Experience report - the format
How is Echometer actually used in practice? And by whom? We want to answer these questions in a number of Echometer testimonials. In this series, we interview some of our users for you.
Our series continues with Veronika Renn's experience report. Veronika is a Scrum Master at Bytabo.
Bytabo is a company founded in Bamberg in 2015 that supports medium-sized companies on their way to the digital future. It helps to digitize the processes in the core organization, to develop a culture of innovation and set up new business models.
Introduction to Veronika and her experiences with agile work
Echometer: Hello Veronika! We are pleased that you are taking the time today to tell us about your experiences with Echometer.
To begin, would you like to briefly introduce yourself and explain how agile work is implemented in your company?
Veronika: I have been with Bytabo as a Scrum Master since March. About 2 years ago, the scrum process was introduced here and, along with it, agile ways of working. So, back then. I already thought the idea of working with Echometer was really cool!
Echometer: With the introduction of the scrum process, how does the cooperation in your team look like now? Can you describe it?
Veronika: Sure, of course! The scrum process has definitely changed things a lot compared to the beginning. At first, everything was very much divided into areas of responsibility – there were usually scrum meetings, the daily meetings (or "dailies") and planning. Since I've been there as a scrum master, we have switched the processes to cross-structures, as it should ideally be nowadays. This means that a scrum team consists of a developer, designer and product owner, and we always meet in the dailies for important input. Our communication and implementation is good, but nevertheless we are still working on optimizing our processes. We meet every morning for the daily. Our sprints usually last two weeks, and at the end of each sprint we have a review and a retrospective (retro). Shortly before the retro we usually have a refinement, and at the beginning of the next sprint we have sprint planning.
Distributed work in the Scrum team
Echometer: How does it look like where you work? Are you mostly working remotely?
Veronika: At the beginning of Corona, i.e. from mid-March and throughout April, we worked completely remotely. After that, we started having some people coming to the office in a restricted and scheduled manner 1-2 times a week.
Echometer: Has working remotely changed anything fundamentally?
Veronika: Overall, the readjustment worked well for us because we already had the opportunity to work remotely before the Corona crisis. In the digital world, it's usually pretty easy to move your work to another space. In the beginning it was, of course. a challenge to plan how exactly we would do it, but we quickly found a routine that worked for us.
Use of Echometer at Bytabo
Echometer: You have been with the company since March, how long have you been using Echometer?
Veronika: We started using it shortly afterwards. We had our first session with Echometer in mid-May.
Expectations from the tool
Echometer: What were your expectations of the tool?
Veronika: I think I was basically looking for a tool for our retros that was also designed to work well remotely. Many tools are designed solely for teams where all members are in the same room, so I found Echometer very good from the start. The software is also designed so that everyone sits in front of their own computer during the retro.
I was hoping for a tool that sees the challenges, uses them and supports communication, which is sometimes a bit more difficult when you are not all together in one room.
The process of retros with Echometer
Echometer: You said earlier that you guys have a retro after every sprint. Can you explain in more detail, how you use Echometer in your work?
Veronika: We use Echometer for retrospectives, and throughout the whole company. I really like the idea that the items were designed from a psychological point of view! I believe that a small difference in the formulation of questions can often lead to a completely different output. Usually, I click through the questions, have the retro questions put together and adjust them a little. I prepare the retro, and then we go through the questions and discuss them. If any comments come up during the retro, they are recorded in the tool – so everyone has the opportunity to look at them afterwards.
The function that indicates that someone wants to move on to the next topic (that everyone has a right to use) is a widely used function alongside the reactions. Sometimes someone only interrupts with a reaction only to agree with another person, and the speaker is not actually interrupted, rather, getting consent of the others. In the last few times I have increasingly used this function to bring up my own questions. It offers the opportunity to specifically address things that have just happened in your own company, something like that can't be asked generally. We also create our action items at the end.
Added value through the use of Echometer
Echometer: Do you have a specific example of a situation where Echometer has brought you added value?
Veronika: I can think of two examples of this. On the one hand, we deal intensively with feedback culture, an aspect in which Echometer supports us very well, as the tool provides many items on this topic and gives us the opportunity to approach feedback a little differently than before. I think that's very good!
Furthermore, Echometer focuses increasingly on the company and corporate culture. Before, our focus in our retros was on workflows and methods. With Echometer, we started to focus more on the company and our team.
For example, we do this through items that ask how connected the employees feel to the company's goals.
Veronika's tip for using the tool
Echometer: Do you have a tip that you would like to share with other companies that use Echometer?
Veronika: The tool has undergone significant further development lately and offers customers many options. It is important to be aware of these options, because the variety gives the customer a lot of individual design freedom for the retros. Since using Echometer, I have noticed many positive changes, most notably that my ideas and suggestions for improvement were taken seriously and some of them were even implemented directly.
Our interview partner
Scrum Master at bytabo
Echometer: Finally, do you have any final feedback for your first few months of using Echometer?
Veronica: The tool was extremely well received by our team, because there are so many opportunities for interaction in the retros. Even if more and more of our team are currently working remotely, everyone can easily contribute through reactions and comments. The team members do not have to interrupt each other with speech, which avoids complications and misunderstandings, and the user can adapt the tool to their own needs thanks to the individual freedom of design, such as the introduction of their own questions.
Echometer: Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experiences with Echometer!
Lena from Shopware recently shared her experience with us. Click this to see what Lena has to say about using Echometer!
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