The dev team takes a break
Last week I wanted to try something new, so I yanked our entire development team out of the office and threw them onto a ferry to Stradbroke Island. I had read about the idea of doing team retreats – complete with “team building”, trust falls, and other corny sounding topics – but I had a gut feeling that we could do our own retreat that was much better.
I told the team that we were going to Stradbroke island for a few days, but tried to not say too much about what we were going to do there. The only instruction I gave beforehand was to come along with a “tech talk” – a 5-10 minute presentation on something technical that you can teach the rest of the team about.
So last Thursday, we jetted over. We spent the first day just talking about what was on our minds – which projects have gone well, which ones were painful, and why. I was really impressed by the quality of ideas that came out of this – we came up with some really big improvements to our product process. But the thing that I noticed even more was how positive and open to discussing this everyone was. There was so little negativity, and so much optimism. Everyone’s only concern was figuring out how we could continue to build a better product than anyone else.
We didn’t just spend Thursday working though. We found out there was a beach about a 50m walk away, and we had a frisbee…
Friday was the big day since it was the only full day we were spending away. I had written up a vague itinerary and we did our best to get through all of it. So as a team we planned about our upcoming Winter Internship – who would be involved, what project the interns would do, and what our goals were for the project. Then we moved on to our product plan for the next three months, making sure that everyone had a good idea of what they were working on, and why. We ended up coming up with some really cool new ideas on how to make rostering easier that originally weren’t even part of the plan.
We’ve always hired exceptional people at Tanda, so putting time aside to really listen to their ideas to improve/change anything about Tanda was important. We are a close team, so everyone’s opinion is truly valued. It’s often said that people should ‘stop and reflect’ – and that’s exactly what we did.
The afternoon was spent doing tech talks – I was blown away by the quality of presentations, it was like being at uni except a whole semester’s work being covered in a 10 minute talk.
After ‘tech talks’, we had threw the frisbee around a bit more and went to the local pub for dinner. A few hours later, and a few beers down, we came back and had a general brainstorm on things we could do to make Tanda as a company better.
I’d asked everyone to think of one thing they’d like to change before coming to the retreat, but I wasn’t sure if anyone had actually given it any thought because I’d only mentioned it in passing. Turns out there was a stack of great ideas – from getting more involved at community events, through to celebrating internal wins better and communicating them more. Some were low hanging fruit which I’ve already started to implement, some were bigger ideas that we should keep in the back of our minds as we keep growing Tanda. All were very well thought out.
We woke up feeling a bit rough on Saturday morning and had one last longing look at the beach, before racing back to the ferry. I don’t know about everyone else, but I came in to the office on Monday feeling more energised than I had been in a long time. The biggest thing I took away from this retreat was that Tanda is not a place for people who want to be code monkeys – everyone here is always thinking about how we can do things better, and there is very low tolerance for us not doing things well. We’d like to keep it that way!
Industry Insights |
Change Might Be Coming to Hospitality and Retail Owners
This one is looking at all you Food Produce and Hospitality business owners out there in the Tandaverse. It has been announced that the Senate will launch an inquiry into the Australian Wine Industry. Tanda users in wine country, also known as South Australia, may have already heard South Australian Senator Anne Ruston moved for the inquiry to see if there’s a market failure. This means having a look at that transition from vineyard to restaurant. In true politician style, Senator Anne Ruston says things are going well for the wine industry in Australia, but there may be opportunities we have missed and certain factors going against us. This is all very vague and contradicting. Managers and business owners out there know hearsay is useless for your growth. Facts and numbers are the things most important to you. So what does all this actually mean for you? Well, what is unusual in politics is that it seems all sides of government are for the inquiry. Senate has reported that though the broad-ranging report is still in the process of conception, it would take a look at the power and influence of retailers and wholesalers of Australian wine in domestic and international markets. Not only will it uncover information beneficial to retailers, it’ll examine existing policies like the Wine Equalisation Tax. Though it’s quite apt that the policy is named WET, refrain from wetting your lips to celebrate just yet. Things could be in the process of changing for better or worse. But this is only part of a bigger picture. Free Market Trade agreements are on the table now making it an exciting time for Australian business owners. Tanda, and we’re sure you guys too, are very keen to see how this inquiry unfolds in the near future and beyond.
Industry Insights |
“Help! My employees are always late!”
