Michael Musolf Scrum Master C&A

Experience report - Switching from on-site to home office as a scrum team

Our Echometer experience reports

In our experience reports, we intend to show you how Echometer is used in practice, through the users themselves.

While we heard from Holger last time , an agile coach who already dealt with working remotely before Corona, this time our interview partner Michael Musolf , who works with his teams in the C&A headquarters in Düsseldorf was put in a new work from home situation because of the virus.
So how did he make this change, and what role did Echometer play in it? You can read all about it in this article!

Our guest

Jean: Dear Michael, we look forward to welcoming you as a guest in this format today. Let's start with you: Can you briefly introduce yourself?

Michael: Hi, my name is Michael, and I've been working at C&A Services in the field of software development for 18 years. I worked as a project manager for many years and have, in this time, tried to improve the products and team processes together with the team. For the last 3 years, I have had the great pleasure of supporting 2 product teams in the area of eCommerce as a Scrum Master. 

Jean: And who are the teams, and what products are they working on?

Michael: The teams are structured quite differently:  

  • Team 1 is responsible for the Customer app , i.e. the app that you can install on your mobile phone. It consists of 2 iOS developers, 2 Android developers, 1 solution architect and 1 product owner.  
  • Team 2 looks after the eComHub, our "data hub" in eCommerce. All systems relevant to eCommerce (external and internal) are connected to the eComHub. 4 developers, 6 business analysts and a product owner work here.

The corona-related switch to home office

Jean: Before Corona, you all worked together in Düsseldorf. What has Corona changed for you?

Michael: Exactly, in the time before Corona we all worked in the headquarters in Düsseldorf. Personal and direct cooperation at scrum events is important to us. As a Scrum Master, I am dependent on lots of useful information such as facial expressions, gestures and the way someone speaks. 

With Corona we had to rethink everything, since we all switched to working from home. I was very excited to see how well the team can adapt to this change, and how we can work under these new conditions. The daily and review were geared towards remote even before Corona, but it was different with planning and the retrospective. Here, I had to think about concepts in a timely manner, how we can leave the existing processes as unchanged as possible despite working from home, and how I can reduce the impact for the scrum team to an absolute minimum.

Remote retrospectives from the home office

Jean: Let's get to the retrospectives - how do you solve that when working from your home office?

Michael: Here's where Echometer comes into play: Echometer allows me to do a retrospective remotely with my 2 scrum teams. I have found many of our previous method components in a slightly modified form, and can continue to use them in the tool. This makes the switch to a digital tool pleasant for us.

Jean: At the same time, Echometer has probably brought new elements into your retros with the scale questions that team members answer in advance - how has that been received in your team?

Michael: Yes exactly. The teams have actively taken up the scale questions: The questions help us identify new topics or take a different perspective, to discuss them and, if necessary, to create action items along the way. So, for example, a question can motivate us to think about the level of detail in sprint planning. 

Incidentally, we also manage the action items resulting from the discussions on Echometer, in order to automatically have it appear in the next retrospective and to discuss its progress. In fact, it worked way better than we initially feared. 

Well, one topic has fallen by the wayside: haptics. In our retrospectives, everyone can get actively involved on the whiteboard or flipchart. It has now become a little more difficult. This is something that cannot be replaced by digital tools. 

The good thing is that I can also share this experience directly with you as the developer of the tool. That's why I hope that our experience can give you valuable feedback for the further development of Echometer.

Jean: Yes absolutely. The idea of integrating an interactive whiteboard is a topic that we are now actively addressing based on user feedback.

Finally, in short: What is your recommendation on how to successfully get through this time as a scrum master with your teams? 

Michael: We actively try to combine the opportunities that come from working at home during the Coronavirus with our strengths. Because we are now independent from the location, we have increased flexibility and, at the same time, use our courage to try out new things again and again in order to constantly develop ourselves in these new framework conditions.

Therefore, I think that Scrum Masters should above all support teams to actively use the advantages of this situation instead of being too concerned with possible disadvantages.

Jean: Sounds good. Michael, thank you for your insights!

To this sense, you, as a team, can also take advantage of the opportunities that arise from this new situation!

If you are looking for a tool for retrospectives with targeted food for thought for your teams, please click here to learn more about Echometer.

PS: Are you already using Echometer? Then feel free to contact Jean if you are also interested in sharing your experience in this format ✌️

Our interview partner

Michael Musolf

Michael Musolf

Scrum Master at C&A in Düsseldorf

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