In part 2 of our mini series “Rock & Role” we are about to share a Tandemploy Best Practice with you. Our colleague Christoph is taking on a new role in the product team these days. In the following interview he tells us how he manages this role next to his role as Digital Marketing Manager, how it changes his daily work routine, and how he deals with role conflicts.
You can read part 1 of our series about “Roles vs. Positions” here.
Dear Christoph, this week we are talking about roles and how they make it possible for us to work according to our strengths and interests. Can you tell us what your strengths are? What do you enjoy doing and what are you good at?
I’m a problem solver. I like numbers, data, and facts and I enjoy learning new programs and tools that, in the long run, help me to spend more time doing new things. But above all I like variety. The thought of doing the same tasks over and over again without looking right or left would feel extremely demotivating to me. It’s probably advantageous to me that I’m very curious and can familiarize myself quickly with new areas. I always want to get to the bottom of a problem (source) and not just scratch the surface (symptoms).
This may sound very technical, but I find the behavior and perception of people just as exciting. Why do people behave the way they behave? What holds them back from doing things they want to do? These are interesting questions, with even more interesting answers.
What roles and associated areas of responsibility have resulted from this for you at Tandemploy?
I work in the marketing team and recently took on a role in the product team. In marketing, I can easily combine the two topics that I’m most interested in – human behavior and technology. It is fascinating to think about what expectations a visitor to our website has, what they find there, and what they take away. Do they see what we are trying to show them? Or don’t they because we assume too much pre-existing knowledge or because they can’t find that one important page they were looking for? Of course, the same is true for the users of our products. Although the goal of the users is a different one, they still have to be able to understand quickly and easily what they can do with our tool. And of course, good usability of our tool motivates users to try out more things, invite others to use it, and, last but not least, promote change in their company – simply because they enjoy using our software.
Abstractly, my role could be described as an ‘enabler’. I want our users to be in a position to make the best use of our technology (website or SaaS) without any outside help. In technical terms, I might be described as a UX/UI/marketing manager with a penchant for data analytics and QA as well as SysAdmin for lots of tools. Oh yeah and selfie stick :-D .
What led you to take on the role in the product team? What was the trigger and what attracted you to it?
I think our product is really exciting (I guess I would be kind of misplaced if I didn’t :D ) and I’m interested in how it will develop. And since I’m mainly responsible for our website in marketing, especially the technical part, I’m not that far away from what happens in product development. Our website is currently at a good level, which does not require as many resources (and my time) as in the past. Therefore it was somehow an obvious decision that I would help out with the product now. There is always enough to do (also thanks to some new customers).
What does switching between roles mean for you in your day-to-day work?
At the moment the change means a bit of an adjustment at first, because the team and the structures are new. I know all the team members very well, but in many cases we haven’t worked together as closely as we do now. Also, in marketing I was often my own project manager. Now I’m more part of a project team. I’m curious about the difference. However, I’m also taking over a new project, so the difference could be negligible. In the project, I’ll also be working on things I haven’t done before, so I expect to learn a lot. And I think what I learn will also help me in my role as Digital Marketing Manager.
Practically speaking, how do you organize yourself with your colleagues? How do you communicate in the different roles?
I’m still working on that. Currently, there is a clear cut between the two and I am concentrating primarily on the product role. In marketing, the team is taking over some of the tasks that were previously mine, so that I can concentrate better on the new role, which helps a lot. However, our project management tool JIRA helps me a lot in organizing the tasks. It means that nothing gets lost and it’s relatively easy to categorize and prioritize tasks. Then, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether a task is due in marketing or in product. I know my capacities and can then estimate what I can manage.
Are there sometimes conflicts between the roles you have? And if so, how do you deal with them? And how do you deal with role conflicts as a team?
So far so good. And somehow I don’t expect any either. In the end, you can talk about everything objectively. And if, for instance, it comes to capacity bottlenecks on my part, because there are too many tasks for me in both areas, I can always just discuss this with my colleagues and we find a solution together.
Tandemploy is considered an example of a corporate culture that puts people first. Many employees are on friendly terms with each other. Is it difficult to see people separately from their roles? Or does the conscious separation rather help to stay connected on a personal level even when it comes to conflicts?
Hmm, that’s a difficult question and I think the answer is very personal depending on who you ask. It’s true, we are all very friendly with each other. In my 3.5 years at Tandemploy, I’ve had very few and mostly mild conflicts. And in those cases I didn’t feel that personal proximity got in the way. On the contrary, I think it helped because you understand each other better and can and want to better understand the other’s motivation. I can also imagine that closeness leads to fewer conflicts, because you can clarify things much faster and problems don’t accumulate. However, I don’t know if you can generalize my experience because people deal with closeness, problems and conflicts very differently. As for me, I would always prefer closeness to professional distance.
What is your favorite role outside of work?
Besides the ones in various games probably just: good friend.