Lukas likes to switch it up when it comes to his sports – however, he’s luckily been permanently with us for more than a year now: He works as Engineering Manager in Order & Buy and has the responsibility for all the developer teams in this area. His hashtags are #DontBeEvil and #Teamplayer – and he lives up to them at work but also in his private life: #NoHumanisIllegal. Read in this interview about what fascinates Lukas most about his job and how he spends his lunch breaks since the Corona pandemic.
Please introduce yourself: Who are you and what exactly are you responsible for within our company?
Hi, my name is Lukas and I’m the Engineering Manager within the area Order & Buy. That means that I’m ensuring support for our developers, which they need for their work and giving the best they can on a daily basis. A huge part of my work makes the leadership of all of my 5 teams: This includes regular one on ones, extensive feedbacks, coaching and mentoring. Salary negotiations and promotions are as much part of the job as strategic topics like the implementation of new processes. On the operational level, I’m taking care of daily obstacles in the workflow of my teams, and I’m also part of the application process of new techies. I’m always in close exchange with Christoph, the Area Product Manager of Order & Buy, and with everyone else of the Engineering Management.
Where did you work before?
In 2008, I was as a working student at cleverbridge AG, an e-commerce-service in Cologne, and started my career as a developer there. Quite soon, I put back my computer science studies to program fulltime instead. That’s the reason why it took until 2013 for me to earn my diploma. After almost 9 years with cleverbridge, I went to grandcentrix, where I developed internet-of-things solutions for several middle-class companies of the DACH-region. Relatively soon, I got to take over team leading and management tasks there. After three more years with them, I joined our company as Engineering Manager on February 20th, 2020.
How does your typical workday look like? What tasks do you enjoy the most?
My typical workday starts at 9 am. When the number of open tasks allows it, I’m joining the daily morning meetings of my teams. That’s how I keep up with the progress of projects and the mood of my colleagues. Normally, I have a one on one or 360°-feedback talk every day. Additionally, there are short meetings with people of the product management team of Order & Buy and the engineering management, in which we are talking about current obstacles and urgent topics. During the rest of the day, I’m working on bigger and smaller solutions which will help the teams to resolve special issues or enhance their everyday work. For example, I’m organizing Brown Bags for an informal exchange during lunch or I’m talking with the teams about strategies for automated testing.
What I love most about my job is something which I would have wished for during my time as a developer by my managers: Mentoring, coaching and the active help with my professional development.
(Lukas, Engineering Manager)
During a typical work week, I’m also sighting CVs and results of the technical interviews of applicants. I often participate in initial interviews with them as well.
What do you value most about our company as an employer?
What I like most is that we have the possibility to really change something – whether it’s innovative features of our product, processes, or new technologies. When I look back and see the changes of the past 1,5 years, then I’m very excited about where we will stand in the next 2 years. We’re growing fast and we have high ambitions, which also produces some misunderstandings here and there – but that’s where I’m joining the game as an intermediary.
How did the choice of working remotely or at the office change your work and private life?
Only a few weeks after my first day at the company, in March 2020, I changed my workplace from the office to my apartment. For a couple of months, I worked at the kitchen table while my two little kids were home as well – which was difficult from time to time. As of today, I have a big home office with a desk, office chair and equipment – the only thing missing is the AC during summer.
I miss the social exchange with my colleagues, however I’m excited about every virtual coffee call or digital team event – and I can spend my lunch break with my kids, which is worth it! I’m thinking about finding an interim solution of coming to the office once or twice per week.
Did you have reservations towards working remotely? What surprised you the most about this new situation?
Working remotely was nothing new to me since I experienced such dynamic rules with my previous employer, and I chose to work from home from time to time. I knew that it would be difficult to work everyday without a real office, but I found it very positive how everyone of my teams handled this new situation. In the first one on ones, we of course talked about how the change to a remote workplace did work out and if I could help with anything.
The corona measures have eased – what are you looking forward to the most? Which activity do you want to take up again as soon as it’s possible?
I missed group sports the most during lockdown. I loved trying out new things like squash, badminton, bouldering, and several fitness classes – all of which I couldn’t do the past months. To go running by myself or train at home is not the same – as I’m missing my motivational level there. That’s why I am really looking forward to step into gym soon – fully vaccinated, of course.