We asked the employees of three major Germancompanies – VW, Bosch and BMW – to tell uswhat a day in the life of a dev looks like.
Best Practices at
VW GROUP IT
WeAreDevs: What impact do developer teams have on the product interms of quality, customer consultation and innovation?
Holger Urban (Head of Software Development Center Wolfs-burg): The team decides on the “how” of the implementation, and thatincludes selecting the most innovative approach. They must determinewhether the most innovative is also the best approach for product realiza-tion. Ultimately, the approach that works best for the customer must bechosen. Short cycles ensure timely review and quality. User experiencealso includes user research, in which customer consultation plays a vitalrole.
WeAreDevs: What characterizes a day in the life of a developer atVolkswagen?
Urban: At the Software Development Center in Wolfsburg, we start with acollective office stand-up meeting with all our colleagues. Afterwards, theproduct teams carry out their own stand-up meetings within their teams.Part of the team stand-up is devoted to establishing partner pairings, be-cause the agile teams work exclusively in pairs using extreme program-ming. Then we start working on the backlog. The team members are ex-plicitly requested to close Outlook during this time in order to devote themaximum amount of time to what we enjoy doing the most – developing.The atmosphere is casual. In addition to the stand-ups, the teams conductiteration planning sessions and retrospectives.
WeAreDevs: Which development projects are you especially proud of?
Urban: We are proud to be part of a team of now 80 members in Wolfs-burg, with which we have brought internal development expertise back toVolkswagen. The focus is on innovative topics in the context of digitiza-tion, which results in exciting tasks for us. There are plans to furtherstrengthen the team. Since 2017, we have launched eleven products in theSoftware Development Center in Wolfsburg that will go online this year.
WeAreDevs: What does your day as a software developer look like?
Georg Grütter (Social Coding Evangelist): About half of my time,I actually develop software, mostly in Java and Go. I maintain a couple ofAPIs and backend systems. The teams I work with are usually distributedacross the globe and much of the work I do is done asynchronously. Theother half of my time I evangelize Social Coding – otherwise known as In-ner Source – at Bosch. Inner Source is the application of Open Sourcestyle working models within the confines of an organization. As part ofthat role, I spend a lot of time giving talks about Social Coding – both in-ternally and externally – help operate a state-of-the-art infrastructurecentered around Bitbucket and support the organization in getting themost out of Social Coding.
WeAreDevs: What makes your job as a developer at Bosch special?
Grütter: Many things, actually. I really like diving into the many interest-ing and technically challenging domains that we develop products in. Ifind it very rewarding to work with products that are not merely virtualbut that are tangible and literally touch our lives. Bosch is a big companywith the necessary structures, but in my experience, you can have a bigimpact with a small team of highly motivated people. But most important-ly, the people I get to work with here at Bosch make my job special. I findmany colleagues all over the world who share my passion, who I enjoyworking with and from whom I learn a lot. I can always count on my col-leagues to provide help if I ask them for it. That is what for me sets Boschapart from other companies I have worked for before in terms of companyculture.
WeAreDevs: What development project are you especially proud of?
Grütter: That would be the development of a remote control for the heat-ing systems we produce. It began as a prototype I developed at home. Ithen made a video, live demoing the system and comparing it to our exist-ing control units. In a time where apps were still a hype, that video quicklywent viral within Bosch. We then developed the app in a very small andself-directed team of volunteers and also co-developed the infrastructurewith the business unit. The system was completed in record time and in-troduced on a major trade fair where it was presented the flagship prod-uct of our brands. We later won an internal innovation award and an in-ternational design award for the interaction design we developed. Thosewere very special moments for me and the team I got to work with.
WeAreDevs: What impact do developer teams have on the developedproduct in terms of quality, customer consultation and innovation?
Doris Kronberger (Information Management Vice President En-abling Processes): For us, developing software development expertisein-house is a key element of our strategic direction. Our software develop-ment teams (DevOps) are responsible for full-feature software develop-ment for end-to-end software solutions and software services. They arealso responsible for business-critical application platforms in all BMWGroup core business processes. Apart from software development itself,the teams manage the architecture of our solutions and system platformdesign, as well as for the user experience and user interface design forcustomer functions. This is a broad range of tasks, in which the developerteams make a significant contribution to the developed product.
WeAreDevs: What characterizes a day in the life of a developer at BMWGroup IT?
Kronberger: Through agile software development and active innovationmanagement, our developers have a decisive impact on the quality ofBMW Group IT software products and make a major contribution to tech-nology and business decisions. Without the expertise of this community,we would no longer be able to guarantee an efficient product portfolio inthe future. At BMW Group IT, our developers are given a workplace with amodern portfolio of work equipment and an integrated agile toolchain forautomated deployment, automated testing and continuous integration.
WeAreDevs: Which development projects is the BMW Group IT especiallyproud of?
Kronberger:We are proud of all our projects that result in innovative so-lutions, maximum customer value and customer satisfaction.
Best Practices at
BMW Group IT
Artificial intelligence has thepotential to be an even biggerbreakthrough than the PC orthe internet. The possibilitiesare seemingly endless: fromhealth to agriculture or evenrevolutionising entire produc-tion cycles across all indus-tries.
But this does not mean thatwe must not be uncritical orask a lot of questions. The keyis not what we can learn com-puters or machines, but ratherwhat we want them to do forus.
And yes, it’s true that AI isexercising increasing influ-ence over our everyday lives.Microsoft has been investingin AI for almost 25 years now.To mitigate people’s fearsabout AI and make the con-crete decisions it makes moretransparent, specific regula-tions and standards are in-
deed essential. Microsoft hasestablished a total of six bind-ing design principles to thisend:
-AI must assist humanity
-AI must be transparent
-AI must maximize effi-ciencies without destroy-ing the dignity of people
-AI must guard against bias
-AI must be designed forintelligent privacy
-AI must have algorithmicaccountability
If we learn to use AI properly,artificial intelligence will beable to help us cure diseases,improve the climate and makebetter use of resources. So Istrongly believe AI will bemore help than harm, if weapproach it courageously andtransparently.
Joseph Sirosh, VP of Artificial IntelligenceMicrosoft and speaker at WeAreDevelopers 2018Credit: Microsoft