A change in perspective

Working on a project in Check-IT is quite different from what I’m used to in the Netherlands. It is definitely a new experience for people that are used to the western way of doing projects. There are times when you automatically assume things about the other person and his way of doing things, that turn out to be different.

photo_2016-12-05_17-59-38The project me and my team are working on is one by a Dutch company, RiskID. It is about testing a person’s Risk Appetite. Risk Appetite is a measure for the willingness of a person to take certain risks in the business world. Our task is to create this test and to show the results to the user. This test should be contained in a web application and eventually in a mobile application as well. The Risk Appetite test is based on scientific research by a Dutch professor, so it’s important that we stay in contact with him to implement the algorithms correctly.

The team consists of 4 people. Me and Luna are the back-end programmers. Cuzy is the front-end programmer and Tara is the designer. Every person on the team has a different background and area of expertise, so we can easily divide the tasks. We make sure to use Scrum as well as we can, to make sure everyone does their tasks on time and to see potential problems coming early. We hold a standup meeting every day and make a burndown chart every sprint. This has really helped us to overcome difficulties in the project and make our planning for future better.

After the second sprint, our product owner Mike visited us from Wuxi. He wanted to meet the project team and he wanted to get to know us. He has experienced both the Chinese and the Dutch culture, and can speak both languages fluently. This means he can understand the culture differences very well and can understand everyone’s frame of reference. In the afternoon we went to have a meeting at a fancy coffee shop. After going over our peer review together with Mike, we had a Skype meeting with other stakeholders of the project, to discuss how the project was going. We talked a lot with our product owner and after having dinner with him, we said our goodbyes. I really like the way we got to know our product owner. This makes it feel like he is truly invested in this project and wants to see it working out, while at the same time taking a lot of pressure off of our shoulders.

Reflecting on our project so far, I think the Chinese students are very nice to work with. They often don’t strictly follow work times or they take a nap when they are tired, but it seems that they work more efficient than Dutch students outside of those times. They might not always be used to the same style of working or communicating, but they are willing to adapt and quick to learn. I’m really glad I don’t have to do too much work to be able to understand each other and work together!