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What it means to be a Team Captain in software development

author

Giulia Di Pietro

Dec 2

Marek Kapusto shares how he went from tester, to software dev, and finally to team captain during his decade at Dynatrace.

Marek in the Dynatrace Lab in Gdansk.

What’s your name and what do you do at Dynatrace?

Hi! I’m Marek Kapusto and I’m a Team Captain in the Dynatrace Lab in Gdansk, Poland.

When and why did you join Dynatrace?

I started working here over 10 years ago, when the company was still called Compuware.

I have always loved programming, but I studied electronics at university. It is related to programming, but not in the way that I wanted. However, my first job was still in electronics. After some time, I learned about Compuware through a friend who worked there, and he told me that it’s a great company to work for. So, I applied there for a position as QA analyst and got it.

How did you become team captain?

I was always interested in becoming a software developer and after a couple of years as a QA, the right opportunity presented itself. So, I changed role and started working in the core team. Over time, I learned that I was very good with people and in communication, and I learned that it was a good way to get into a leadership position.

I started learning more about soft skills in preparation for a possible role as team captain or team lead. I read books, I learned from others, and then eventually I had the chance to switch when in April 2021 my team had to be split and a team captain position opened up.

So here I am now! I still have to learn a lot, not only about technology, but also about processes and people. But I like it a lot and I’m getting really good feedback from everyone.

How do you split your time between developing and being a team captain?

At the beginning I put everything into becoming a team captain: learning about the role, meet with the team members, and so on. I had already worked before with some people in my team, so that made it easier. But I had to put everything into the role to learn about it.

Right now, I’m starting to strike a balance: 30–40% of my time goes into programming, the rest goes into being a team captain. I’m happy to still be able to get my hands dirty with programming, but I also love what being a team captain entails. And the team Product Owner also helps me a lot.

What’s your favorite part of being a team captain?

In one sentence: I like being in contact with people.

My favorite meetings are 1 on 1 meetings and retrospectives. I always liked this meeting, even as a team member. Now I’m responsible for organizing it, bringing the subject to talk about, listening to the feedback of team members on what to improve. I like doing that.

How does your team organize the work?

We are following the Scrum method. We have 2-week sprints and all the usual Scrum meetings: sprint planning, sprint review, retrospective and dailies. We also have some additional internal meetings like bug syncs and knowledge sharing meetings. And we collaborate closely with other teams in delivery, other team captains and product owners.

My team is called team CMC and it works on Dynatrace Managed (for customers who don’t want cloud-based solutions). We take care of the deployment and upgrades of everything that the client can configure in the managed cluster. We are currently working with Kubernetes. Company-wide, we want to deploy Dynatrace in Kubernetes so we are working towards making it happen for both SaaS and Managed. It’s great to have a new challenge and learn something new.

How did Dynatrace support you in becoming Team Captain?

We have had some internal training sessions, for example a soft skills training for senior software engineers. Here we learned about time management, setting priorities, mentoring, coaching, etc.

My previous team captain also mentored me towards this role and helped me develop.

I’ve also been attending a leadership training, which was offered within Dynatrace to those who see themselves in a leadership position in the future or have just recently become leaders.

There are also initiatives in the Gdansk lab like the Team Captain community and Autonomy club. In the Autonomy club we talk about our vision for the future of the company, we read books and discuss them. A lot of people in a leadership position are taking part in this club.

What’s your favorite technology?

Java and other backend technologies. Not the UI. I’m definitely not a UI guy. 😉

I also find Kubernetes interesting, but I still have a lot to learn about it. I don’t have the full picture yet.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Football! Playing, watching, supporting. I’m even the captain of my football team at amateur level. 😊 Apart from Polish football, I follow the Italian one the most. My favorite team is AC Milan.

Want to join Marek’s team in Gdansk? Check out all our open positions on the Dynatrace careers portal.


What it means to be a Team Captain in software development was originally published in Dynatrace Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Giulia Di Pietro