People Story

Trust: key for the team – and the product

When a former startup becomes part of a larger group, the agile can-do mentality is at risk of being lost. How does teamwork function when the people and structures are different? An astrophysicist, an applied computer scientist, and a software director talk about the desire to work face to face, data sovereignty and rolling up your sleeves.

Trusted Gate

A software team on the journey to data sovereignty

Bruno Quint's current development team is primarily characterized by one thing: diversity. With fifteen people, it is a compact unit. What they bring to the table: a diversity of outlooks, professional backgrounds, ages, nationalities, and approaches. What they have in common, above all, is their tangible enthusiasm to keep developing R&S®Trusted Gate and to be part of shaping the dynamics of the market. The joy of new technology unites them, alongside the desire to make it controllable. Their goal: to make it possible for many people and companies to work transparently in the cloud while retaining data sovereignty. Crucial core element: smart encryption with virtualized files. Indispensable: teamwork – with experts on equal terms.

Start up mentality meets corporate

When Bruno Quint's company became part of Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity in 2016, not only did a new, technical subject area enter the group, but also a team used to pushing boundaries, to questioning everything. As the Director Cloud Security puts it, "Data sovereignty is the last bastion. In a cloud environment, it's the only thing we still own. I wanted to scale our idea, and with a large company, that can work well. We had to get used to the structures and the different types of segmentation." He laughs. "Then we changed them."

What makes the difference?

In doing this, it wasn't the tools that mattered. It was the mindset. There was always an equal division of labor within the team: all team members were flexible – both in the way they thought and in the pragmatic approach they took. Bruno Quint, with a doctorate in nuclear physics, notes, "Our customers work in the cloud, where monolithic thought structures have no place. We provide them not only with the right product, but also the right way of working: we respond to requirements in dynamic and agile ways. And we roll up our sleeves."

At Rohde & Schwarz we respond to our customers’ requirements in dynamic and agile ways.

Teamwork is key when working on new technical topics all the time.

Team vision

Team composition has also changed. New roles were created. But, essentially, titles and roles remain fluid. Measures were put in place to ensure that the knowledge in the development team could be used by everyone in the best possible way. This included establishing a six-eyes principle: one writes the code, one evaluates the code, and one does the quality assurance. The roles rotate within the team. "This gives us a wide view during development, and we are always learning new things. I appreciate the variety in my job very much," says Anja Braatz. The postdoctoral astrophysicist focuses on programming of the reverse proxy. "Throughout my professional life, I’ve always had to throw myself into new topics. This is the key to success in our team: we don't stand still. We are dealing with new technical topics all the time and vigorously exchanging ideas."

Communication builds trust

This exchange of ideas and information within the team is also a key point for the product owner. Fabian Richter is an applied computer scientist and a specialist in the field of distributed software systems. And he is also where the proverbial threads get pulled together: he prioritizes tasks, estimates expenditures, writes technical concepts and shifts resources as necessary. "Communication within the team is vital. We see each other in short daily meetings, actually every day. Online during the pandemic, of course. It's an investment that's worth it." What he appreciates most is that this is a team of experts meeting as equals. "There are no externally fixed structures. Everyone has the opportunity to learn and establish themselves as an expert, even as a newcomer." He shares Bruno Quint's pragmatic approach. As product owner, he chooses the best from the agile method box. "We don't favor any one set of principles. We use whatever moves us forward from Scrum, Kanban and Tuleap."

Questions lead to synergies

What has become increasingly important to the three in working together? Living up to the R&S®Trusted Gate product name, a culture of trusted communication, mistakes and questions has established itself. As Fabian Richter says, "We can rely on one another. No one has to hide professionally." Anja Braatz agrees: "You can only move ahead if you ask questions. We have the experts right here – it's great that we can share the knowledge we have in this way." And Bruno Quint adds, "Although the desire to see each other face to face again soon is very strong, we know we also function excellently as a team from different locations. We believe in the team's synergies: our doors are open. In the office, and also in our minds."

Meet our colleagues

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Dr. Bruno Quint, Software Director

"Asking questions means improving code, improving product, improving the future. We believe in the team's synergies: our doors are open. In the office, and also in our minds."

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Dr. Anja Braatz, Software Developer

"We push the boundaries of the technically possible – a little further every day. We are all experts in our field – and share our knowledge with each other."

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Fabian Richter, Product Owner

"Our teamwork is what sets us apart: creativity, reliability and security-oriented decisions. Communication within the team is vital. We are a team of experts meeting as equals."