Monday, April 25, 2011

bBox- the impact of internationals




    Dear readers,


           As the internal rules allowed us to reveal only a small interesting part of our work in the bBox Project, and also, for the feelings and personal experiences that we shared with you, we are extremely happy to have had you as constant visitors of our blog. Thank you for letting us feel supported!
            I personally want to compare the bBox blog to an energy capsule! And very much hope that you can all have it as a reference to what an AIESEC project based on exchange can take the shape and dimensions of.
           We are very happy that this kind of project was embraced by one of the most important IT companies in Germany –Fiducia IT AG– and very proud to have been part of an amazing working environment, benefit from the expertise of German colleagues and also, to have been offered an amazing 'playing' field. In our laboratory nothing was impossible and every need we had as a team in our development process had been satisfied. Now, we are absolutely astonished by the results we achieved in only six months together, in a unique and diverse team.



         Preparation of the bBox Final presentation for Mr. Klaus-Peter Bruns (Head of    Application Development Department, Fiducia IT AG)


             We had been challenged to come up with new and creative ideas and we reached this goal with big confident steps. Today, our most innovative ideas are implemented into a functional application and we are now keeping our fingers crossed so that the bBox concepts  are used in future banking.
bBox members and project initiators together with Mr. Bruns
(Fiducia IT AG Training Center - April 19, 2011) 


           As for an original way of ending the bBox project and still enjoy its spirit, Fiducia thought of absorbing more of our everlasting energy in another creative way. Not only we leave behind an innovative banking application, but also, a very nice painting that we have worked at together. This is how our project managers want to keep our impact inside Fiducia. And we are quite sure that everybody will always smile at the sight of the bBox masterpiece and remember the ‘loud happy team of internationals’ that used to work in room 6.1.38 . J



                                  (Fiducia IT AG Training Center - April 20, 2011)


           We had the most incredible six months of our lives, we became friends and enjoyed sunny Karlsruhe as if it was our home! We now end this experience with special thanks to our  project initiators in Fiducia – Mr. Uwe Joas, Mr. Herbert Ziefle, Mr. Jens Zimmermann– and organizer – Mrs. Leonie Bartz, and to AIESEC LC Karlsruhe, for making this partnership a successful experiment.




              It was a pleasure writing for you. Best regards in the name of the bBox team,
                                                                                                 Claudia  Corches




Wednesday, April 20, 2011

bBox Project Manager speaks










University: University of Economics, Prague
Field of study: International Management
Most interesting achievement/ prize: Award of Excellent Master’s Thesis (Evaluation of regulation in electricity industry) and Awarded project about Corporate Social Responsibility for Societe Generale
Favorite tools: Microsoft Project, Gantt Project
Favorite (technical) website: http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Business_Technology, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology

‘‘If someone masters the art of communicating serious issues and combining it with big portions of good humor, that is Stan. I believe I speak for my colleagues too when I say that our leader made our days at work. What he likes most is travelling, and this could be easily observed from his general knowledge of the world. He has visited more than 25 countries so far and among the most interesting experiences is Asia. Besides, he is able to conversate in English, Russian, German, Slovak and, of course, Czech. So, you choose the language. ’’
                                       
Claudia Corches: ‘‘Stan, I want us to begin with some funny details. I know that in the first phase, you had your phone interview with Fiducia IT AG representatives while being in Syria. Tell us more. ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘ Yes, that’s right. When Fiducia scheduled the interview for me I was in Aleppo in Syria with 40 Celsius degrees  and extreme humidity. So I was sitting in a shabby hotel room with no air-co and for an hour I was holding the phone next to my ear. Naturally, one sweat during the interview even at the room temperature, so after my interview I looked like after a football match. ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘How did you feel about the opportunity of working for Fiducia IT AG? ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘I definitely loved it. It was difficult to imagine that a company which provides core banking software for almost 800 banks, 100 thousand bankers and 66 million accounts, asks a group of international students to propose how could their user interface look like in the future. And not only that, Fiducia IT AG provided us with all the necessary resources, knowledge support and 6 months of freedom. That’s an opportunity window which does not open every day. ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘You not only have academic background in the field of banking, but also have achieved working experience at Societe Generale and Uni Credit Bank. How do you perceive the banking world today? ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘I was always attached to the finance world, well… because the most basic rule says “cash is the king”. So, I always tried to understand the financial relations, since I know their importance in any kind of business. And this drove me to banking, which I took as my minor at university and also to some projects with banks, too. ’’  

