Scrum Master, designer and globetrotter: Sigi Gindele loves opposites – and talks about differences in corporate culture between the US, Germany, designers and developers.
Your biography comes across as rather dynamic. What are you doing at the moment?
I’m a Scrum Master, currently in SAFe-, i.e.: a scaled context.
What exactly does that mean?
Originally Scrum was designed for being applied in small teams. SAFe is a framework for larger projects where several Scrum teams service the same product. That means, we Scrum Masters coordinate not only within our teams but also between teams and on the program level.
Which projects are you working on right now?
My team looks after (together with a few other teams) the myAudi website.
Plus, as an Agile Team – that’s the Scrum Masters and Agile coaches from Valtech Mobility – we also want to shape our corporate culture and leave a positive mark.
What did you do before you started here?
I have a background in design, actually. After earning my degree in Communications Design, I focused on the areas of Online and Interactive, apart from some cross-media stints. I have gained experience of more than twenty years in various agencies, design offices and also in the IT business as graphic and web designer. I lived in the States for almost eight years and that gave me deep insights into the working methods of American advertising and multi-media agencies.
Silicon Valley is considered the gold standard in corporate culture. Is this just a cliché?
Personally, I experienced meeting people in American companies as relaxed, friendly and appreciative. On the other hand, a certain job security and work safety in Germany obviously has some advantages since the American culture of “hire & fire” is in many areas not a cliché. The biggest difference is the fact that some processes take longer here – the results however are correspondingly more stable and sustainable.
You have the impression that you were valued more in the USA?
(Laughs) I didn’t mean it like that. I’ve been on board here since January and I absolutely love it. The atmosphere is right on for me, people treat you with appreciation, I can inject my ideas, try out new things, learn and have a lot of fun in the process. Here, flat hierarchies are helpful and so are generous training budgets and the many great people here. For me, Valtech Mobility combines the advantages of an agency (as regards to a laid-back atmosphere) with the stability of a company that is experienced and mature. I can sense a company that in a certain way is “grounded” and that is good. Agility meets profound experience – an exciting combination.
Apropos agility: Developing from a designer into a Scrum Master is rather unusual, isn’t it?
Over the last few years, I have also finished my studies in art therapy and creative coaching on the side and there I’ve gained professional experience as a gestalt therapist in psychosomatic clinics. I love people very much. I was looking for a job that would be fun, allow me to live in a city like Munich where I could apply my foible for people and change processes; and that led me right back again to the IT business. But this time as a Scrum Master instead of a designer, to be able to work more closely with people.
The merging of formerly separate “shops“ such as IT, UX and Business Development makes cross-functional teams even more important: How can you combine the different backgrounds as smoothly as possible?
That’s true, in our cross-functional teams, people with a sometimes diametrically opposing focus and cultural differences work together closely. But I just love those kind of challenges, that’s why I’m a Scrum Master in an agile team. To bring people together that are working towards a common goal, where everybody can contribute with their respective strengths – that’s the goal. So people can flourish and the result is right.