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Inspiring others - being a tech lead at CELUS
posted on November 25, 2021
Developing software that had never existed before is challenging. There is nothing to get inspiration from on how a problem was solved. Therefore, developing a product with a smart algorithm such as CELUS has one, requires detailed planning, someone to keep the overview and vision in mind and a step-by-step realization. This is what challenges the management teams as well as the tech leads within the projects. At CELUS, we have four tech leads:
Jonas Natzer: Internal infrastructure
Wajdi Khattel: Orbit project
Anthony Benedict: Supernova project
Priscila Oliveira: New project concerning component suppliers
Role as a tech lead
The role of a tech lead is quite hard to define. On the one hand, they are not supervisors, and they should not do micro-management. On the other hand, they should lead their team towards a direction they define. A tech lead should always keep the overview over a project and is the first go-to-person for difficulties.
Priscila says: “In my role as a tech lead, I have to support the team, take care of what is blocking them, organize and prioritize the upcoming tasks for the next sprint. For this, I have to figure out what is feasible and how much effort the tasks require and have to be available for any mistakes.”
Priscila is working on a new project with component suppliers. This project requires concise planning. In the meantime, Jonas is responsible for the internal infrastructure. He is the one to make sure everything works and you probably only notice that he is missing, if nothing works anymore. Therefore, he has to have a clear vision as changes in the infrastructure cannot be done from one day to another by shutting everything down for a few days. Rather, the goal is to work in advance to ensure a smooth change most people do not even notice.
Jonas also pointed out: “I have to have a roadmap in mind. I always know what we do in the next year and where we want to be in two years. Here, discussions on equal footing with other team members help me a lot.”
Becoming a tech lead
All of them did not apply for the position of a tech lead, but their talent was recognized by their supervisor. The role was offered to them to make use of their full potential and provide them an opportunity to grow.
Anthony says: “I started as one of the first developers at CELUS and witnessed rapid growth ever since. I felt gratified when I have presented an opportunity to lead a team focusing on a key part of our product.”
He is working on the Supernova part and has to lead the team to develop a platform that is able to take crucial steps of the electronics development process. All of our tech leads were recognized as extremely talented and with the necessary soft skills to take over a leading position with more responsibilities. At CELUS, we consider it very important to achieve goals and face new challenges. Also, mutual respect and appreciation are some of the natural basics to communicate with colleagues.
Wajdi figures: “My efforts at CELUS are never unnoticed and this helps me to grow and get better in my role day by day.”
What they all have in common
They all are very committed to CELUS’ vision and are convinced about their contribution to this. Proper teamwork is crucial for achieving such great goals like the CELUS team did, while maintaining a healthy company culture. For all tech leads, trust in everybody’s skills is the key to thriving teamwork.
Anthony says: “At CELUS, we strive for flexibility, letting people choose the way to complete a task. My leading style aligns with that philosophy. I work to optimize our processes and alleviate my team’s problems with needed intervention.”
One other key task for them is to constantly motivate and inspire their team. They all consider it important to always give a clear vision and common understanding of a project and its goals. This is why they all set up regular meetings and always try to communicate clearly why something is done in a certain way. Generally, asking questions like “who does this affect?” or “what is the benefit to do it like this” is a popular tool from our CELUS tech leads to figure out priorities and tasks in a democratic way. Sharing opinions is crucial to create a working environment, where everyone feels valued and accepted.
CELUS helps growing
All tech leads agree that the opportunity to take over this role at CELUS only brought positive growth into their lives. Working on a holistic idea and elaborating a vision for a project gives a strong purpose to what they are doing on a daily basis. Conveying this to their team members then happens naturally to them as they are passionate on what they are doing at work.
Jonas says: “At CELUS I got a rocket boost. I enjoy working self-contained on topics that are relevant for everyone in the company. I learned so much – on the technical side as well as about working with people and making decisions. At CELUS working culture, I particularly appreciate that we embrace to learn from our mistakes and that everyone can try something without eternal planning and if you fail, you do it better the next time.”
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