Category: IMA
“It’s not Personal” – IMA’s inaugural networking event

Well, this may not have been the official title of the event, it was definitely one of the key takeaways from our guest speaker, Jane Huxley.

We set up this night, with the aim to build on the events we have been having in Melbourne over the last 12 months, getting guest speakers to speak at our company meetings, to share some insights and hopefully drop some inspiration for our Consultants. The powers that be in IMA Sydney, decided to take this idea one step further. We invited along, not only IMA staff, but their partners, clients and people from our talent pool to join us in learning, with the added benefits of some magnificent canapes, drinks and stimulating conversation.

Jane Huxley, (as of writing this) the soon to be MD of Spotify, was our headline act. In short, if you are in the position to get Jane to speak at an event of yours or you can steal her for a 30 minutes coffee, take it, take it every day and twice on Tuesdays. Jane was amazing. For someone whose background includes roles like MD at Pandora (music streaming not jewellery), CEO and Publisher at Fairfax Digital, Head of Product at Vodaphone, and a Director at Microsoft, she was so relatable to everyone in the room and really impressed everyone. As mentioned about “it’s not personal” or “INP” was a takeaway we can all learn by, when those days are getting a little long, and the meetings a little too awkward or tough. Her stories on mentorship and disruption and her strength on mind to succeed had everyone at the edge of their seats.

It was a great night, even if I didn’t get to win the Haighs chocolates, I draw comfort from the fact that a person who scrubbed my name off one of my business cards and wrote her name at the back of it did win. No commission for this little Recruiter for that transaction… unless they are in the mail of course. I hope you see this Madeline Jack

Paying it forward…
Paying it forward – IMA’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives

In April 2017, the HQ team in Sydney took on their first Corporate Social Responsibility challenge. With so many worthwhile volunteer projects to dedicate our time to, the toughest task was actually deciding on which one. But as ANZAC Day was around the corner, the team decided on Legacy and . . . sprigging rosemary!

What’s the significance of rosemary on Anzac Day and what’s ‘sprigging’?

Rosemary is symbolic of Anzac Day because when the Anzac troops landed at Gallipoli, rosemary was growing wild all over the peninsula and since ancient times, this aromatic herb has been believed to have properties to improve the memory. It has become a symbol of fidelity and remembrance. Lest We Forget.

For several days in the lead up to Anzac Day each year, volunteers of all ages (including wives of veterans and war widows) gather around long tables at Legacy to prepare the rosemary. Rosemary ‘sprigging’ involves cutting the rosemary branch to the required length (10cm), attaching the Legacy sticker to the base of the branch and then stacking the rosemary sprigs into the legacy box that volunteers use to hand out to the public.  Sprigging is a very precise activity. The little branch can’t be too woody, too long or too short. The Legacy sticker needs to be well attached to the leaves so that if it rains, the sticker stays attached to the rosemary. Every year in Sydney, volunteers hand out close to 80,000 sprigs of rosemary and they are pinned to the lapel or collars of veterans and members of the public.

Our IMA volunteers were all new to sprigging rosemary and had no idea what to expect. When we arrived at 8:00am, all the tables were set up with instructions, rosemary piles, stickers and scissors so we plonked ourselves down and got straight into it. Archana settled straight into trimming and quality control – pointing out to some lackadaisical newcomers that all sprigs MUST BE 10cm or the sprigs won’t work properly! They got the message pretty quickly and began producing much better quality work.

Rob excelled in finding the prettiest rosemary branches and made sure Team IMA had an ongoing supply of premium rosemary sprigs! By the end of our morning shift, we had produced about 12 trays (approx. 1200 sprigs we think). Legacy put on a great spread for morning tea too which kept everyone energised and focused on the job at hand.
We all agreed that the act of rosemary sprigging is actually very calming and therapeutic and it was fun getting involved in something really different. But the real highlight was paying it forward and contributing to the remembrance of Anzac Day. Looking forward to the next CSR activity planned for the next quarter of 2017!

Challenges in Agile Project Management
Gayathri Ramamoorthy

Gayathri is a proven Project Manager with experience spanning over a decade in the IT industry in all areas of the SDLC. A strong end to end technical and functional background has enabled Gayathri to perform multiple roles such as Delivery Lead, Project Manager, Solution designer and Technical Consultant over the span of her career.

