Roderick Cassar, Raketech Head of Projects, discusses the challenges of his daily responsibilities of project supervision and explains the importance of personal well-being as a key factor in achieving success on all levels. Find out more about his Raketech journey and read his thoughts below:
Raketech has gone a long way in the past two years. Since the day I joined the company until today it has transformed into a completely different place, more mature, better structured, and also publicly listed. Yet, the culture is the same, which is not easy to keep with all the growth and challenges that the company has passed through.
There are a few key factors that make Raketech a great place to work at in comparison to other companies.
Fighting for a flat structure
Back in 2017, the company made a decision to adopt a flat structure operational model, with the aim for this to form a strong base given the plans the company had back then – launching an IPO and growing in all aspects. The operational structure a company chooses goes a long way toward its success or failure, so choosing wisely is essential. Such a model motivates broader roles, where someone can wear different hats to accomplish their job. For instance, in my case, I have tried on several hats including managing software development, scrum master, dealing with human resources issues, managing projects and operations among others. This really helps with making the job more interesting and getting the most out of our resources.
At Raketech, daily decision making occurs at all levels; it doesn’t always proceed from executives down to the teams. Employees are empowered and given significant authority with little supervision in their responsible areas. In our flat structure, executives and staff members communicate directly with one another, without having to go through intermediaries or closed doors. This not only speeds up communication but also makes the communication clear and understandable because clarity suffers when more people are involved in the communication process.
When a company has a multi-hierarchical structure, there is a tendency for managers to micro-manage small details and the daily tasks of their teams. Micromanaging stifles efficiency by draining time and can hinder creativity because employees feel they can’t really make any moves without approval. The lack of trust that managers show to their staff often slows the work process in a project – meaning the team is less nimble.
Employees in a flat organisation have more authority to implement their own ideas and ways of working to produce the desired results. This empowerment not only increases productivity, but it also boosts staff motivation and morale. People who feel trusted are more motivated to do their best and give 100% of their skills and talent. Motivated employees are happier employees, which improves job satisfaction, and most importantly, elevates staff member buy-in. This is how we operate at Raketech and I’m proud to be part of this environment!
A winning work-life integration
Keeping a good balance between career and family has always been a top priority for Raketech. A successful work-life integration involves juggling work-related stress with the daily pressures of personal life. Modern employees demand greater control over their lives, spending time with family, and friends. Therefore, need more control in the structure of their jobs.
When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership of their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management and are better placed to leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Raketech has different ways to incorporate a balanced office culture without compromising productivity or efficiency. Reducing stress to increase performance in all aspects of life is the ultimate goal of a good work-life balance.
The best way to retain an awesome workforce is to serve the needs of your employees so that they can best serve your organisation. With some simple tweaks, work-life integration can be sustained and staff made (at least reasonably!) happy. A good leader who delivers benefits that meet the needs of a workforce, and watch as stress is reduced, work-life balance is enhanced, and satisfied, happier employees are driven to succeed in their roles.
Raketech has various ways to keep staff happy and remain productivity that I list below:
A great way to reduce stress is through exercise, and we should try to get at least 30 minutes per day, which isn’t easy for the modern day professional. Raketech encourages staff to keep active and organizes regular activities for employees –making it much easier for people to take part. The group fitness sessions and regular sport builds team spirit and provides an outlet for stress. People who eat well and exercise are also less at risk of getting sick, being stressed and missing days from work, which will ultimately affect productivity.
Raketech arranges a regular “breakfast club” in the mornings so that employees can fuel themselves with a healthy snack with co-workers. You would be surprised how much this improves relationships and sparks creative discussions even before the working day has started.
Gym membership, nutritious snacks, and even massage treatments can help all employees only keep a healthy lifestyle.
Flexibility and working remote
By letting employees work remotely, staff are free to be in their ideal location, travel, and spend more time with their families – while still contributing to the organisation’s success. The perfect complement to working remotely is also offering flexible scheduling. Staff can work at times that suit their needs, making them happier and more engaged. This also encourages staff to be more available outside of the regular 9 till 6.
Encourage employee training, workshops, and education
The fast rise of social media and new technologies can quickly make one’s knowledge base outdated. We try to master new tech by supporting training and workshops.
Team-building exercises help to foster a much-needed sense of teamwork around the office. Raketech encourages teams to do quarterly team-building exercises for teams to bond better.
Raketech IT & Dev teams team-building day in Gozo
Make exceptions to keep the best people
Adopting flexible employment models allows you to hold on to valuable business insight and skills that will enhance your team’s value. Additionally, more experienced employees can guide training for the new starters, providing tested knowledge and expertise. We have people and teams across Europe, and we want to make them part of the Raketech family. We ensure to implement the right processes and right tools, for them to work efficiently and effectively with us. we invite them to our company meetings held in Malta and also to our summer and Christmas parties, helping in getting to know each other better. Ad-hoc visits is a must, to keep the momentum and personal-touch, whilst setting the roadmap for the next quarter’s milestones. Raketech is spread over several countries and even though we are wide-spread, the constant communication and visits keep us closed and focused on getting things done in the best way.
Innovation across all teams never stops, and even though one is free to suggest their ideas any time, we instil team members to spend a well-planned day to brainstorm, think and suggest…what we call Raketech Innovation Days. Watch this space as more information about this will come out in the next few weeks!
We aim to excel at how we operate, with the main objective being to make our core products better and stronger. I have had the privilege to work closely with Toke Theilade on our Sports and Community platforms. Knowing what he expects from a business perspective has helped me plan what we needed to do from a technical perspective. With some effective meetings, we succeeded in setting our quarterly milestones, which ultimately helped us in building a roadmap. This roadmap was then translated into weekly plans, also known as our sprint objectives. Such planning may seem like a waste time initially, yet, it would surely help in making sure that we are building and focusing on the right thing at the right time. It also helps in giving the whole team the full overview of the purpose of their tasks. Things simply get puzzled together so easily when good planning is made. Is it enough to plan, and then hope that the execution simply works? Definitely not. It’s like planting a seed, you need to water it and care for it on a daily basis, for you to see a flower or two. The same rule applies to any project. After the planning and roadmaps are done and communicated, there must be daily communication and interaction to ensure that everything is going as planned. In addition, unforeseen things happen, and one might need to also adjust the plan. This is the beauty of working with an agile mindset and methodology.
It is very crucial that the team has a positive synergy, yet, it is also healthy that the team conducts retrospectives and evaluates what and how can be improved. Continuous improvement is as important as much as continuous delivery! Processes and tools that we used a few months ago might not be needed now anymore. So, planning the upcoming months and quarters is also followed by analysing our past months with our teams, seeking means to keep excelling.
With this in mind, we promote and hold innovation days within teams. The idea is to break the daily routine and let the guys think of a problem and seek a solution to it. Of course, this is held in a competitive environment, with the winning idea being awarded. One might be surprised by the outcome of the ideas. Raketech aims at having the right competencies and skills within teams, who with the right set of data and mandate, they are responsible to run and uplift our products. Having the right technical level in your field of expertise together with that business-driven will make you a great asset for Raketech to hire. Although we are in Malta with a lot of sunshine, we passionately work hard to achieve even better and higher results. We are result-oriented, as nothing speaks better than facts and figures.
Raketech Hackathon 2018 – presentation of the results