Team Captain at Dynatrace: A leader who puts people first
Hear from Maria, who brings together technology and people in her field of software engineering as Team Captain.
Leading a team means caring about team members’ growth and well-being as well as the products they deliver. At Dynatrace, Maria Rolbiecka is a Team Captain, and brings together technology and people in her field of software engineering. Here’s her view on what it’s like being a Team Captain at Dynatrace.
How long have you been a Team Captain, and what does your job entail?
I have been a Team Captain for nine months. I primarily cater to the team’s welfare and am the liaison between the team and the Software Development Manager. As Team Captain, I conduct regular one-on-one meetings with team members and plan retrospectives that help improve our work and collaboration.
Occasionally, I organize team-building activities and workshops, stage technical training events, and create collaborative learning spaces. My goal is to help people discover their strengths and develop them. I ensure that they gather feedback from their colleagues from time to time. Additionally, I point out possible career development paths at Dynatrace, suggesting those tailored to the talents and ambitions of individual team members.
I communicate the team’s concerns, risks that could affect successful product delivery, and challenges our team faces. When needed, I support the Software Development Manager in building teams. I participate in technical interviews and help hire people who fit the team and our culture. I also ensure that the requirements for specific positions are clear, the promotion process is transparent, and the achievements of the team and the value that individual teammates bring is appreciated.
Who is a good and effective Team Captain? What hard and soft skills should they possess?
You can tell that a Team Captain is good and effective when people in their team are motivated, confident, and aware of their value within the organization. But also, when they find the right balance and use their vacation, family time and take sick leave when needed. Or they make time for sports and other passions.
Good Team Captains share several common features. First of all, they have strong technical knowledge. They know the team’s domain and career development paths in Dynatrace. They're eager to learn and grow.
They also admit when they're wrong or don’t know something. They're able to shift the focus from themselves and their own successes to developing other people. They're curious about teammates, their way of working, ambitions, strengths, limitations. They want to learn what uplifts their people and what distracts them.
My team feels most motivated working according to the mantra: “Everyone picks up a shovel and works.” We enjoy pair programming, collaborative troubleshooting, discussions, and code review. We want to feel that we're building a good product and that our work is appreciated.
What is important to you in your daily work?
Nothing’s better than making people feel comfortable and confident. When everyone opens up about their strengths and struggles, we know each other’s value and easily embrace challenges together. We're at our best when everyone’s passion and desires are considered.
What does your typical workday look like? How do you organize your own and your team’s work?
At Dynatrace, the team chooses how to work. It’s a mix between meeting at the office and working from home. Our minds are at their freshest in the morning, so that’s when we program and learn. We decided to set up our daily meetings at 1 PM to have mornings reserved for deep focus.
Personally, I balance sprint tasks and team duties. I’ve spent about 60% of my time in this role in a sprint, but I’m making more time for technical tasks and my own development, especially during the mornings.
What kind of projects are you doing with the team?
We're responsible for delivering the authentication and authorization component for Dynatrace services. It’s written in Java and deployed in the AWS Cloud. Achieving continuous service availability is at the top of our minds.
What tools does Dynatrace provide you with to build team value, motivate, and manage them?
For starters, any colleague can take the Gallup and DISC test and spot their natural talents in areas like relationship building, influence, and task completion. That way, your development matches your talents and personal interests.
Team members can join training courses led by Dynatracers or other experts. For instance, we’ve participated in workshops on non-violent communication and Software Development.
Also, our internal Leadership Journey is a one year program that brings the leaders of Dynatrace together and helps them develop core leadership skills. There is also a mentoring program for Team Captains.
Additionally, everyone can benefit from the spirit of work-life balance at Dynatrace. We have quarterly Wellness Days where people can relax and indulge in their passions without work pressure. Team members can also consult psychologists and other specialists on professional matters or personal troubles that affect their work.
I’m glad that Dynatrace has also brought in physiotherapy sessions. Meeting with a physiotherapist for 20 minutes can improve your posture and help you stay fit if you sit a lot at work.
What makes the Team Captain role at Dynatrace different from similar positions in the market?
In my previous jobs, the leadership positions were split between Team Leads and Managers. Team Leads needed technical knowledge, and they’d oversee project implementation. They also kept an eye on code quality but didn’t handle people development. This was for the Manager’s task, who cared for several teams. Often, having 20 or 30 people report to them directly, Managers would get stretched thin and canceled one-on-ones. To evaluate my performance, they also relied on the feedback gathered from my colleagues.
At Dynatrace, a technical person like me, working closely with other team members, handles team development. A Team Captain is a leader who cares for three to six developers and can be there for each one equally. Since Team Captains have many tools and resources for collecting feedback, they can highlight team members’ achievements when it’s time to promote people.
How does one become a Team Captain? Is there a specific development path to prepare for this role?
During one-on-one meetings and quarterly assessments, team members can get a glimpse into how to become Team Captain. They can voice their interest in this role, get evaluated, and try out the role for six months after successfully finishing training. If the team’s feedback is positive after that period, the real adventure begins.
Team Captain at Dynatrace: A leader who puts people first was originally published in Dynatrace Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.