My first months at Dynatrace, from Graz to Gdansk and then Linz
I kicked off my Dynatrace journey with a shadowing experience: here’s how it went.
Hi, I’m Ina and I joined Dynatrace in August 2021 as a Product Owner (PO) in the Graz Lab, in Austria.
This post should be a summary of my first few months at Dynatrace, where I went through onboarding and a shadowing experience. However, the journey had already started before my first day.
A few weeks before starting as a new Dynatracer, I received an email detailing what I could expect from my first weeks and my first mission was assigned to me: provide a photo and a text about myself so my future colleagues can get to know me. Naturally, this email made me even more curious about starting at Dynatrace!
The first day rolled by, and I got to know my wonderful team and all my great colleagues in Graz. From there on an onboarding path was prepared, so my calendar was filled with many sessions to learn about Dynatrace.
After my first month I already felt like part of the FAMily (inside joke 😀 — FAM is the name of my team). Quite thankful for that! Having the opportunity to follow my onboarding mentor and get into the daily business of the team was great to experience. Especially to really get the time for the onboarding and to always have an open ear for my questions in this wonderful team!
And I was very lucky because even before I started, the team was already planning on doing a knowledge exchange with our colleagues in Gdansk. I was able to join, and it was an awesome experience: I met even more Dynatracers and learned about their part of our company.
It was also nice to see the parallels to what I had learned in my master’s degree, like the snowflake schema from Kimball and how it is used in our data warehouse and why the APIs from our team are relevant there. It was great to experience right at the start how theory is used in business and how collaboration looks like between distributed teams. Also, I need to say that Gdansk is an exceptionally beautiful city, and the lab has great colleagues too. I can see some parallels between the cities’ names and greatness of the Dynatracers in both. 😉
But going to Gdansk wasn’t the only thing happening in my first few months! I had the possibility to do PO-shadowing in Linz and currently I am in the middle of a Quest specific made for POs @Dynatrace. In this Quest called “Product Owner Launch and Landing” you get a great overview what the role means in Dynatrace, and a lot of input specifically tailored to the Product Owner @Dynatrace regarding User Stories, Backlog, Agile Planning, maintenance, using Jira in Dynatrace and typical challenges of a PO. This quest is a great opportunity for all POs, not only newcomers!
Now, I would like to share my personal experience of my shadowing in Linz with you in detail, as this can be different from person to person.
What is PO-shadowing?
In general, PO-shadowing gives Product Owners at Dynatrace a framework to see how other POs are handling their daily business. This is especially a great opportunity for new joining POs to get input from experienced PO-Buddies. To make the process more approachable, I have made a small visualization of it (see it below).
How I got started
Some of you may be asking yourself “But how do you get into this shadowing?” In my case, I talked with my onboarding mentor and asked the Dev Director and the Agile Coach what could be possible and how. The most important input from the start was that, according to autonomy principle, I could organize it myself and had to get in touch with the necessary people.
After I got the go-ahead from our Dev Director, I spoke with our Agile Coach about how to contact a PO-Buddy from Linz who would have time to have me as his/her shadow. As soon we found the right person, we had a Zoom call to get to know each other. We also agreed to set some goals, which were:
- Get insights into all events occurring during the shadowing time
- Gain knowledge of the Dynatrace-PO process
And I had an additional goal to have the chance to meet some of my stakeholders-to-be in person.
After our goals were clear, we defined the time plan of when we wanted to carry out the PO-shadowing (which roadmap you can see above). Then my journey to Linz was prepared and I was ready to take off — by train. 😉
How was it?
The experience was exciting, not only because I was going to do PO-shadowing, but also because it was my first time visiting our Lab in Linz!
I was extremely excited to see it in real life.
When I arrived at the Linz office for the first time, my PO-Buddy and I were perfectly timed, as we met right in front of the entrance. You couldn’t have planned it any better! 😊
On the first day, I was given at first a tour of the Linz lab and was introduced to a lot of people. Then, we dived into the details: I met the team I was going to shadow, and they gave me an overview of their work. There, I also heard a great statement from their Team Captain: “at Dynatrace you get a pound smarter every day”.
The following days were handled in an Agile way. Before and after each meeting, I had a briefing and de-briefing with my PO-Buddy. What meetings did we have? Epic Refinement, story crafting, Reviews… you name it, we had it on the shadowing roadmap. We tried to cover the main events in context with the PO role according to the Scaled Agile Interface (SAI, see image below). If you want to know more about it, please check out How Dynatrace does Scaled Agile Part 1 and Part 2.
This included the Daily Standup of the team, Cross-Team Standups to see the logs in context, Pre-Planning, Sprint Refinement, Sprint Planning, a Review and the Retro after it. The team also ensures to share knowledge on their development by a weekly team tech-exchange. During that shadowing time, I was also lucky to see some cross-team planning, where research was being done for a potential new Value Increment for Dynatrace. During the shadowing time, we also covered other ongoing PO-tasks, like labeling and components, Jira-setup of the team (dashboards, filters, backlog, etc.), participating as a consultant in meetings, shadowing a PO community of practice session, attending feedback sessions with the stakeholders of the team and many more meetings.
My PO-Buddy and I also had general Q&A sessions, where I could get answers to my endless stream of curiosity, and a closing feedback session to sum up the whole experience.
My Key Takeaways
The first months were a great opportunity to gain contacts as a new joiner and learn first-hand what my future job really looks like.
With all this motivating input, I travelled back to Graz and now I am in the middle of making use of it and sharing my experience with other Dynatracers.
Here’s a quick summary of the key takeaways from my shadowing experience:
- We are all one! We may have different roles or labs, but we all work in a similar way to achieve the same goals.
- Questions enable answers and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are a newcomer.
- Different perspectives on the same role help to define your own view.
- The SAI events have been created for a reason and can be a great help to you as a PO.
- Make the most of it outside the office too. Ask if there are any events during your shadowing time, I had the opportunity to be part of an Agile game night, in the female coders Linz meetup and more!
Having the onboarding sessions right from the start, participating in the daily routine of my team with my onboarding mentor, having this PO Quest and getting the opportunity to shadow somebody with approx. 10 years of experience in Dynatrace right at the beginning of my journey was a great way to kick off my work at Dynatrace, and I’m glad they gave me the time to do it.
If you’d like to do something similar and join our galaxy, have a look at our open positions on our Careers page. 😊
My first months at Dynatrace, from Graz to Gdansk and then Linz was originally published in Dynatrace Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.