In last few years, we have been hearing the word ‘Agile’ frequently in the project delivery workspace. Quite often, we had constructive debates and interesting discussions among colleagues on challenges in Agile projects. Common concerns were – lack of ownership from team, mixed signals from senior management and ineffective cost management. I would like to share my experience where we applied agile methodology to a project aiming to deliver the functionalities/features quicker for the business to use and the challenges we encountered.

The project was initiated to develop new reports for a business unit to measure their sales performance. The data required to build the report was sourced from a datawarehouse which hosted the consolidated transactional data from various source systems. The project scope was to develop reports and to implement the required business rules and data transformation. The project applied agile techniques to deliver the reports in an iterative deployment schedule. The features required in the reports were listed and prioritised by the business sponsor and the sprint period was 4 weeks. In Agile methodology, sprint is the time period within which a selected list of feature is completed and made ready for business use.

In an agile project environment where the team is set of highly skilled developers, a sponsor who was supporting the team to follow agile framework, a management team who applied the agile techniques appropriately, what could go wrong in such agile project? In spite of an optimistic agile environment, there were still challenges.

Design changes during the iterative sprints – Are you thinking of doing design, development and testing in an agile way? I would recommend to read ahead and validate if that approach would help your project to achieve the desired outcome on time.

The project started with minimal business requirements from the business and the list of features required were identified. The project included redesigning the underlying data model of an existing application and adding the new features identified to the application. The project did not have the detailed requirements at the start of the project and the design, data model, build and testing started simultaneously following agile approach. As we progressed through sprints, any design or data model changes, while developing the features down the line, eventually resulted in rework on the features completed in earlier sprints. The finished products were revisited every time there was a change in design which increased overall cost and caused delay in progressing with the remaining open activities.

From my experience in this agile project, it would be challenge to complete the sprints on time if design is evolving across sprints. If the project involves major redesign or new application development, it is worth investing initial few days in preparing high-level design with the available requirements. This would avoid rework on the features while we get into the development sprints. Development and testing goes well within a sprint timebox.

Team member sharing while sprint is in progress – The projects had a dedicated skilled team which was a key strength to get the development on time and of high quality. The project deployment was planned into multiple deployment phases so that the finished products can be released earlier. There were cross impacts due to other inflight project and the part of the development team was deviated to focus on sharing the knowledge of the project and its impact on other projects so as to enable first deploy release to go ahead as planned. As per Agile guidelines, the core sprint development team is expected not to be deviated from the locked down list of features. But in the real world, the knowledge of the skilled team is required to mitigate any risks related to that project. We had delays on the sprint that was in progress in order to accommodate risk mitigation activities. A dedicated and committed team is a key for a successful Agile project. The agile project manager should implement the two key techniques that the Scrum methodology emphasises strongly.

  1. The Scrum Master should ensure that the team is not impacted by any changes or other external influences that could potentially deviate the team from the current sprint. The Scrum master should ensure that the team remain focussed on the current sprint until the end of sprint
  2. Any changes in resource plan should be restricted while the sprint is in progress.

Requirements unclear even while sprint is in progress – Agile framework facilitates the business SMEs to change or finalise requirements while the feature is being developed. But in order for the development team to complete the development within the sprint time, the business should be clear on the requirements for the features in the current sprint to enable on time completion. Ambiguous requirements, while sprint is in progress, lead to delays in completing the feature within the sprint and may result in increased backlog.

The business subject matter experts have to have the requirements clear to enable the team to complete the project on time. Any requirement changes from the business SME impacting the sprint has to be considered as a new item in the backlog list. Requirement changes during the sprint has to be recorded and tracked to effectively manage the sprint timelines and overall project cost.

While Agile framework accepts less documentation, we need to understand the main objective of agile framework is quick delivery. Documents that enable quick delivery and better control on time and cost are still required in agile project management. As much as projects are unique, challenges within the projects are also unique. Lessons learnt from past experience always helps in the handling these challenges effectively in the future. Agile methodology also gives the opportunity to identify any challenges at the end of each sprint which will enable to apply corrective measures throughout the journey of the project. Go Agile, enjoy the continuous learning and eventually master the skill of Agile project management.

