The RTE community will gather in less than a month at the Railway Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands, for the 6th edition of the RTE Summit. This event location has been chosen as the perfect metaphor for deliberate planning, aligning teams, reducing risk, and creating value.
We chatted with the ‘RTE of the year' in 2020, Joris Van Doorn, to get a sneak peek of what to expect from this event, created for the vibrant RTE community. Joris, RTE at ASML, will bring more than 20 years of experience in complex software and system environments to the table at the upcoming RTE Summit. As the RTE of 2020, part of Joris’ role is to inspire this year’s audience with his expertise and knowledge. He is excited to share his drive to unite, coach, and guide fantastic talents into high-performing, Agile feature teams to maximize value delivery.
Initiating conversations with feature teams
“My presentation will cover feature teams in the spheres of hardware and software, with an emphasis on how to facilitate collaboration between those two sides. I have experiences to share about my ARTs, as we have feature teams working together in a really complex hybrid hardware and software environment,” says Joris.
His vision for the role of RTEs as servant leaders includes paving a path to success that can be easily implemented within every unique RTE’s own team. Furthermore, he believes the RTE has a responsibility to initiate and facilitate healthy conversations among team members.
“We have to be very responsive to nonverbal communication and simply ask people how they are doing. Once, instead of organizing a spectral depth analysis, we just decided to go for a 2.5 kilometer walk with a small group of the ARTs. It gave people a chance to be with each other in a low pressure, comfortable setting. By organizing a walk, an afternoon of drinks, or another lowkey social activity, you can bring people together and get a feel for how they’re doing. That allows you to inspire people to bring quality and deliver value,” shares Joris.
Challenges of working from home
A lack of social interaction and relaxed conversations in the office were just a fraction of the numerous challenges that were born after the shift towards remote work started in 2020. Team leads needed to think quickly, as that aspect of the workplace had to be adapted to an online environment within each organization.
“As RTEs, we dealt with the impacts of Covid by sharing ideas, knowledge, and experience to keep our trains running, despite all the difficult circumstances. Now, we'll slowly start going back to the office, and I’m really looking forward to it,” celebrates Joris.
Since ASML works with both software and hardware components of systems, the company also faced obstacles pertaining to the physical aspects of work.
“When you’re working with hardware, you need to really be able to have the materials directly in front of you. So, when I had the chance, I would walk around the office, taking pictures of all the hardware, just so I could easily reference those images whenever I needed to during a project,” says Joris.
Creating attractive work environments
With many offices reopening, organizations are facing a new challenge: engaging people in a way that makes them feel motivated to return to the office. Fortunately, Joris and his team knew just what to do to get their colleagues excited about the hybrid work environment.
“We posted pictures of team members looking at hardware from different angles and solving challenges in order to motivate people to go back to the office. That way, everyone would be reminded of all the interesting hands-on projects they could tackle once they’re back in the office. Plus, people would see how much better it is to be able to easily discuss things with colleagues when you’re all in the same building together,” describes Joris.
According to Joris, simply celebrating the availability of the hardware to work with, for example, triggered conversations that made people comfortable about returning to the office, all while allowing him to better understand his team’s needs.
“Those conversations help you to better understand the people in your team in order to unlock their potential for the right tasks. You have to monitor what your ART can manage in certain situations. When it comes to our ARTs, we find that it’s important to have a mix of novices and experienced colleagues, as well as a mix of software and hardware specialists. Just in general, we find it’s important to be working with people of different backgrounds and cultures. You need to see how people work together with those who differ from them to determine what goals the team can reach during every step,” he explains.
Sharing knowledge at the RTE Summit
Bringing his experience to the RTE Summit is a way for Joris to contribute to an event that reflects part of his journey as an RTE. He first joined the Summit in 2016.
“At that time, I was working as an Agile Coach, and I was involved in launching and sustaining four Agile Release Trains. From that point on, it was a very natural step forward to become the full-time coach servant leader,” he elaborates.
Reflecting on his tradition of joining the annual RTE Summits for several consecutive years, Joris notes that one of the highlights he experienced took place in 2019, with the silent conductor exercise. He considered it a great metaphor for the impact RTEs can have.
“It was really interesting to see everyone get on the same wavelength without actually talking. Not only was it cool from an energy perspective, but also from the perspective of picking up on people’s signals without any direct communication,” recalls Joris.
He also pays special attention to talks about metrics, particularly focusing on discussions about how to precisely measure the amount of work done by RTEs, as well as on finding the right balance between tracking metrics and paying attention to tangible results.
“Sometimes, just talking to your peers and fostering those open lines of communication is incredibly helpful. It serves as a way of confirming that everyone is happy about the direction of the project, as well as noting where everyone’s personal challenges lie. The RTE Summit always provides participants with a chance to open those lines of communications and learn how to grow, both on the individual and the team level”, concludes Joris.
Join the 6th RTE Summit 2021, the event designed by RTEs for RTEs, to hear more about feature teams and several other relevant topics. This is your chance to pave your path to becoming the best RTE you can be.