.

And I, Anna A, am one of those three developers who are thankful for having a Pipe Master going to meetings for me. My job is to create and deliver the solutions, together with the other developers. I develop both front-end and back-end, run tests and deploy.

The development process

It all starts with a user story, describing a requirement from a customer’s point of view, which normally comes from the Product Owner. The team goes through the user story together with the Product Owner and the Requirement Analyst, making sure that everyone is on the same page. This can demand a couple of workshops, or it might be enough with just a short meeting. That depends on the extent of the user story. Next, the development team sit down together to figure out the best way to approach the user story and what needs to be done. Since we work with continuous delivery, the user story can usually be cut up into smaller chunks that can be deployed as soon as they are done and tested. All the way through, from coding to testing and code reviewing – we developers work closely together, constantly bouncing ideas and discussing solutions.

It all sounds very smooth, and actually, it is. Most of the time. Working with pension products, we are rarely dealing with the same amount of pressure as our colleagues working with our trading functionality are for example. The challenges that we face are usually connected to integration with external systems.

The exciting thing about developing pension products

I know you’re wondering by now. Where’s all that excitement you were promised in the beginning of this post? Well, it’s not just about what we do. It’s about how we do it. It’s about the team. We have fun and we make sure to bring out the best in each other. And this is how we do it.

This is how we do it – 3 success factors:

  • We rotate roles

Basically, everyone can do anyone else’s job. That helps us grow as individuals and it prevents dependency. We don’t get stuck just because someone is sick or on holiday. Also –it’s fun.

  • Joint responsibility – no blame game

We have no prestige and we don’t blame each other if something goes wrong. We are all responsible for the stuff we do as a team. That’s why it’s so easy to get help when you need it. The fact that we rotate roles make it easier to feel that joint responsibility.

  • Feedback is mandatory

Constructive feedback not only makes us grow. It builds trust and it lets us accept our mistakes as possibilities to grow. Which makes us more creative and daring. Giving negative feedback can be uncomfortable, even when it’s constructive, but we are really getting the hang of it.

That, and coffee, is what gets us out of bed every morning. We love this team and everything that we achieve together.

But the most important thing – a well-functioning team creates better products, which in the end gives us happier customers and shareholders.

 

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