This is how we do it! – IMA Sydney Christmas Party 2016

Balmy sea breezes, iconic Sydney Harbour backdrop, free flowing Christmas ‘bubbles’ and a cracking dance mix plucked straight from the 80’s and 90’s – that’s how we do it in Sydney!

And what a night it was . . .

As the Christmas canapés were passed around, we reflected on the year that was, made some new friends, relaxed into the Christmas spirit and admired the history of The Rocks precinct. Arch as always, did an expert job with the food and wine and even found herself running a little education session with the DJ on rules of vegetarian. Sorry darl – lamb is not a vegetable!

A few hours in as the sun was settling in the west and the Opera House began to glow, it was time to really get the party started. Before Shelley could say “Get your sparkle on!” Dan took centre stage as lead vocalist for a Love Shack opener and stayed there for most of the night really. Who would have thought . . . Dan + wine + music + party lights = bring it on! It wasn’t all about Dan letting lose though. We had plenty of quality vocal support from his backup team in Sim, Shelley, Alan and Darryl.

As the night wore on, others were slowly drawn to the dance floor like a chrissie beetle to a porch light in summer – either by nervous curiosity or natural instinct. It was anything goes that night though . . . we had some jumping, stomping, butt wiggling, shimmying, jazz hands, air guitar, moshing and some unique ‘undiscovered’ styles. Alok and Narayan (our twinkle toes twosome) totally owned that dance floor and showed us all that when you have rhythm – you have it all over!

By the end of the night, most of the dancing crew were either legless or shoeless. Except for Arch and Bron of course who soldiered through the pain of 3” heels so they could still engage in conversation with the tall people. When it was time to call it a night, Rob eventually surfaced from his secret nook close to the bar and we thought we’d lost Ian for a bit but eventually found him snuggled up on the corner lounge trying to sneak a quiet nigh nigh. It had been a long day.

No doubt, Sunday served up some very foggy heads and tender feet. A little birdie told me Ian and Darryl spent the next couple of days reflecting on what they could actually remember of the night and they’ve both made a pact not to “come in hot!” to a Sydney Christmas party ever again!

Until next year team Sydney. Looking forward to dusting off those dancing shoes again in 2017!

 

Bron

 

 

Melbourne’s Christmas party 2016

Let’s just say it wasn’t just a big night, it was a big day as well.  The IMA 2016 Christmas party officially started at 4pm with kids and families invited to join us at Luna Park for an afternoon of rides and activities.  This morphed into the late afternoon pre-party drinks, to be closely followed by the party official itself.  (Still all within Luna Park) It was great to see all the service awards given out.  For a company so (relatively) young still, the number of 3 and 5 year awards was stunning.  Whilst Sunday morning may have been a challenge for some, the Saturday night was a great one to reflect on the strides forward IMA has taken and the successes of all our consultants.  Merry Christmas all (yes we understand it is only December tomorrow, but we got in early!)

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Sydney Social Club – Hard Rock Cafe and Laser Tag (October 2016)

Another great night with the Sydney team, expertly organised by Divya and her right-hand man Arbie! For some ‘pre-combat’ courage and fuel we started off at The Hard Rock Cafe which didn’t disappoint. Great atmosphere, location, food . . . and of course, the company was exceptional! Immediately Anu took centre stage and placed himself right at the centre of the food action, devouring the BBQ chicken wings, pulled pork buns and vegetarian delights. There was plenty of food for everyone (even a delicious gift for the homeless man Amu!).img_0345

We were all pumped for laser tag although the majority of the team really had no idea what they were in for. But that didn’t matter – we collectively were ready for anything. The pre-dinner wines, beers and soft drinks helped with that.

So we’re all suited up with flashing vests and plastic laser guns listening to the host explain all the rules . . . and then something just came over Boris. He had his poker face on and started looking all ‘Arnie like’. I was scared but thankfully I was on Boris’ team. Boris was clearly on a mission and off we all scampered in to dark maze of the laser room.fb9fb7bb-d4e1-49a3-aaa4-f057475613d0

Some people take to combat/hide and seek naturally . . . and others, well, unfortunately they just don’t. Poor Alan, bless his 10ft long legs, was a big target. “Duck Alan, Duck”. Arch was lost most of the night but we were able to find her easy enough by following the trail of laughter. Others just wandered aimlessly shooting at their own team members. Maybe they would get it by Game 2 . . .

