People and Culture

“We are now responsible for all matters concerning our team.” - Dominik von Burg explains his self-organised team

Dominik von Burg, Lead Project Manager, Zühlke
3 minutes to read

Dominik von Burg is enthusiastic about working in the first completely self-organised team at Zühlke Switzerland. He is convinced that such forms of cooperation will be even more common in the future.

Which solutions at Zühlke did you find particularly exciting?

I have been with Zühlke for two years and have been lucky enough to be able to work with innovative technologies from the very beginning: Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud Development – everything you could wish for. In one project, for example, we used Deep Learning to determine the thickness of pantographs. But for me, the most exciting thing is when we can work out a solution that delivers a lot of added value. This does not necessarily have to involve the latest technology: sometimes the solution can be a classic one.

How much teamwork is behind every new development here?

Almost all our solutions are developed as a cooperative effort. Supporting the teams so that they perform in the optimum manner is always a challenge. That is why we invest a lot of time in a "Team Charter" at the beginning of the project: together with everyone involved – including the customers – we look to see whether we have the necessary skills in the team, and we establish how we will work together.

You work in the first completely self-organised team in Zühlke Switzerland. What does that mean for you?

I am still elated that we were able to launch this experiment at Zühlke. For our group it was and is very exciting! We ourselves are now responsible for all matters concerning our team – for example, internal resource planning. In addition, we also coach one another. At the beginning we wrote a manifesto with clear rules. So anyone who wanted to participate knew from the outset what they were getting into (laughs). There are now nine of us, and I can well imagine that there will be more teams like us in the future. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: our type of organisation will not be suitable for everyone. Those who prefer to leave the administrative work to their supervisor will probably feel more comfortable in a different structure.

How is the power of innovation strengthened by young talents in particular?

Many valuable ideas come from people who are not yet 'burdened' by a lot of experience, i.e. young people! But we don't actually differentiate between juniors and seniors in our project teams in any case. It's much more about how you approach a subject.

In your degree course, in which particular area should you 'sharpen up' to feel comfortable at Zühlke?

At the time, I focussed almost exclusively on technical aspects during my computer science degree course at the University of Applied Sciences in Berne. Since then, however, I have come to realise that empathy and communication are also important: misunderstandings simply generate a lot of work! Today, therefore, I would balance this a little better and also broaden my training in areas such as "Organisational Behaviour".