Do you find in your business employees are constantly showing up for work late, or clocking off just a little bit too early for your liking? Tanda can help you keep track of your employees clock-ins and clock-outs. The SMS feature alerting you when people are late is also a handy Tanda tool to keep an eye on the hard workers and the not-so-hard workers in your team. But there’s one thing a Tanda Clock can’t do, and that’s motivate your team to show up on time to put in their best work. There’s a few key reasons staff start to dawdle on their way to work. One key factor is motivation. Once motivation drops in the office, kitchen or factory, the unproductive sentiment can spread like wild fire. You can help bring up your employees motivation levels with a few tips and tricks that the team here at Tanda has learned and implemented as well. Automation Firstly, automate what you can. If there is something an employee has to do that could be done just as easily with an add-on, application or new system then what are you waiting for? The same way Tanda automates payroll and rosters meaning less time wasted on the boring stuff, you can get rid of the boring tasks for your employees too. Rotation There are some things that have to happen around the workforce. But, if one employee has to carry out the same task or responsibility for more than three hours you will notice they might be getting bored. Try rostering them onto the same task for days or weeks on end and then ask yourself can you really blame them for being late all the time? Instead, it’s better to delegate and rotate tasks between your team. Productivy levels tend to spike at the beginning of a task, so if you can keep your team motivated with new or different things to do you’ll find less stragglers getting to work in the mornings. Optimization Which brings us to optimising how you use your time. Tanda knows a thing or two about time and attendance. Studies have shown people were more likely to be more cooperative and get work done in the morning. Throughout the day the peak in productivity comes unsurprisingly after lunch breaks. The worst times for positive results came just before lunch breaks and nearing the end of the shift. With that in mind, try and schedule the nitty gritty work, unpleasant tasks or least favourite jobs in the mornings and just after your staff have had a break to refresh. Save the fun stuff for the long hours and just before home time. Because really, if your staff are passionate about what they do for your company then there should be plenty of fun stuff for them to do.
Events & Media AU |
Tanda Open Data Hackathon this weekend – 17th & 18th April
This article is about the 2015 event. Go to hack.tanda.co for 2016’s event details! The Tanda Open Data Hackathon is upon us! Programmers, designers and developers are flocking to Brisbane for Tanda’s first Open Data Hackathon. In a digital era where everything is reachable from the click of a button, it’s no surprise there are now marathons and competitions for the digitally oriented too. Hackathons, e-conferences and everything in between can be a great way to meet new faces in your industry and carve out your own opportunities in the workforce. You can come along as a lone wolf hunting down open data, or bring a pack of friends to brainstorm together. On the first night after pitches, that’s when you’ll have a chance to form your final teams and get ready to compete. Tanda’s Hackathon will be taking place over two locations. Day 1 will see us at our own Tanda HQ for meet’n’greet, drinks and pitches. Then, a fresh start (and a free breakfast) on Saturday morning will begin at Brisbane’s River City Labs. The great facilities at this space will hopefully give all attendants the comfort they need to execute a great pitch. It’s a Learning Experience The main drive of these types of events is that everyone should walk out feeling that learnt something. Whether it’s something a team partner has shown you while trying to create something awesome under pressure, or a competitor reveals a clever trick in their presentation. There’s no point to an idea if you don’t share it. It’s a Networking Opportunity Whether it’s the company hosting the Hackathon or a fellow competitor at the event these are the kind of industry events where you can actually stand out for future employees. Instead of selling yourself in an annoying verbal resume at some cocktail event you can show potential employers your skills in action. It’s a push in the Right Direction Not only will you meet new people, you will receive feedback from the two judges for Tanda’s Hackathon. The first judge will be Tanda’s very own Adam Lyons who spends his time all over Australia helping to implement savvy programs for growth in Australian businesses. Our Guest Judge for the Tanda Open Data Hackathon is Keran McKenzie. Keran has been on the scene helping take start-ups to sky heights for the past 20 years. He’s come up all the way from Melbourne to assess your ideas and test your skills. It’s a chance to help a Great Cause This Hackathon is a “Hack It Forward” kind of event. All proceeds made in this event will go back into student funding for IT, programming, and related student clubs at QUT and UQ. As a Start-Up company ourselves Tanda knows the ideas start with you guys – the students, the idealists, the dreamers and the young entrepreneurs.