Then there were the ‘natural born killers’. Power couple Arbie and Lavinia proved that love = I’m going to take you DOWN!! Boris in his Terminator transformation, effortlessly disarmed the unsuspecting from a secret vantage point as they fumbled around the dark maze. Darrell was on a mission. What that mission was, I don’t even think Darrell knew. Mahesh was also a bit of a dark horse. All ‘cool as a cucumber’ like. Go the MULA. Mahesh – Ultimate Laser Assassin

So 5 kilos lighter, we exited the maze and had a good old laugh at the score board. Some of us improved in Game 2 by perfecting our strategy, but others were doomed to the bottom of the table. Good practice for next time though Sydney teamers and we all had a blast!

Hasta la vista!

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International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day 2016.

 

 

One of the greatest issues facing the IT industry today is the declining number of women entering and remaining in the industry.  The development and retention of  high performance female staff is critical to the longer-term diversity of the IT industry.

At IMA, we support the career aspirations of our female staff without expecting them to sacrifice or compromise other priorities.  The IT industry is traditionally a male-dominated workforce and at IMA, women make up close to 30% of our team (according to VIC ICT for Women, women only make up 16% of ICT roles in Australia).  We have a strong focus to enhance our workforce to better represent society as a whole, and are striving to ensure that women within IMA are fairly represented in all technical, leadership and professional roles.

Our HR General Manager, Shelley Brown says, “We have a solid number of strong, professional women at all levels of our organisation.  From Consulting to Sales to the Management team, women are an integral part of our continued success. People tell us it is a high percentage for the industry, but we just hire the best people we can for the work that we do, and do what we can to encourage, support and engage the people that choose to work with us.”

Archana Patel who has recently taken up an Account Manager (September 2013 when her client engagement concluded and as of April 2015 as General Manager of our NSW branch!) role with IMA adds that her experience with IMA “has been refreshing”.  She further says “A few months ago I was offered a position as an Account Manager within the organisation, something I am really looking forward to, and a great opportunity for me to work with IMA to put both our clients and consultants first, to ensure the best fit and exceptional client delivery.  As a woman, a minority, in the world of IT – I can’t wait for the challenge.”

Defining your Recruitment Philosophy

OK, so I’m old.  Been doing this for probably way too long. That said, I took the opportunity recently to read over some posts I wrote many years ago.  I was interested to see if my thought process has changed too much over time as the technology has extended and the world has evolved.

I don’t see my role as  “just going to work, hiring people and going home”.  I think people over complicate things to (sometimes) justify their own existence, pad out their “personal brand”, push their agenda or product, or suck up to “Recruiting aficionados”. Please don’t get me started on all those “Social Media is the greatest” conversations!

I’ve been able to break this down to a few key ideals which I believe in when it comes to this profession and what I do.

So what is it?

Dan’s mantra.

  • Recruitment is all about the conversation (medium is irrelevant)
  • Everyone (YES EVERYONE) is hired to solve a business problem
  • Fish where they are
  • Sharing and learning is essential
  • What’s yours?
IMA Melbourne Christmas party circa 2015.

A few weeks back the majority of the Melbourne staff and our partners attended our annual Christmas party. This years venue “The old Melbourne Gaol” (or OMG as some of our people called it) did not disappoint.

For what was a great night, we celebrated the year just finishing, celebrated the anticipation of 2016 which promises to be huge, and some amazing milestones of 3-5 and 10 years service.

Here is a little snapshot (well a few snap shots to be honest) of the evening..

Showcasing the IMA Photography club

I was looking over our Yammer client recently and noticed that we had a Photography Club pop up.  (OK it’s been there for a while, I’m just a little slow on the uptake) I explored further and saw one of the most active corporate groups I have seen, flourishing under my very nose.

They have done an amazing job over the last few months, I’d like to share a sample to everyone.  These are “themed” images, a different theme every month, taken on a wide variety of devices. The comments shared, pride taken and general commitment to the cause is inspiring for me. I’ve been told that now I’ve engaged I have to add content to it. I am a little nervous however, I’m the husband of a photographer, not a photographer! Please take a moment to have a look at a selection of the images I was able to pilfer from the group (with their permission of course)