Coming from a technical background I was excited to find out that my first placement on the IT Graduate Scheme here at TUI would be in IT Engineering (you know, the place where the *real* work gets done..!).
My main role is as a scrum master for one of the web development teams. I am responsible for ensuring that the development team completes their tasks on time and help them where possible by removing blockers in their way and guiding them through agile methodology. Despite having “master” in the title, the role is more of a “servant-leader” than a team lead. I’m there to make sure that nothing gets in the way of the team delivering their best work.
My day always starts the same way, with a stand-up where each member of the team has to deliver three things: what they worked on yesterday, what they will work on today, and what is preventing them from completing any of their tasks. This provides an excellent opportunity for the team to come together and identify where they can assist the rest of the team, as well as come up with a plan for how issues blocking team members from completing their tasks can be ‘unblocked’.
After this first stand-up I then run another with a different team that works a little differently. This team is distributed (not all in the same building) and their work is focused on handling issues on the live website. In order to obtain all the relevant information, we have a conference call and go through the current issues one by one, giving updates on the progress that has been made. In all honesty having the team distributed like this is far from ideal in agile development, but with the help of our project management software and our daily video-conference things run much more smoothly!
With the stand-ups out of the way I then usually take a bit of time to get to the other part of my placement – improving my development skills. How I do this varies depending on need, but I’m usually either taking on a small task from the development team to go out on the site, or learning a little bit more about how the back-end of the site functions (for a techie who had never played around with back-end development before this is so much fun! I’ve ended up using everything I’ve learned in my own projects at home too).
Taking on more of the development work in addition to my place as a scrum master was something that I requested when I came onto the placement. I’ve always been more of a hands-on person and having come onto the IT scheme largely self-taught, I was keen to learn the processes’ in a professional environment. I feel fortunate that on the graduate scheme at TUI the team is more than willing to tailor each placement to your areas of interest and where you feel you would be able develop your skills.
After lunch (the graduates all try to meet up in the canteen when possible), I try to catch up with the development team again. Realistically, this is an all-day process and it’s important to catch any problems the team may be having as soon as possible and facilitate how we should deal with them. Working between two teams catching issues, chasing up resolutions and ensuring everyone is on track takes up most of the remainder of my time, but there is always planning the next sprint to get to as well!
Life in IT Engineering is fast-paced, every day is different, and you never get bored. Whether you’re passionate about creating new things or about working with a team, your time here will fly by.