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The Road to Better – 3 high-profile jobs, 3 women as our technical leads

We shouldn’t have to make this point, but we will anyway!

  • Orignially Published on February 7, 2017 via LinkedIn

Mark Fralick – WMS Evangelist, co-Creator of MOCA, and currently 74-0 on WMS Go-lives

We are making progress. 3 high-profile jobs, 3 women as our technical leads.

I am proud to say (yet, in 2017, really shouldn’t have to make the point) that our next 3 Warehouse Management System (WMS) go-lives, between now and mid-summer, will all be led by female technical leads. It is actually a coincidence – but not an accident

About 5 years ago, I made a strong statement to our hiring folks: “Quit just hiring guys that look like they grew up in their parent’s basement”. It drew a chuckle. But I was dead serious.

What I was really saying was “We need more women”. It is really simple, everyone who joins a company like ours that thrives on creativity and innovation, brings with them their own experiences and viewpoints. While our company is culturally diverse, it was not so on the gender side of things. So, while I wasn’t saying hire less qualified women, I insisted that our staff work harder to find qualified women and in the case of a tie on qualifications – well, I’ll let you make the conclusion.

Fast forward to 2017; here is the run-down. In our company, we have a very validation-centric project methodology. This, essentially, means we are always validating (we don’t wait until some sort of crazy ‘testing’ phase – whose time box always gets condensed). In fact, we always say that in our company everyone on a project works for the validation leader. Our validation leaders are all women and, yes, in the doubly male dominated worlds of software and warehouses, they are kick-butt leads and amazing examples to our entire staff. 

On the technical side of things, we have made progress – but still need to do better. About one third of our new 2017 technical recruits are female. While, shockingly, this is on the higher end of typical tech-companies, it is below our goal of 40% for 2017. We look to improve upon that.

The chief value expressed in our ‘Courageous Excellence’ mission statement is to challenge ourselves, every day, to be a better version our ourselves. That means we value people with a strong sense of their deeply-held position on topics, their ability to present a solid but respectful challenge to the status quo and to come at (all of) this from their own personal perspective. You can’t get that from a group of guys who grew up in their parent’s basement (okay, I don’t think most of our guys did that – but you get the point). Diversity, including a strong push toward gender diversity on project teams, has huge payoffs.

So yes, the very next 3 go-lives all being led by female technical leads.

While not planned in advance, it does make me very happy. You see, we simply challenge our staff to extend themselves, and these were just the next 3 who put in the time, made the effort and have proven they were ready for the next step. So, I guess it is just a coincidence – though, for me, a pleasant coincidence. However, it is definitely not an accident.