iOS development doesn’t hold many secrets for Joris DuboisHe knows every trick in the book – or so he thought. With iOS development for video, he was in for a surprise: more complex, more challenging. So why not add one more challenge, right? Joris is well on his way to becoming a full-time Scrum Master. Let’s check in on him.
Joris originally applied for a Scrum Master role at DPG Media but got rejected. And rightly so, he says. “When interviewing for the job, I was surprised by the professionalism and experience in agile at DPG Media. It all sounded so promising – the Scrum Master role was on a completely different level than I was used to. I knew I would not land the job, but I did get hyped up about the organization. But hey, end of story, right?”
Wrong. A job rejection has actually never been this good!
Landing a job, full-speed
Joris impressed both the recruiter and the hiring manager with his enthusiasm, ambition, and development skills. So yes, he did get the bad-news-call. And in that same call, he was asked to consider a role as iOS Developer with the chance to grow towards a Scrum Master role gradually.
“It all went so fast – only two weeks passed between my first interview and the offer. The recruitment team was swift to act, and the process was clear and well-constructed. The first interview was a company check to see if I fitted in the culture and way of working.” In Joris’ second interview, now for the second job, the focus was on technical skills and understanding. When he passed with flying colors, he met his future team to see if they’d be happy working together.
The team was happy to have him: just twenty minutes after meeting each other, Joris found a job offer in his mailbox. It didn’t take long for Joris to decide. Yes, he could have probably easily gotten a job as a Scrum Master at a start-up. He already had some experience after all. But he found DPG Media’s work environment to be much more challenging to take on such a role. And with this combined role, he had the chance to shine and learn as an iOS developer too.
iOS development for video is extremely challenging“I thought I had seen it all and done it all as an iOS Developer. I had made so many apps already, and they were all pretty much the same. The apps visualize data, whether that be news or soccer results, but there’s little interaction with the user. Maybe people can like something or subscribe, but that’s about it. With video, you enter a very different world as an iOS Developer. A much more complex one that isn’t in any way comparable to what I had done before.”
Joris had a steep learning curve ahead of him – which he welcomed with open arms. He joined the Popcorn squad: the team is responsible for the Streamz and VTM GO video players. “These are huge video platforms – everyone in Flanders knows them. And though the concept of watching videos through an app seems simple, it’s the opposite. You might think that all you need is a video file and a video player, but there’s much more to it. Just think of widely-accepted and used features such as downloading videos for offline use, video encryption, subtitles, and Airplay. Those are video-specific features that you don’t even touch upon as a ‘regular’ iOS Developer.”
Luckily, DPG Media has some true video experts in-house. Joris is quite excited about collaborating with them as they taught him a lot in a short amount of time – and still do. “It’s very refreshing to have so much room to develop my skills as a developer here. It’s ok that I don’t know some things yet.”
I don’t know what’s next for me exactly, but I’m confident something’s cooking already – things happen fast at DPG Media.
Intensive cross-squad collaboration
Video knowledge is spread out over multiple squads within the Video Area actually. Now, wait, what? An area? Simply put, all tech colleagues are part of a squad, and each squad is part of an area. For instance, there is an advertising area, a freemium area, and many more. The areas bring focus to the squads’ efforts. The Popcorn squad is part of the Video Area – video, popcorn, get it? They work on the web player, Android player, and iOS player. But that obviously is not all there is to video, so other squads work on different aspects, such as serving videos, for example.
“The teams depend on each other,” explains Joris. “To deliver features end-to-end, we have a close collaboration between the squads and the business. We need each other to think about features, backlogs, and timings constructively. We have a weekly business refinement to have a good understanding of both the context and the requirements. Of course, the Product Owners are the linking pin between it all, but it’s vital that we also ask questions and discuss solutions directly with the business – we’re not code monkeys.”
Ease on down the Scrum Master road
Slowly but surely, Joris is taking on the Scrum Master role. “From the start, I’ve told the team I wanted to take on the Scrum Master role. Even though we’ve never officially written down a plan to get there, it’s happening. One day, the Video Area Manager talked to me about my plans, and from that day forward, I was the team’s Scrum Master too. I combine the two roles; it’s about 50/50 now. It feels good to start small with a team I’m familiar with. I don’t know what’s next for me exactly, but I’m confident something’s cooking already – things happen fast at DPG Media.”
Combining both roles and perspectives can be challenging at times, Joris admits. “Look, most Scrum Masters have a background in organizational culture, people management, or something like that. I don’t have that; I have a technical background. That means I have a different approach, but it also means that I can learn a lot from our Scrum Master and agile community.”
Joris left his consultancy career and has never regretted it. “In consultancy, you’re the product. At DPG Media, you work on the product – it’s this nuance that makes a world of difference in the way of working. Also, working here feels very personal. The company truly invests in me and is supportive of my ambitions. Among colleagues, too, we communicate a lot and give each other feedback. I actually think of feedback as something fun, and it’s good to see that everyone is open to it here.”