All you need to know about Rabobank Engineer's Week

IT engineering is a hugely dynamic field of work nowadays. The world of banking and IT is changing rapidly and in order to keep up with these changes, we need to become more efficient and faster in everything we do. Rabobank IT acknowledges that, and, in many squads and teams, people are involved and acting to build the path where the changes can happen.

Determine what behaviors and beliefs you value as a company and have everyone live true to them.
Brittany Forsyth, VP of Human Relations, Shopify

This calls for a culture with engineers at its core. A culture where the development community works in an autonomous way, conscient of its own duties. A culture where growth and development are part of daily work. A culture where engineers are free to dream, discover and grow, to innovate and experiment, to fail, make mistakes and learn from them. Rabobank IT is committed to that!

Culture: a result of people’s behaviours and beliefs

Brittany Forsyth, VP of Human Relations, Shopify says: “Determine what behaviours and beliefs you value as a company and have everyone live true to them. These behaviours and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as culture.”

We could say, so, that culture is a result of people’s behaviours and beliefs. More connections exist, more common behaviours can appear. Considering that a community is a group of people, organized communities are the consequence of people that have something in common and eventually could express a similar behaviour and belief.

In this context, I strongly believe that encounters generate conversations, which have the potential to generate communities, which are the cradle for Engineering Culture.

Communities are a brilliant way of facilitating the right conversations we need to have.
Chris Stapper, Lead Community Manager, Rabobank

This is what we are seeing now in Rabobank: currently we already have 28+ self-organized communities, direct consequences of many encounters and similar behaviours. Chris Stapper, Lead Community Manager, defines this: “Community – and Engineering Culture as well – is basically a conversation. Communities are a brilliant way of facilitating the right conversations we need to have. It will lead to broader views and more informed discussions”.

Why an Engineer’s Week? 

As very well stated by Britt Staal, Community Manager, Rabobank: “An essential item which is crucial for engineering culture is a platform for people (in this context, engineers) to share knowledge and get inspired.”

The Engineer’s Week wants to be this platform, the place where the communities can meet each other. Pascale Thoma, IT Domain Manager in the Tribe Distribution within Rabobank, explains: “In our ambition to exceed customer expectations, engineers play a vital role. Curiosity and continuous learning are key for our engineers to flourish. The engineer’s week facilitates learning and inspires engineers to come with new ideas. Besides that it brings a lot of fun.”

IT is becoming a tradition

According to Mireille Brooijmans, IT Lead, Rabobank:  During the Engineer’s Week, the community experiences the power of our horizontal strengths and connections within our organization. IT is all about learning, sharing knowledge and developing him and herself; prerequisites of an Engineering Culture. IT is becoming a tradition!”

Mireille adds that Rabobank focuses on Engineering Culture because:

  • We do things that matter: growing a better world together for our millions of customers who interact daily on our platforms;
  • We are the change the Rabobank needs to become ‘the’ IT company with a banking license: on the one hand we want to beat the traditional banks, on the other hand we want to compare our company with the Googles and Amazons of this world;
  • Last, but not least: we realise we need people, we need their talent, dedication and drive: if we attract, develop and combine all our talents, we will grow. And together we can grow a better world; realize our ambition.

The event: from keynotes to PowerPoint Roulette

During the three days of the Engineer’s Week, the IT community organized more than 70 sessions. In total 3100 attendees participated in the many sessions, starting with the keynotes:

  • Thiago de Faria, from AWS, opened the event challenging everyone to focus on providing business solutions instead of technology only, with his talk: “I’m glad you’re wrong – a story about unlearning in Tech.” Unlearn, in the IT world, also means fail, adapt and improve fast.
  • Dave Stanke, from Google, closed the first day with his talk: “Build it big, build it fast, build it right,” a conversation about Bazel.
  • Dan Appleman, together with Sebastiaan Goossen, hosted the day 2 keynote to tell more about how to collaboratively create a culture of learning.
  • Also on the second day, Mark Robinson, TEDx speaker, shared the golden opportunity to boost one’s career and confidence, by learning how to give powerful presentations.
  • Milind Lakkad, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Human Resources from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), shared his company experiences on how to Build a learning culture.

Other than the keynotes, there were also session from the internal Rabobank IT community, which were organized in these lanes:

  • Tech skills: topics like Open Source, Contract Base Testing, Quality Assurance Strategy, DDD, Anomaly Detection, AI, RABIT, Cloud Journey, Integration, Pipelines, IaC, Spring Boot and DevOps are listed as some of the discussions in this lane, divided in many different sessions.
  • People skills & Freestyle: unlearn, change, sharing fails and lessons learned were part of the sessions.
  • Rabo organization & Non-tech: Engineering Culture, Learning and Training, Women in Tech, Speakers Academy, Powerful Presentations, Emerging Technologies and Impact Booster were some of the talks.

We closed the week with a PowerPoint Roulette, inviting the attendees to pitch an unknown PowerPoint presentation. It really brought a lot of surprises and fun.

What Rabobank colleagues think of the Engineer’s Week

“Thank you for organizing such a great and inspiring week. I think it spreads a lot of energy through the organization in terms of engineering culture. Also, I have noticed that the Engineer’s Week has started to become a regular topic of interest to many engineers: ‘Can we maybe in the future present this at the Engineer’s week?’ 

“In our hybrid working environment, Engineer’s Week has been a great way to meet my colleagues! Working from home, it’s very easy to get stuck in my usual network. This week of talks breaks the monotony and introduces me to new people I’d otherwise not meet.” 

What’s next?

One of the pillars of the engineering culture in Rabobank is to work agile. TransparencyInspection and Adaptation are part of our feedback loop, as well in the Engineer’s Week.  

Looking into the past to prepare our future, we foresee a bright future on the activities coming from the community and growing the participation and the number of events, including next Engineer’s Week editions, meet-ups, hackathons from many sizes, academy of speakers, the tech blog and improving the feedback loop.  

In this way, we expect to further grow and develop our engineers and bring more talents to the already mature community. Thus so, together, we grow a better world. 

About the author

Eduardo Barra Cordeiro
Solution Architect at Rabobank - Multi cloud Integration

Eduardo is an IT professional, focused in deliver value and solutions to my business. His current role is Solution Architect with focus in cloud integration, supporting clients to take decisions and design their solutions. It includes application integration (A2A), file transfer, API management and event streaming.

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