Claudia Corches: ‘‘You had no experience with IT until the bBox Project. What do you think were the components that made you an effective leader in this context? ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘In any case, leading an IT project without previous IT experience is very difficult. Naturally, I tried to get the basics of software development and project management in IT, but sometimes I felt simply lost. In these cases, I had to rely on my team, which proved to be a very trustworthy one.
Later on, the team found its way to cooperate and I could finally focus on the project management, so ensuring the programmers get the right information from Nair and Clara, prioritize them and deliver code in time. ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘Your job was not only related to scanning this new environment and leading the team. You also got involved into building and shaping our new concepts for banking. Please explain in what way you did contribute for a change. ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘Eventhough my primary role was project manager, I just cannot miss the opportunity to express my imagination how the future banking system could look like. In a later phase of the project, we made a very efficient concept development trio, when Nair float in out-of-the box-solutions, Clara put her process analytical input and I was consolidating it all with a little sniff of the business world. ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘Stan, I kept trying to understand… What has been happening inside the leader’s mind all this six month time? ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘Simple idea ‘Managers do things right; leaders do the right thing.’ So, I needed to literally every day review, if we were going the right way. Since the team was quite passionate about pretty much anything and they would do a tremendous job even on absolutely not-project-related tasks, in my mind I thought again and again if everybody was at in any moment doing the task that would help reaching the project goal the most. ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘I was really curious to know: how easy was for you to perceive us, as your team members, to sense our capabilities and capacity to execute tasks in a coherent way?’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘Good question. Every team needs time until they find the right working style and division of roles. For the bBox and naturally for me, it took approximately 2,5 months. It is long time, but one must take into account that we came from totally different backgrounds and we were supposed to work on innovation, where any standard or guideline would do only harm. After this time, I finally learned the strengths, weaknesses and capabilities of each member, so since then, we have been working (at least in my opinion) in a coherent and efficient way.’’

 Claudia Corches: ‘‘You are also a very experienced AIESECer. Which is the most interesting project you have ran and how has all this been helping you in your work outside our organization?’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘In 2007, I spent almost a whole year as a project manager of Career Days. This is the biggest Czech career fair, with 40 top companies and 1700 students, who attend various sessions with those employers. This event required over 10 months of preparation, and translated into an organization committee of 70 people and 20 subcontractors. And my role was to deliver this event, from the first scratch of concept to closing report. Attractive experience, isn’t it? ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘What was bBox for you in the very beginning and please, tell me, to what extent is it different now? ’’
Stanislav Haba: ‘‘The bBox at the beginning was a huge question mark for me: What should we do? How? What quality? What to do first? To be honest, for the first weeks I was sometimes a little bit lost, because the assignment was defined broadly, the team did not know each other and foremost those breakthrough ideas did not come when one requested.
Now, less than 48 hours before the end of the project, the bBox stands for amazing solutions, for prove of great things that young people can do, for successful cooperation between Fiducia and students, for easy banking systems, for financial services as fun and for the future of banking in general. ’’

Claudia Corches: ‘‘Thank you, Stan. It was a pleasure working with you!’’


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

bBox in Prague

This is one of our nicest trips together...


video

Already nostalgic about the time spent together and exhausted after the great final presentation of our project today, we want to just enjoy this short video and share it with you.

