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Telekom Strategy Consulting Team

Of Scrum, Sprints, Squads and Tribes

Do I really get an insight into the strategic work of the company during an internship at Deutsche Telekom's Center for Strategic Projects? My resume: exciting tasks, great colleagues, learned a lot – and only to be recommended.

Rugby players standing in formation performing a scrum during a game

Also in sports, the team stands at the center, but Scrum does not only stand for ordered pushing and shoving in rugby.

Have you ever heard of Squads, Tribes, Chapters or Clusters? To be honest: I have not. Today, after a five-month internship at Deutsche Telekom, I can't imagine my vocabulary without the terms of the Spotify model. This is how the music streaming service structures its agile organization. In the beginning, we had to learn vocabulary and find our way in the jungle of agility, which consisted not only of the agile values and principles of Spotify, but also of the application and life of the Scrum working methodology. This has its roots in agile software development as a process model for project and product management. The software is therefore no longer developed for months at a time, but instead smaller, digestible portions are built step by step, which are regularly iterated with the customer. This enables customers to obtain intermediate results more quickly and intervene in the further development of a product at an early stage.

Insights into strategy consulting

Agile working methods and organizational structures have not necessarily been the focus of my studies as a master student of business psychology, not even in my previous internships. Here I concentrated mainly on HR topics. That's why I wanted to do something completely different and get an insight into the strategic processes of a company at Deutsche Telekom's in-house consulting, develop consulting skills and actively work on future topics for Deutsche Telekom. After the five months of my internship, I can say: It was worth it!

My first day as an intern fell on a Friday. And as it quickly turned out, it was the ideal day to start. Because on Center Friday, all consultants from the Center for Strategic Projects (CSP) meet to work together on internal center topics. A real highlight is the joint business lunch, to which we also invite guests to exchange knowledge. Sometimes CSP also gets a visit from the Board of Management, recently even the Telekom CEO Tim Höttges dropped by. Fun is not neglected either, so a game of table football is also part of it. The Center Friday is therefore a very good opportunity to get to know the colleagues personally who otherwise work on site at their customers and in their projects from Monday to Thursday.

Easy entry thanks to your own buddy

The personal CSP-Buddy made the introduction much easier. He welcomed me, explained everything important about the work, Deutsche Telekom, the daily routine and introduced me to his colleagues. The initial excitement was quickly dispelled. Everyone was very nice, collegial, likeable - and better than me. At CSP everyone pulls together, respects everyone in the group and also as an intern I was able to get involved and suggest things that were then implemented. Basically, the interns were always expected to do a lot and were therefore offered a lot of creative freedom - which was great to be able to develop further.

Fridays are also the day of the Jour Fixes of the various Business Practices at CSP. Each consultant is assigned a thematic focus. For example, I worked in the business practice "Organization & HR" (OHR). Here we dealt with OHR-specific topics on a weekly basis in small groups. The nice thing about it was that I had a thematic home port right from the start, although consulting itself was still new territory for me. But here I celebrated my first consulting success directly. I extended the Buddy concept by OHR-specific onboarding measures in order to enable new consultants to enter the CSP even better in the future and to provide them with the best possible support. In addition, I drove with my colleagues from the practice to a two-day offsite in Munich, where I conducted a workshop exercise with them to playfully experience agile work.

Scene for a video shoot in the office

Within the CSP operations, I experienced new facettes and also further developed the Trafo Talk concept - stay tuned.

The consultants also take on internal tasks for CSP. In these so-called "operations" they refine internal processes, provide knowledge packages, are responsible for CSP recruiting or do public relations work for CSP. This was interesting to me and so I became a member of a small team that fired up TrafoTalk, our blog on the CSP website. Here I got to know completely new creative facets of the consulting job. For example, I was involved in the shooting of interviews and was responsible for the setting on location, the shooting itself and the subsequent editing.

Agile working in a cross-functional team

A large consulting project was on my list during the five months of my internship: the agile transformation of Telekom Deutschland - in Telekom-German: Agile TD. Telekom Deutschland focuses on agile work and an agile work mentality. In an agile organization, teams work cross-functionally, autonomously and with end-to-end responsibility on the development of products. These teams, called squads in the Spotify model, usually work according to Scrum and thus in two-week cycles, the so-called sprints. At the beginning of each sprint, we defined which results we wanted to achieve and present in the following two weeks. In addition to sprint planning, there are other Scrum ceremonies such as daily stand-up meetings, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives. In addition to the Scrum Meetings, I always had a lot of direct contact with the customers, prepared workshops, moderated meetings and actively participated in many discussions.

AT TD, Squads with up to nine participants form the smallest unit of a group and consist of a product owner and a scrum master in addition to the cross-functional development team. A product owner prioritizes the tasks and represents the interests of the client. A Scrum Master, on the other hand, bears the methodical responsibility and serves to remove obstacles. The next larger unit is the Tribe, which in turn consists of several squads. The tribes at TD work on the company's core products. Thus, there is a broadband tribe, a TV tribe and a mobile tribe. A hub was set up for the Tribes, which functions as the backbone and supports the Tribes across the board. Within the hub I was a member of the Personal Squad. We was responsible for attracting employees to the various agile roles and enabling them to switch to the virtual organization. Here I was in my HR element, defining the personas and target-group specific measures we needed to find the right candidates. But also the discussion about possible career paths in an agile organization or the further handling of the virtual change were part of my tasks.

Getting to know the consulting profession intensively

After two months my journey went on to the Mobilfunk-Tribe, where the CSP team and I were able to support the Tribe-Lead in setting up the Tribe architecture. An exciting question was, for example, which mobile topics and projects should be handled by a Tribe and which should remain in the line-function. In addition, I supported the thematic orientation and definition of clusters in the Tribe as well as the conception and establishment of a Tribe Management Office. I also carried out a statistical evaluation of the thematic and budget focal points of the Mobilfunk-Tribe in order to determine which squads we needed.

What was a typical daily routine during the internship like? In short, there was little typical because no two days were the same. Which is good, because the internship is ideal for intensively experiencing the consulting profession, improving moderation skills, internalizing customer-oriented work and, of course, getting to know Deutsche Telekom and its strategic measures. It was an exciting and instructive time during which I was able to develop myself enormously both personally and professionally.

Interested in an internship at CSP? Then have a look at our website.