Kay Schnittker is Director Engineering at InnoGames, Germany’s leading developer and publisher of mobile and online games, including Forge of Empires, Elvenar and Tribal Wars. Prior to joining InnoGames in 2009, Kay was Head of Engineering at Yahoo! Shopping Germany. Kay and his seven teams work on centralised systems for all games and support departments, such as Analytics and Marketing. Here, he lists the six things he couldn’t do his job without
1 My cycle to work
I cycle 13 kilometres to the office every morning, whatever the weather. It is more fun in good weather, of course, but even in rain and storms I prefer the bike to the train as I arrive at the office mentally refreshed. The 13 kilometre-ride back home is a wonderful end to the working day as well; it helps create a division between work and home and clears my mind for my family. When the pandemic hit, I had to change my routine and work from home. I decided to cycle a similar distance through nearby parks and along Hamburg’s Elbe river to keep a routine and sense of normality.
My day-to-day work consists of making decisions, large and small, and tools like Power BI help me access a broad range of data and analytics needed to make good and informed decisions. At InnoGames we make our main KPIs, such as revenue, marketing costs and player number development, accessible to every employee through our business intelligence systems and Hadoop.
3 My wonderful colleagues
At work I am surrounded by funny, creative and intelligent people from many different countries and cultures who create all the great things that distinguish InnoGames. We have a lot of fun together and laugh a lot, whether in meetings or chatting in the kitchen. Working alone is definitely not for me. With everyone working from home recently, I have tried to see and have a laugh with as many people as possible via Slack, Teams, Zoom and sometimes even in person while maintaining social distancing.
4 Standing Desk
I used to spend most of my working day sitting down, at my desk, in meetings, even during lunch. That was fine for many years, but at some point my back cried out for more variety. InnoGames supported me in securing a height-adjustable desk, since when I have been hooked on sit-stand working. Working while standing is much more dynamic; I can move around and when I can no longer stand, I just sit down. With the transition to working from home, InnoGames provided each employee with a monthly stipend for home office supplies, which I used to purchase an adjustable desk – the first (and best) purchase for my home office.
For me, Kanban is a very important building block for successful cooperation: agile software development in cross-functional teams, with daily stand-up meetings and regular retrospectives. Visualisation of upcoming tasks creates a lot of transparency, which helps us deliver our product and continuously improve our processes.
This looks surprising at first glance; after all, who likes to make mistakes? I don’t, but they happen and are a part of any process. The key is how you handle them! It is important to have a good culture in relation to errors, in which one learns from mistakes in order to get better. We do that quite well at InnoGames. Mistakes still bother me, but I try to take something positive from them.
InnoGames is Germany’s leading developer and publisher of mobile and online games. The company based in Hamburg is best known for Forge of Empires, Elvenar and Tribal Wars. InnoGames’ complete portfolio encompasses seven live games and several mobile titles in production. Born as a hobby, InnoGames today has a team of 400 employees from more than 30 nations who share a passion for creating unique games that players across the globe enjoy for years.