Learning from each other

The tech industry has a wide variety of tools and best practices. To enable a team to work effectively, knowledge must be distributed. At times, the whole team must learn something new. Read about the best practices Managed Cloud Applications team leverages for tackling these challenges.

Managed Cloud Applications team faces new technologies and programming languages from time to time. The team also wants to develop their internal processes by learning from the front line. And all this in between the daily tasks of development, customer communication and incident management. How do they do it?

Teaching each other

Managed Cloud Applications team has a bi-weekly slot for 90 minute meeting dedicated to continuous improvement. From time to time, one of the team members is assigned to prepare a training session. The developer will prepare relevant information, examples and maybe a demo or hands-on task on the subject. As a result, the whole team learns a lot in a short time and with small effort.

This kind of learning is recommended when one of the team members has knowledge that others don’t. For example, it might be:

  • former experience in a programming language that a new customer is using, or
  • knowledge gathered in using a new technology in a project.

When the whole team wants to learn something new, a study group could be a more beneficial approach.

Study group for books

Besides developing new features, Managed Cloud Applications team handles anything traditional DevOps processes might contain. To be effective in handling the operational tasks, the team leverages from what bigger companies have already learned. This means reading a book in common pace and discussing it weekly.

Recently, the team chose a book available online and agreed to read two chapters weekly. Each Monday developers met for three quarters of an hour to discuss what they had learned and how they could apply it to their work. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that not even the majority of attendants had had the time to read the chapters.

To allocate time for everyone to read the book, the team changed their process. The meeting time was expanded to an hour, and it began with everyone reading only one chapter further. When everyone had read the week’s chapter, discussion could begin. The pace of reading the book was halved, but team members gained a lot more from discussion. Now every attendant is familiar with the topic and can bring their own ideas to the table.

Learning together builds rapport

Arranging study groups to read a book or assigning one team member to educate others has other effects besides increased knowledge. There are many positive effects, including but not limited to:

  • Developers learn to trust each other by learning together.
  • Leading a learning session empowers individuals to see how their knowledge benefits the whole team.
  • Developers get to enhance their performance skills when leading a learning session.

Does your team take advantage of study groups? Could you start it today?

 

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Holding great responsibility

Johanna Kaihlavirta works as a Developer in Nordcloud’s Managed Cloud Applications team in Jyväskylä and is active in a local group of women in ICT field.

You can read her inspiring views and experiences in the article Stereotypes That Still Prevent Women from Pursuing IT and writing about the NiceICT event at Jyväskylä office in our blog.

Here’s her story.

1. Where are you from and how did you end up at Nordcloud?

I’m from Jyväskylä, Finland. I ended up at Nordcloud nearly three years ago, when I was looking for new challenges to grow professionally. Small cloud company sounded like it would have tasks I had never done before, and so it has. There are still new challenges for me to pursue at Nordcloud.

2. What is your core competence?

JavaScript and AWS. On soft side, working with people, and communicating clearly and effectively.

3. What sets you on fire?

I love writing beautiful code to create useful software for customers to help them meet their business goals. I enjoy all aspects that are included in that process: collaborating with customers, pondering the best structure of code, making production deployments and helping colleagues with their problems, to name a few.

4. What do you like the most about working at Nordcloud?

I like the diversity of my work, responsibility and team spirit.

I’m working in a team which supports over ten software products for several clients. I’m responsible directly to clients, and that gives me great motivation.

Having so many products to look after, my work is very diverse. I work with many technologies and cloud platforms. I have different problems to solve regarding the product. The tasks I do vary from requirements engineering to making deployments, and of course all the diverse development activities in between. 

This makes my job really interesting.

We use automation a lot and write infrastructure as code, and document anything important along the way. This helps us make sure that all team members have the necessary information to continue seamless work with the product. Great team spirit is one aspect I love at Nordcloud.

5. What is the most useful thing you have learned at Nordcloud?

I have learned more courage to pursue things by myself, without asking for permission.

6. What do you do outside work?

I act as an organiser for a local group of women in ICT field. Most of my free time is happily spent with my family, but when I have time for myself, I read books from sci-fi to historical fiction.

7. Best Nordcloudian memory?

I had just started working at Nordcloud, when one colleague advertised a machine learning online course. I had a streak of online courses in my recent past, so I grabbed the difficult topic with enthusiasm. Discussion on the channel for course’s current and past participants was encouraging and we celebrated passed exams with various emojis.

After I finished the course, I received a small surprise gift from the company, initiated by the person who advertised the course and helped me along the way. I couldn’t have been happier!

Johanna’s Managed cloud Applications team is looking for new team members. Check here the job advertisement we wrote together with Johanna and the team!

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