What we do in the Shadow(tech)

Laura Campbell June 12, 2019

When we heard about ShadowTech we were really keen to get involved. Trineo has a number of women working across the business, and we’ve all taken different paths into the IT industry. We are also keen to get more girls and women involved in the industry, as women are still under-represented in the IT sector.

The day started off with a breakfast and presentation from the founder of ShadowTech, Edwina Mistry. I found her talk very motivational as she reiterated that our roles as mentors in ShadowTech is as confidence builders in teens - letting teen girls know that they can work in IT, there is a space for them, and that we need their skills and that women contribute a unique perspective to the IT industry. Given that we’re a diverse group of women who represent different parts of our business, this was good to hear, as we were keen to convey that confidence too. We remember what it’s like being in high school...

Soon after, we were meeting our two students, Rosa and Alyana. They looked pretty nervous! We walked on over to the office, making sure to point out the pixel art wall decorations that we Chch Trineos are fond of adorning our windows with. Rosa was like “wow, that’s amazing! I don’t think I could do that…I don’t think I could do all the planning required!” (heh, heh, heh…) 

Then we gathered for an overview of the company from Dan Fowlie. He broke down for the students what Trineo does and why, explained the types of clients we work for, and how Trineo’s values underpin what we do - including our People over Profit initiative.

Each of the women involved - Melissa, Sarah, Marama, Laura and Sam - took some time to talk about how we got into the tech industry and what our roles entailed. This was a good opportunity to break the ice and also highlight the variety of different paths into IT as well as the different types of roles you can fill.

We also gave Rosa and Alyana an overview of Agile software development methodology. This is central to what we do at Trineo and is one of those things that is harder to get your head around until you’re actually doing it. Using a (hopefully!) easy to understand example, we broke down the basics of backlogs, sprints, user stories and the roles within a scrum team.

It was then time to put them to the test, and assign them a scrum team of their own (along with some rather vague and conflicting Product Owners) to build something together. This something was a pixel art image for one of our windows. Marama guided them through the process of building a backlog of work items and establishing a sprint - while the POs chimed in with direction and vision...and some not so helpful requirements (“what if you made the square pixels...circles?” - Sarah was an excellent agent of chaos!).

image
image

The team formed up and made a beautiful Hungry Caterpillar. Along the way, Agile practices like cross-functional teams, self-organisation, redistribution of labour and iteration and improvement were demonstrated. Given that Rosa had stated at the start of the day that she would find planning a pixel art daunting, breaking it down into a backlog and managing it on a scrum board really helped illustrate how even large tasks become approachable.

And at the end of it...there was something!

image

We had an awesome day with our student mentees. They really came out of their shells as the day progressed, and we were really pleased to see them engage with the process that shapes our teams at Trineo. We find that our ability to collaborate within our scrum teams helps us produce quality outputs and fosters a strong sense of unity, and in this instance it really enabled us get to see some of Alyana and Rosa’s teamwork skills and helped us get to know them better. 

We hope that Alyana and Rosa had an awesome time too, it really was a treat to get to know them and we hope that the day has made them think a bit more about what careers might be out there for them in the IT industry!

Laura Campbell

Laura Campbell