Writing soon,

Claudia

Friday, April 15, 2011

Unforgettable meeting with Volksbank Karlsruhe



Tuesday, April 12, 2011, we had the third meeting with Volksbank Karlsruhe. Mr. Achim Michel, Volksbank Karlsruhe Manager) and Mrs. Silke Hoch Head of Department, were the Volksbank representatives to receive us this time. Even from the very beginning we could feel them eager for us to start the presentation of a six month work. So we did not keep the audience waiting but went directly to the focus of attention: the bBox final prototype.

Stanislav Haba, bBox Project Leader

Firstly, we wanted to create a simulation of the bBox Prototype. To achieve this and also, a better understanding and easy to visualize testing session, the team thought of a more interactive way of doing it: a short play, with well defined roles:

–        Narrator 1: Nair – explaining programmed features
–        Narrator 2: Xi Huang – explaining conceptual additional features
–        Banker 1: Paulo
–        Banker 2: Delyana
–        Customer: Felipe

The first scenario, about a customer to the banker meeting, was played by Paulo, in the role of a banker , and Felipe, in the role of the customer. The customer had the goal of getting a consumer loan. So, the two bBox ‘players’ went together through the steps of a consumer loan process, both using a tablet device.



Why? As you might had seen in our previous post in the bBox trailer, one of our main important ideas was to tear down the wall between tha banker and the customer.


So, in this case, the customer was able to visualize what the banker was doing with his personal information and communicate easily all the required data. At some point, Felipe, was able to enter his own personal details so that he need not explain to the banker his complicated name: involving the client and gaining time! Also, when the Paulo (banker 1) needed to block some fields or the whole view on the customer’s device, Felipe could still enjoy the meeting and kill time by playing a short game or visualize some financial product advertisements. We simulated the ideal case, in which, after enjoying a short interactive meeting, Felipe completed the first important step for the credit to buy the car of his dreams. Only approval from the back office needed. J


The second scenario involved another type of interaction, namely banker to banker. Our hosts could easily observe how the navigation system has been radically improved and perceive the gestures Delyana and Paulo used to open new applications, run from one step of the process to the other, delegate tasks and communicate. Also, what they loved the most was observing to what extent they could ideally socialize with the other bankers in the system.


So, you can easily guess what had happened next, right? Of course! Playing and running the devices themselves. The bankers of Volksbank Karlsruhe were the first ones to play and actually see most of their suggested ideas and feedback implemented.   


In the end, we were expected by Mr. Gerhard Rastetter   CEO of Volksbank Karlsruhe– , to say our goodbyes in another meeting room. Only that, the ending of this meeting was the most unexpected one.  A whole team of bankers was prepared not to talk to us about any of possible work subjects, but to…SING for us! Yes!  Mr. Rastetter not only leads the actual bank clerks of Volksbank Karlsruhe in everyday working  life  but also in the context of an amazing quire that they form together. We were truly impressed about the way people enjoyed this special activity inside such an important company. Our congratulations!



We very much appreciate Volksbank Karlsruhe members’ time and implication and the vision they follow: ‘Wir machen den Weg frei!’ Therefore, thank you, Volksbank Karlsruhe, for thinking out of the box and contributing to the bBox project!
                                   
                                                               The bBox Team 


Watch here Volksbank’s quire performing!


                                          video


video









Wednesday, April 13, 2011

bBox Trailer

Dear readers,

this is our special way of ending an amazing innovation project and get ready for the launch of the final bBox application inside Fiducia IT AG.
              
Now:

§  95% of main functionalities implemented

§  Total workload: ca. 7000 hours

§  Feedback from 26 bankers

    End of Project: April 21st, 2011


Enjoy our bBox short teaser, a piece of work to which Nair dedicated herself with talent:



The very early stage of building the bBox stop motion video:




And the final result J


      video

        Cheers,
                                        
                     Claudia




Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pipe, the free spirit in the bBox


          
University: Universidad Distrital Franciso Jose de Caldas
Field of study: System Engineering
Favorite developer tools: Eclipse, Power Designer
Favorite (technical) website: http://www.google.com

’’Felipe (Pipe) is the ‘free spirit’ of the team. He would never get tired, since IT is what runs through his veins and keeps him focused. Life seems such an open field to him, so he shares this attitude within the project every day. Since in Germany, he used every single weekend for travelling to a lot of cities (Frankfurt, Berlin, Heidelberg, Cologne, Nürnberg, ) and also other countries. Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Great Britain. What would you recommend him for a next trip?’’      
     
