Tobias Haußmann, 24, joined Daimler via a dual work-study program. He currently works as an IT expert at Daimler Buses, where he’s responsible for sales configurators and also works with external software companies on the modernization and further development of configuration solutions.
Could you please briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I graduated from high school in 2012 and thereafter did a voluntary social year. After that, I started working at Daimler in the area of business information systems as a dual student. What I really liked about the program was the exciting way it alternated between theory and practice. I also had the opportunity to do an internship abroad in Toronto. That was really exciting. The topics I addressed and the projects I participated in were all very interesting, which is the reason why I applied for a job in the same area.
Why did you choose to work for Daimler?
To be honest, in the beginning I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to work for Daimler. I felt like I didn’t fit in here somehow. I wanted to work in a small startup, and I was very unsure at the time whether I would be hired by Daimler. Nevertheless I applied — and I haven’t regretted it for a minute since. The company is international, you can work in many different fields, and you can develop professionally in a flexible manner. I’m also given a lot of responsibility for the areas I work in.
Is it possible to work at Daimler in a way that resembles work at a startup?
A lot of our work in IT involves projects, so it all depends on the subject. Work in major projects is designed in the way you would expect at a large corporation. What usually is very targeted and structured. However, there are also projects in which we’re able to work in an innovative and agile manner — like in a startup. In such cases, there is no big difference between Daimler and a small company.
Can you give us an example?
We used a very agile process to develop an in-house app. The idea was born during a department meeting. A couple of colleagues teamed up to form a working group. Because we were working completely on our own initiative, there was no predefined project goal. As our work proceeded, our solution began attracting more and more interest; meanwhile it has gotten as far as China.
Many people think of Mercedes-Benz Cars when they hear the name Daimler. Are buses not getting the attention they deserve here?
Yes, that’s definitely the case. You can’t compare a bus with a car. Cars are the more emotional product, but when you look at things in terms of the development and production phases, buses are much more exciting in my opinion. Nothing is impossible here — everything, from a special party bus with a bar to a “golden steering wheel”, can be designed and built. Development engineers have to take a large number of individual solutions into account because every bus is designed differently. Production employees are also very knowledgeable for the same reason — each bus has to be assembled differently. It’s this kind of variety that makes my IT job so attractive. We need to develop a lot of specialized solutions, so things never get boring.
You are responsible for the topic of “IT Product Documentation and Change Management” at Daimler. What exactly do you do?
Our “IT Product Documentation and Change Management” team is responsible for creating and maintaining our internal and external applications. Product documentation starts with the product development engineers in CAD and extends through change management to production, and it also includes the sales configurators which I’m responsible for. Our system comes into play every time a sales representative configures a bus with a customer. I work every day to ensure the continual further development of the configurators and their reliable operation. The big topic at the moment is the 3D configuration, which allows customers to individually configure a virtual bus — and they’ll definitely be using VR headsets for this in the future.
Please give us a simple example that basically describes your job.
As we go about our daily work, we need to meet many requirements of our business partners. Of course we want to realize them in the best possible manner and simultaneously comply with all provisions, for example those relating to the budget, scheduling, current IT standards, IT architecture, and IT security. In the project I’m currently working on, we’re building a 3D configurator for bus seating and handrails. We were also asked to make it possible to reuse the 3D models for configuring the seats in order to visualize the seats with suitable materials. This was basically a minor requirement, but it was nevertheless a major technical challenge in terms of systems because several different applications had to be integrated.
Your profile says you’re also a scrum master and speed coach. What exactly does that mean?
IT is changing at an ever-faster pace these days, which is why project work at companies needs to become more flexible. I was therefore given the opportunity to train as a scrum master and product owner. This qualification allows me to manage projects in a more agile manner. The seminar I attended for lasted several days, including the test I took for the certificate. All of this was made possible by the Daimler Corporate Academy. Since that time, I’ve been working as a speed coach in addition to my regular job. As a speed coach, I help my colleagues to learn about the new agile methods in a practical setting.
Does your job leave you enough free time?
Yes, definitely. I’m a musician — I play guitar and sing in two bands. One is more of an acoustic group, the other is post-rock. That’s how I balance things out and let off steam. I also do track and field.
Could you describe your office? How is your team structured?
There are six of us and everybody basically has their own area of specialization. Anyway we are all working together in a big office which we’re now remodeling a little in order to make the team more flexible. Sometimes we sit in office chairs when we work; other times we use creative areas that have couches and standing desks. We continue to make frequent use of mobile working possibilities and our job takes us to different locations and manufacturing plants in Europe.
What kind of people are you looking for the most in your field?
We’re currently looking more actively for solution architects, advanced analysts, and security specialists. Of course there are also other exciting job profiles that can be viewed with our job search. So it’s always worthwhile to take a look.