- A day as a TOPdesk developer
A day as a TOPdesk developer
What does a day as a developer look like? In this article, I will take you with me on a normal day developing software here at TOPdesk.
We are quite flexible with starting times: we should be in before 9:30. Myself, I get in somewhere between 9 and 9:30. After I take off my coat, turn on my computer and get a cup of tea (don’t worry, we have coffee as well) I check my email, and wrap up some stuff from yesterday.
At 9:45 AM it is time for the daily standup meeting. Our department is organized in scrum teams, and all developers are part of such a team. Teams consist of programmers, designers, testers and a scrum master. In the standup meeting, we update each other of the status of what we are working on, we identify possible bottlenecks or solutions, and divide the work for the rest of the day. It’s called a standup meeting because we are all standing up to avoid that the meeting will take too long. Nobody likes to stand for more than 15 minutes.
After the standup it’s developing time! Today, I’ll be starting to work on a new story. We have a huddle about the story with some people of the team. In a huddle, we talk the story through: how will we solve it? What options do we have? How can we split up the work in subtasks? All disciplines (programmers, testers and designers) sit together. We are not confined to our own discipline. After all, programmers can have an opinion on design and testability just as well as on coding. This is what makes developing at TOPdesk so interesting: it’s all about collaboration.
After the huddle, the actual developing begins. We often work in pairs: two programmers coding together make less mistakes, produce better software, and have more fun. A programmer and a designer can quickly try out some design ideas and tweak it further.
Lunch time! I’m getting hungry after a morning of developing. Of course, lunch times are flexible -- no need to eat if you’re not hungry yet! Some people eat inside, where we have an excellent and extensive lunch every day, which is a great way to meet some people from other departments while enjoying a healthy lunch. Myself I prefer to go outside with some colleagues and get some fresh air and a little walk for a fresh afternoon.
In the afternoon we continue working on the stories. Developing is intensive work, and sometimes my mind needs some distraction to keep a fresh perspective on things. Luckily, we have plenty of options here. We have a Nintendo Wii, a pinball machine, two foosball tables, a table tennis, a dart board and a snooker table. After this, I’m fit for developing again!
End of the sprint
On some days, we have some special meetings. The demo for example: after every two or three weeks (this period is called a sprint) a team shows what they have been working on. Stakeholders from the Sales, Support and Consultancy departments are present and give feedback, representing the customers from their perspective. This way we get early feedback that we can incorporate in the next sprint.
Another meeting we do at the end of a sprint is the retrospective. Here, the team looks back at the past sprint and looks for improvement points to make each next sprint better than the last.
The backlog contains all the work that will be picked up in a next sprint. Before we can work on that, we need to ensure that it is clear what we want to do exactly, and how that will improve the product for our customers. Periodically, interested members of the team improve the backlog together with the stakeholders. We call this backlog grooming. To ensure that it is feasible to make stories on the backlog in a reasonable time, we have a planning poker session where we use poker cards to estimate the complexity of a story.
I really enjoy that I, as a developer, am involved with the backlog this way. It means that I can influence our product, and I’m not just creating what someone else designed.
A lot of my work is developing, writing code. Collaboration is important: pair programming, working together, and thinking of solutions as a team. Programmers, testers and designers all provide their input and all contribute to the final solution. Together with stakeholders I help define the future work, and thereby the future of our product.
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