Boxer Spotlight: Michał Pobrotyn, Agile Coach at Box
Tell us about yourself and your role at Box
My name is Michał and I’m an Agile Coach at Box. I started my career as a software developer, but quite early I realized that what I enjoy most is facilitating all kinds of team’s efforts around digital product development – especially with the help of agile methods and tools. I have gained diverse experience in agile methodologies via my roles as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Agile Coach roles (to name just a few).
My role at Box is to support our Build organization in leveraging agile software development mindset so that we can keep blowing our customers’ minds. In day-to-day practice, it means coaching our developer teams, product organization, and other parts of Box how to best use frameworks and methods, like Scrum or Kanban, for solving complex problems. It’s all about cultivating engineering culture where we take risks looking for bold solutions, fail fast on a learning journey, and getting stuff done using an incremental approach. My role is to keep this engine up and running and constantly improving.
Why did you choose Box?
After 10 years spent in big enterprises from a range of industries (automotive, telecommunications, finance), I wanted to move into a smaller, nimble company that is focused on a single, modern digital product. Another equally important aspect I paid great attention to was outstanding company culture that’s fundamental for agile mindset to thrive. When I found an open opportunity at Box, I quickly realized it ticks all the boxes (!) for me. Now, after 3 months of being a Boxer, I can tell you what I’ve experienced at Box so far has exceeded all my expectations!
Tell us about your team and the teams you collaborate with. What are some of the exciting challenges you’re looking forward to tackling?
I’m a part of the Technical Product Management (TPM) team whose mission is to drive the execution and delivery of Build Strategic programs to realize Box's ultimate potential. To be more specific – within TPM there is also small (but mighty!) agile wing where my colleagues Mitch and Pete, and I, take care of the process side of things, especially when it comes to our Build ways of working and similar initiatives under “agility” banner. My personal favorite part of the job is that we get to collaborate with all of the teams in the Build organization! The nature of our work gives us an opportunity to interact with a wide array of teams, depending on their current needs and scope of initiatives. In my first weeks as an Agile Coach at Box, I had a pleasure of working with such important Box EMEA teams as Canvas, Sign, and the newly founded Notifications. Almost every week there is another team I meet. It’s a very interesting time for me, and I hope it is for the teams as well!
Build Ways of Working (BWoW) initiatives like Agile/Scrum Role Trainings, Behavioral Driven Development (BDD) Implementation, and Team Working Agreements (TWA) are just a few challenges we’re intensively working on right now. Looking ahead, the challenge I personally am looking forward to tackle the most is driving alignment while fostering autonomy of our new teams in Amsterdam and Warsaw offices. That’s a unique opportunity to witness and shape new parts of an organization at such a scale as we grow in our EMEA part of Build right now. It’s great to be an owner in such a challenging time!
What’s been your favorite part about working with the Poland office?
When I joined Box, one thing that struck me and was very different from my previous experiences was that almost everybody in Poland office is… as new as I am. “I’ve joined only a few months before you…” was a single sentence I heard most, and it was immediately followed by “…yet I can still tell you that Box culture is wonderful!”. So far in my career, I’ve experienced joining well established teams and organizations where almost all rules were set, people knew each other for years, and challenging status quo was quite a thing to try. With Box presence in Poland, there is no such a thing, and we build together as new Boxers a very open, modern and dynamic part of the company – quite a refreshing experience I personally value very much!
On top of that, in my specific case of working fully remotely from a beautiful city of Wrocław, it’s also very important to notice that everybody is so open and collaborative no matter where they work from – Warsaw office, remotely from other parts of Poland or from Redwood City, CA with… 9 hours of time zone difference. Especially with our US Boxers I appreciate all the efforts of their early morning hours to enable our global collaboration and make it as smooth as possible – I take it as a sign of deep respect and very visible proof of living Box’s values.
What is your favorite Box value?
It’s very difficult to name just one! As some of you may have already noticed I’ve sneaked some of them in my answers above as they very quickly became natural part of my Boxer DNA… and they align with my personal values very much too!
But if I really need to pick only one then it is probably the most universal and understood the same way no matter what origin or culture you are coming from. Be kind, do your job as a pro and above else treat others with respect, simply…make mom proud!