Claudia Corches: ’’Pipe, you are a very charismatic person and we are all happy to be your colleagues. But you must have had a strong motivation to come all your way from Colombia to work here with us!’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’Well… I can say that even from the very beginning, when I joined AIESEC, I was very much surprised about the large number of job offers in Germany raised on the platform. And since I was learning German before, it would all fit quite well in the context, so I just decided to apply. Eventhough some of the people could not imagine that I  could actually achieve this goal, I succeeded: if you want, you can!’’

Claudia Corches: ’’You are still studying System Engineering, but at the same time, have your own IT company: Making Solutions SAS. So it is possible to work in parallel and be your own boss when you are passionate! But still, how did it all start and how did you manage so far with these activities?’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’Ok, our company is not as big as Fiducia IT AG is, hahaha! Besides, I am not alone in this business, my brother (Juan Manuel Goyes) and a friend of mine (Andres Botia) who were studying with me at the same university are helping me all the time. Anyway, time is always something that you can arrange depending on your priorities. ’’

Claudia Corches: ’’What was the most interesting thing you’ve done at your previous work places? I know that you have mostly experienced as a developer but also worked as a typesetter and operator.’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’Each job teaches you so many different things from shifts, schedules, punctuality, working under pressure, and so, you keep being better and better.  But  I remember one of them: I was working as a developer in a small company. So far, nothing special :) It was only in the end when I realized that our application was being used in more countries in south America... and the number of persons who worked at it was less than 5, including the boss and the marketing person. This made me so glad and proud of my skills.’’

Claudia Corches: ’’How would you describe the bBox Project?’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’Wow that’s a hard question! First of all, it is an amazing combination of human resources :) (8 people from with different cultural backgrounds) all focused on one purpose: bringing a change to interaction with banking software. Second, I also think it is the right way to break paradigms and that’s what we are doing. ’’ 

Claudia Corches: ’’I assume it opened new perspectives for you as a programmer. But explain us how it gave you the possibility to grow professionally.’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’I learned a lot here and, as most of the team members, I hadn’t had programed in objective-C before. Plus, I could also program a small application on Android which was enough to see that no matter the platform you choose, you still have so many possibilities as a programmer.’’   

Claudia Corches: ’’I am pleasantly surprised each single day at work of how a great working couple you are forming together with Delyana, and also getting along very well in Spanish or English with Paulo and Aldo :) What were the things to help you build these relationships?’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’Well, I don’t know what exactly were the things to help, but we understand each other good. Perhaps it is the way that we used to work, and also, the time spent together, who knows? But what it's really important is that we can spread this feeling to the whole team and make our relationships even stronger.’’

Claudia Corches: ’’You also worked closely with Paulo in the Android vs. Apple competition. What were your tasks and what did you learn?’’
Felipe Goyes: ’’The tasks were the same for both teams: just a basic app with some gestures to control it. However, in our team there was an advantage, since I had already had experience with JAVA. So, I could work with Paulo who hadn’t worked in it before and I think that, together, we did a great job since our application did everything that it should have done. In short, I learned that if you know the programming language, there are always some issues when you are migrating to a mobile application which you should keep in mind.’’ 

Claudia Corches: ’’Also, you seemed to me like very patient and calm, realistic and the one that, first of all puts an emphasis on the problems. Is this your working style: first discard unfeasible ideas and then think of solutions for the best ideas to be implemented?
Felipe Goyes: ’’Well, make the things simple and be realistic, that’s all what you need to solve any problem.’’

Claudia Corches: ’’Short and concise! Great. Thanks, Pipe!’’




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