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Team Shadowing: Collaborating with colleagues cross-site

November 16, 2022

As part of the Team Shadowing Program, we invited four Software Engineers from Cisco North Carolina to share their experience from connecting with their teams in Norway. This is their story.


Cynthia Ashley, Software Engineer at Cisco, North Carolina

– This program was extremely beneficial to me in so many ways. My initial plan was to sit with the development team to learn more about their workflow and how we could work more effectively to quickly resolve issues. We not only got to do all of those things, but we also worked on features together and I got to complete bug fixes to see the end results for myself!

– We had a customer escalation and got to work together on addressing impactful issues in person. This gave major insight into how it affects workflow and how they are addressed. Attending daily meetings for Ops, scrum and standup provided valuable information in learning how work is discussed and how metrics are a major factor to being both proactive and reactive. I feel that while I only scratched the surface of what amazing work they do at the site, I learned so much valuable information to bring back to my team so we can work better together. Anyone interested should absolutely apply for this program without hesitation!

Cynthia Ashley is part of the Cisco Collaboration Devices Escalation team. In her present role, Cynthia is responsible for escalations from Cisco Support for customer issues, with her main focus on Telepresence devices and cloud microservices. Cynthia joined Cisco Collaboration Devices Operations Engineering in 2019 and has been with Cisco for almost 10 years. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and DIY projects.

Team Shadowers: Kyra MacLean, Cecilia Mapes, Cynthia Ashley and Christopher Woedy from Cisco, North Carolina spent up to three weeks connecting and collaborating with their teams at the Cisco Norway site outside Oslo.

Kyra MacLean, Software Engineer at Cisco, North Carolina

­– The shadowing program was super helpful and a really cool opportunity. One of my main goals for shadowing was to connect and get to know others from the Oslo site. I have been working very closely with colleagues from Norway since Jan 2021 and was excited to meet and build closer relationships with everyone. I am currently transitioning from testing infrastructure to software development for Collaboration Devices. I got to not only meet and learn a ton of new things from the development team I was shadowing, but also got to meet and hang out with my previous teammates in the test infrastructure team for the first time.

Exploring Oslo: Kyra McLean sightseeing the Oslofjord.

– During my time in Oslo, I worked on re-enabling a feature that many have missed (including me), which shows the avatars of those in the meeting instead of just the participant count. This gave me the opportunity to dig in and learn the basics of how to add something to the display of a device and how to test that my feature works as expected. It was amazing to learn from the team directly, and to be able to work through my questions in person rather than through video calls and time zone differences. I also got a better understanding of what a typical work day at Cisco Norway looks like, and how they work together as a team. It was eye opening to be able to walk in someone else’s shoes for a few weeks so I can bring back more perspective and understanding to my team in Raleigh. The shadowing program was awesome! Everyone was so helpful, and willing to help me grow while I was there. If you want to learn more about how other sites work, the team shadowing program is an amazing opportunity, and you should apply!

Kyra MacLean is part of the Cisco Collaboration Devices software development team. When Kyra started, she was working to support the Cisco Devices testing infrastructure.  She recently transitioned to working on developing software for Cisco Collaboration Devices. Kyra has been with Cisco since mid-2020.  In her free time, Kyra enjoys rock climbing, board games and hanging out with family and friends.


Christopher Woedy, Software Engineer at Cisco, North Carolina

– As part of the shadowing program, I got the opportunity to shadow the Valyrians software team which focuses on the Core UI framework for RoomOS devices. I was able to work on the graduation of the new RoomOS 11 user experience, help make progress on upgrading the Qt software library and resolve a handful of teardown issues when the device GUI application is restarting. The team taught me many different technical skills, workflows, and tools that I wasn’t aware of through open-discussion and peer-programming.

Lunch Time: Welcoming our new team shadowers from the US with sliders and soda for lunch

– I made many new connections across different teams, meeting so many unique, and helpful individuals. Coming back to the US, I hope to encourage even more cross-site collaboration and communication using some of these connections. One thing that surprised me during my stay was the frequent, but short breaks which seems help break-up the workday while driving a “work hard, play hard” culture. Overall, this has been an incredible experience, and I would strongly recommend this program to anyone eligible in our group.

Christopher Woedy is a Software Engineer for the RoomOS Devices group in Cisco North Carolina. Christopher joined Cisco straight out of college in July of 2017, graduating from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in computer & electrical engineering. Outside of work he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, off-roading, and working on project cars.



“This program is not only great for short-term learning, but long-term connections, and I encourage others to take the opportunity”

Cecilia Mapes, software engineer Cisco, North Carolina


Cecilia Mapes, Software Engineer at Cisco, North Carolina

– During my time with the Program, I shadowed the setup and diagnostics team, Dilbert, as they worked on bringing up the Microsoft Teams Rooms integration. I was able to offer my own experience to help them with critical work on the onboarding pages, while learning so much about the framework they were building that will be relevant in my work back home. I was a part of their collaboration process; it cannot be overstated how valuable it was to be able to meet people, discuss problems, and ask questions in person. I went in wondering how to even start existing in this whole new team environment, yet everyone was welcoming and eager to share their knowledge and include me in social activities.

– The experience went so much better than I hoped for! The office was buzzing, but we were all laser-focused on the tasks at hand, whether they be status meetings, lunch time, design discussions, snack time and coffee, or writing code. Going back home, I feel as if a barrier has been broken down. What was once a collage of tiny video frames in a Software Rendezvous is now a group of colleagues that I can approach with greater understanding of how they live and work. This program is not only great for short-term learning, but long-term connections, and I encourage others to take the opportunity.

Cecilia Mapes is a software development engineer working on Workplace Experience for Cisco Collaboration Devices in North Carolina. She joined Cisco in mid-2020 after graduating from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s in electrical and computer engineering. Her hobbies outside of work include rock climbing, crafting costumes, playing video games, and baking.

Team Dilbert: Cecilia Mapes shadowed the setup and diagnostics team, Dilbert, as they worked on bringing up the Microsoft Teams Rooms integration.


Team Shadowing Benefits​​​​​​​:

  • Personal & professional growth – allows you to explore specific areas and to get a realistic picture of the tasks performed for that job.
  •  Be exposed to other teams in Cisco Collaboration Devices locally or cross-sites.
  •  Expand your network by building new relationships.
  •  Learn new skills, methods, and ways of working.
  •  Bring best practices and new ideas back to your team.
  •  Share your unique experience and background.


To learn more about the Team Shadowing Program: please reach out to Anna Gjerlaug or Gabrielle D. Varatharajah


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