A "beastly good" day at Fabasoft: A day in the life of … Gerald

Scrum master Cloud Native at Fabasoft since 2020

Wait, did you say 2020? Wasn’t 2020 actually that really unusual year with the coronavirus? You guessed it – but you can launch your career at Fabasoft even in times of crisis! Because dependable digital systems help make seamless business processes possible, whether you’re working from the office or from your home office. And here’s how my “normal” daily routine looks.

Good morning!

I wake up in the morning without an alarm clock. Not because my body wakes me up on its own, but because somewhere between 6:00 and 6:20 a.m. my sweet little baby inevitably crawls over to me and keeps romping around on me until I am fully awake.

So I pick up my little guy and sneak out of the room as quietly as I can to let mom – who usually has to wake up once or twice a night – catch just a few more z’s. The first task is changing the diaper, which by that time has usually inflated like a balloon. Then, with the baby playing happily in the bathroom playpen, I freshen up for the day. During our leisurely breakfast – for Dad there’s wholegrain bread, the baby has a roll to suck on and try out his two little teeth – I steal a glance at my work cell phone to get myself in the right headspace for today’s tasks. I don’t have to, of course, but I like to show up at the office ready to get started so I can work stress-free and according to plan and do what I need to do.

After another half hour of playing (so around 8:00 am) my little son gets tired again. That’s the perfect time for me to get dressed, take the baby to mommy, and set off for work in peace.

My typical morning

After a short drive to the office, I grab a snack – delivered fresh from the bakery. I talk briefly with a fellow co-worker about the progress of the previous day since we are developing two components that ultimately have to communicate with each other through an interface. Coordination among developers is crucial, especially when the stories are tightly intertwined. As a scrum master, I’m also responsible for the team and the tasks that need to be carried out. I organize the scrum meetings and always keep track of what my team is working on.

The daily standup at 9:15 a.m. helps me – and the product owner (PO) – to accomplish that. Each developer gives a short report about what he or she worked on yesterday, what is planned for today, and where difficulties have cropped up. It’s not about checking up on them, but instead serves as orientation for the entire team. It also helps us identify obstacles and issues at an early stage – for example, when a developer is about to require a component that isn’t quite finished yet. Then we coordinate who is going to help make sure things are ready or clarify what else is necessary. The PO can help with minor questions straight away. If bigger issues arise or discussion is needed, it’s often better to arrange a follow-up meeting with the people involved so as not to go beyond the scope of the standup.

The software development

My development work primarily focuses on the core of the software – called the backend. We have some exciting tasks to accomplish, like adding new features or optimizing existing components. Especially in large companies where hundreds or even thousands of users work with the software at the same time, the backend receives a lot of requests and has to perform a great many operations. This is where efficiency and scalability are paramount. So on the one hand, it’s all about optimizing the program code so that it can perform the desired operations faster. But in cloud environments like the ones offered by Fabasoft, scalability is also extremely important. The system has to be designed to distribute the load by adding resources, such as new (virtual) machines, which in turn will enable even more users to work at a decent speed. It really pays to have good scalability, especially when an entire company suddenly switches to a work-from-home model and everyone is working with the system!

When we’re planning to add new features, integrating them as efficiently and scalably as possible is something that needs to be planned in advance. On top of that there’s the architectural coordination, which is frequently also a cross-team effort. This is where so-called spikes come in handy, where one or several developers focus on a technology, new components, or multiple alternatives in order to evaluate them with regard to their intended use and find the most suitable solution.

Fortified for the afternoon

At lunchtime, several people usually go together to a nearby restaurant. Since we’re right in the heart of Linz, there’s a wide selection! There’s no shortage of things to talk about, be it on the way there or during the meal itself. And of course we all enjoy sharing ideas about technologies and technical developments. In my team we normally speak English since we have English-speaking developers. But that varies from team to team. For me it’s great practice – being a developer means you have to work a lot with English anyway.

Today I’m leaving the office early because some friends are planning to visit us with their baby later this afternoon and we still have some preparations to take care of. I arranged it with my team yesterday, so it won’t be a problem.

My relaxing evening

I can still work a little bit more at home tonight if I need to. Having a company notebook makes it easy to be flexible! I love being able to arrange my time to suit my needs. To go home early in the afternoon and still finish something up from my cozy spot on the sofa in the evening! My wife sits next to me reading while I finish developing my component and writing the unit tests. Check in, create a merge request for my colleagues, and I’m done!

What a great day. It was fun meeting up with our friends. They liked our cheesecake and we enjoyed playing with the kids. I got a lot done at work, even though I went home early this afternoon! My baby loves that too!

 

COVID – a departure from the norm: How do things look in the time of corona?

They say that only in times of crisis do you really find out who you can count on. So let’s have a quick look at what’s different during the coronavirus crisis. The time: End of November 2020, second lockdown.

Even before the government announced more stringent measures, our Group management decided to switch back to home-based work. The primary focus is on protecting employees and on working together to ensure that the health system is not overburdened. The whole thing was announced in advance so everyone has plenty of time to pack things like monitors, docking stations, and headsets for working from home.

With my huge curved monitor, which I brought with me from the office, working from home is just as comfortable. All I have to do is plug in my laptop and everything is up and running. Fabasoft is well prepared and equipped for WFH. Which kind of goes without saying – after all, we do develop professional digital cloud systems. It works without a hitch. There’s nothing extra for me to install or set up. With the company notebook and our digital infrastructure, everything works just as well at home as it does in the office.

Even all the odds and ends go off without a hitch from my home office. We still hold our daily standup at 9:15 am. We have all been given a company headset, so videoconferencing works exactly as if we were right there next to each other in the office. We also use our chat tool to arrange things among ourselves and make ad hoc video calls with screen sharing when we want to show something to a co-worker or get some help.

Naturally, we all miss the personal component of our shared development work. But it does have some other advantages. For instance, right now, it’s 10:30 am, and I’m having a coffee break in the living room with my little son. After ten minutes of playing with the baby, work sure goes a lot better!