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Women in High Tech Project: Moving from Discussion to Action


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High tech thought leader Karen Holtzblatt introduces the Women in High Tech Retention Project and then shares key factors for retention and interventions. For more information:

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Women in High Tech Project: Moving from Discussion to Action

  1. 1. Karen Holtzblatt, CEO @kholtzblatt Factors influencing work choices Women in Technology
  2. 2. The Problem
  3. 3. Policy & Culture Hiring Women events Promotion Mentoring We keep trying to bring them in the door But women leave at 2x the rate of men Early Interventions: • Community • School • College • Outreach The problem is inside the work • 30% leave because of the org climate • Bad for people of color too • 50% leave the career within 12 years • vs 20% non-STEM The Tech Corporation
  4. 4. The Research: Why women stay or leave Survey: 49% thinking of leaving & feel invisible Field research to find key factors § 360 deep dive inquiry into the daily lives of women in tech § Engineers, UX, Product Mgt, Researchers § Managers and professionals § Women who left jobs § Automotive, consumer, ERP, information search, retail and more § Single, Married, Kids § Then a quantitative survey of ~400 Result: The WIT @Work Framework § Key factors that keep women loving their work § A measure assessing women’s experience of each factor – Go take it! § Intervention development
  5. 5. The WIT @Work Framework
  6. 6. A Tight Cohesive Team Up to Something Big!
  7. 7. The project needs to be compelling – not socially relevant
  8. 8. The Push and Support From managers and colleagues
  9. 9. Local Role Models Who I know and live the life I want
  10. 10. Nonjudgmental Flexibility From the team and managers What about family issues?
  11. 11. Build Personal Power Address Self-confidence and Self-Doubt
  12. 12. The @Work Framework Tight Cohesive Team Up to something that matters The Push & Support Local Role Models Non-judgmental Flexibility Personal Power
  13. 13. Exploring Interventions Part One: The Team
  14. 14. Tuckerman’s classic model of teamwork And the team develops a set of share values
  15. 15. Team Intervention: Make the Intangible Tangible
  16. 16. Values: the Team Manifesto Adapted from Barry Overeem’s blog Accountability Support FunSuccess Procedures & Practices Honesty Excellence Trust Growth Collaboration Innovation Faith Commitment Learning Work life balance Failure Rules Teamwork Integrity Conduct
  17. 17. Create a Team Manifesto What does this team mean to you? § Thinking of stimulus words, write your answers on a sticky note. One answer per sticky note. § Team members present their words in round robin, collecting like notes from others § Write the value name on the left – and then the natural opposite on the right. § Cluster and Prioritize the value themes Write down 'Team Manifesto' on a flip chart and the 5 most important themes on the left side § Write the final poster – include behavior examples and document on-line § Sign the poster to show your commitment § Get your managers to sign to gain their agreement too
  18. 18. Do a Process Check Take managing yourselves seriously At the end of each week ask: § How are you doing on values • As a group and personally § How are you doing on your deliverables § How well are you running your meetings § How are your personal growth goals – declare your wins! Process Check What’s not – Minuses - We didn’t give ourselves enough time for storyboarding - The visual design is not good enough for upcoming presentation - We are wasting time arguing about word definitions - I’m (Joe) still not getting my ideas out What’s working – Plusses + We are starting on time + We have running code! + We went out to lunch together + We ran a design critique and everyone listened and contributed productively + I’m (Ju) speaking up more Generate design ideas to address issues § New processes to try § Ways you can support each other § Values that should be added § Technology that might help § Coaching that might help Try it out the next week and check again
  19. 19. Team Interventions: Plan Informal Roles
  20. 20. Every product team needs all these roles Formal roles don’t always map well to team role skill! Formal skill roles § Product Manager § Project Leader § User Researcher § Interaction/visual designer § Developer § Content provider § Manager(s) Informal team roles Make working together work § Ducks-lined-up § The Cloud § The Brick § The Gas § The Oil § The Market Voice § The “Leader”
  21. 21. Individuals play more than one role! But they might not want to admit it! Make informal roles real § Help people self identify § Put your teams together with informal roles in mind § Lean on strengths § Partner to deal with weakness § Measure success on the success of the team as a unit § And the individual’s role in it
  22. 22. Team Interventions: Manage the Interpersonal with Fun
  23. 23. Cognitive style makes or breaks a team Everyone has a cognitive style and needs to manage it The Cloud (Synthetic Thinking) § Links ideas together creating a bigger and bigger vision with more and more complexity; Loses track of the practical and can self-overwhelm. The Popper (Divergent thinking) § Sees user data or a challenge and generates multiple different ideas for the same one. Tends not to link ideas together. The Christmas-Lights-Thinker (Linear thinking) § Links all ideas up into a linear or logical story—if one fact or piece is missing the thought thread is broken. Stops the conversation until it is filled in no matter what it is. The Diver (Detail oriented) § Must understand every layer and detail of an idea before moving on, from concept to code; Extremely detailed whether developer or product manager.
  24. 24. Talk too much – Talk too little Changing behavior is hard – Make it physical and fun Use props to make change tangible § Sticky notes to self reward § Talk too much: Write ideas in a notebook § Design new silly fun ideas It works if § It is introduced by a respected leader, coach or manager § The person wants help § The team does it together Good Job! Good Job! Good Job!
  25. 25. Commit to personal change Everyone has behaviors to improve 1. Name the Behavior 2. Self-Identify 3. Make the change tangible 4. Ask the team for help 5. Celebrate don’t blame
  26. 26. Team Interventions: Make the Implicit Explicit
  27. 27. Make practices for success known Early clear and specific guidance is critical Our risk is in early career Survey: Compared to women in their 40’s Women in their 30’s experience more of this § Unsure how to be a success § I feel like I am on the line to prove myself every day § My team or manager doesn’t value my work so my confidence is shrinking § And feel expected to know the job without help or conversation And better team processes could help § The team has a lot of power struggles and competition § Our meetings and group work sessions are productive when we have clear roles and procedures to get the work done.
  28. 28. Does everyone have a clear understanding? The job of managers, team members, mentors and on-boarding! • Product mission • Deliverable example (based on role) • Who’s on the team • Who influences & who to network with • How they are measured • What is team & personal success • How to give feedback or float ideas
  29. 29. Pick a process and stick to it Structured processes help everyone know what to expect and how to work We resist structure in the name of innovation But we keep increasing structure in our methods § From Waterfall, Rup, JAD to Agile we add process to deliver on-time § Agile is super structured • Team Manifesto – Daily stand-up meetings – Customer owner & other roles – Stories, Epics and ways to prioritize – pair coding – 2-4 week sprints – Scrum coaches Contextual Design and Design Thinking § Is a set of structured design activities and meetings UX and Agile may not mesh very well but we seek that structure
  30. 30. Good Teamwork is Good WIT Work
  31. 31. Manage the team for success and WIT Good Managers focus on team building – not evaluation Every team needs shared § Values, goals, roles, procedures, success criteria Focus on process not personalities § Make the intangible tangible § Plan for formal and informal roles § Manage the interpersonal with fun § Make the implicit explicit § Pick a process
  32. 32. For creativity and innovation Create a team that isn’t Storming!
  33. 33. What’s Next
  34. 34. Keep in touch Tune into the next webinars for more interventions Join us at CHI § WIT-Y games – see our intervention game ideas and give your feedback § (And Karen’s Story session and SIG on how to communicate data) Survey Phase 2 – watch for solicitations and new results § We need statisticians! Want to collaborate? Looking for teams to work with
  35. 35. Karen Holtzblatt @kholtzblatt