26 June 20215 min read

Life On Board | Handbook Part 5

Christina Lange & Mark Lambertz
Written by

Christina Lange & Mark LambertzMETRO.Digital

METRO Digital Handbook
Let's do a reality check. How does a typical iteration look like? How does a product team interact? What are our habits and rituals that help us stay on track? Firstly, it is worth noting that the start of an iteration is usually on Wednesday, meaning that it ends on a Tuesday. This also means that we avoid falling into the trap of doing releases on Fridays. Since we have the freedom to choose the “schedule” that suits the team best, we make use of it.  [No text in field]


9:00 am: Prepare to close the iteration

Normally, there is a daily stand-up to check, whether any positive or negative surprises happened in the last 24hs. But today is the day to close the iteration, so it is time to prepare the review with the users, clients or stakeholders.

10:00 am: Did we achieve our goal?

Customer and clients are in the house to give us feedback, insight, and ideas on our deliverable. Good to have them in the showcase/review and to see how we help them to achieve their goal. As we are well prepared and stick to our METRO.digital meeting rules, everyone is involved in the meeting and we are able to finish on time. Additionally we check our key results with the stakeholder to ensure our transparency. This helps the team to understand, if they are on course contributing to the set objectives of the OKR cycle. We are obsessed with making our customer's life easier.

1:00 pm: How to improve as a team?

n the retrospective the team reflects the collaboration. Your agile master is challenging you: "What went well? What to improve? What is our next experiment?". At this point, we value honesty and constructive feedback. Performance is not a "bad" word to us. If someone does not perform well, we want to understand how we can support them. Good will and a professional attitude are the ingredients to solving problems within a team. Of course, we always want to find at least one action item that helps the team to improve as a whole. One thing is clear: If we do not spend time getting better, improvement cannot happen.


10:00 am: Why is planning so essential for us?

Feedback from customers: Check. Improvement ideas within the product team: Check. We cannot wait to kick-off the next iteration. Therefore, we have a planning together to ensure every team member understands what to do. We start by having a look on our Objectives & Key Results together and punch-in our success. It keeps us on track to achieving our long-term vision. Let's see what we can do in the next iteration to progress further towards our vision. Our product or service managers discuss priorities with us and we commit to a scertain number of stories and/or tasks to complete in the next iteration. We make sure that we have good conversations, acceptance criteria, estimations and apply the INVEST criteria. Our Definition of Ready works as a quality gate to ensure that we work only on tasks which are … ready!


9:00 am: Are there any surprises?

Our activities as a team are synchronised daily. In our daily stand-up, we help each other by making impediments transparent or by helping each other with solution ideas. This habit is also the perfect opportunity to take about positive surprises! One of the best ways to start the daily is to Is to review the data on the metrics dashboard together. This way, everyone understands how the product or service performs and which contribution has the highest priority. We take the term “agile” serious, meaning a plan might change daily. It is up to us to inspect and adapt. Taking ownership is essential for us. We committed to deliver in the planning and we do our best.

1:00 pm: Is it only about speed?

Of course not! As we want to ship valuable software to our customers, we focus on quality. Therefore, the team uses the idea of pair programming to create "built-in quality". This could be programming for a specific story e.g. with UX professionals or the exchange with an business expert. We discovered that it helps to solve complex problems as well to ensure knowledge sharing and onboarding. Code review is another habit we practice, another quick win to guarantee high quality. Additionally, we use our Definition of Done to deploy as often as possible – but only when it makes sense!

3:00 pm: It is time for some learning nuggets

Today is the day of the monthly Brown Bag session. This time it is an external speaker that will showcase how a challenge in the digital wholesale world has been solved. During the Q&A session, the team gets new ideas for their own context.


9:00 am: How can I develop as a professional?

Today we have our “show & tell” session in the team. It's an action item out of a retrospective. As we are all eager to learn, we use this format to share our experience and help each other to learn more about a specific topic. We strive for a learning organization, where people are their own CLO - the Chief Learning Officer. Everyone needs support when you want to grow and develop. Aside from “show & tell” session we also have 1:1 session within the teams, e.g. with the agile master to explore fields of personal development. A skill manager has the responsibility to enable professional growth.

11:00 am: How to prepare for the next iteration?

Our iterations help us get to a sustainable pace. Therefore, we take some time to prepare the next iteration. Together with the Product Manager we review the backlog. The frequency with which the team refines their stories depends on the length on an iteration. In a two-week iteration it can be up to three times. Why is this essential? The conversations need to take place anyway. By doing it upfront, it uncovers problems, unclear questions, and preconditions. Every story gets acceptance criteria and a first estimation to be prepared for the next planning session.

METRO Digital Handbook

Learning never ends.

As techies we are used to learning new programming languages and tools quickly. Learning is so essential, and we appreciate that this goes beyond a specific language or platform. At METRO.digital, we are eager to learn and we are looking for what we can learn and how we can develop every day. Learning is not just a „nice-to-have” asset, it is our approach to our work, and it is what beams us to the next galaxy.

How do we know what to learn?

We value diversity. Therefore, it is a matter of course for us to support all employees with an individual development plan and learning budget. Our roles are complemented by experience levels. These enable targeted development in and between roles. At the same time, you can actively shape your development at any time via 360 Feedback and our Performance System. The sky is not the limit when it comes to learning!

Sharing is caring!

Even in our learning formats, we respond to the different needs of you as a learner. Whether it is classroom training in our Product Management Academy, an online course, a conference or a book, magazine, video: You have the choice! We truly want to be a knowledge-generating company. That means we learn from each other's experiences, e.g. in our meet-ups like the Brown Bag Sessions, Tech Trends, or in our Product Club.

It is up to us

You have an idea for a new format or a new learning area? METRO.digital supports you in promoting new ideas. Our learning catalogue is fueled by motivated colleagues who want to excel opportunities for personal growth.

METRO Digital Handbook

Healthy Relationships

We respect and honour each of our employees as a person. We know that how you feel at work, how you perceive yourself and your environment has a major influence not only on how well you perform your job, but also on your overall well-being. By explicit choice, we foster and promote health, so that we can thrive together. This means we treat physical and emotional health of our employees as our common goal and shared responsibility.

How we contribute to achievement of that goal is many-fold. On the one hand, we offer a wide variety of benefits around the physical and mental health. Those include, but are not limited to, training courses (for example yoga or cycling), access to the fitness studio, attractive dental insurance, work medicine counselling and formal mindfulness practices.

On the other hand, we empower you to implement your role in a manner that brings the best out of you by granting you trust and freedom. This means we want to see you excelling in your strengths, while we respect the limitations of your current life situation. We believe that the more you bring your authentic self to the stage of daily activities, the more successful we are going to be together and the more fulfilled you are going to be working with us.

We are all about healthy relationships!

Ways of workingAgile