Posts

Technology and Collaboration in the Workplace

Collaboration is a top priority for many organizations and business leaders. At Optimus, collaboration is integral to office culture and how we evolve and stay flexible. Collaboration within the workplace elevates the group as a whole. We are better able to solve problems and serve our clients by incorporating technology into our collaborative practices

Open Communication

Every desk in the Noida office is in an open work-space which provides easy communication between all members of a team. This helps facilitate the daily huddles that happen between team leads and their members. Firstly, a detailed plan executes all tasks. Following that, each individual takes responsibility for their sections and logs their efforts. A retrospective meeting addresses what can be improved. 

office-300x171 Technology and Collaboration in the Workplace

The Optimus team collaborating in the office

Our two offices have weekly check-ins to maintain clear communication of projects and keep up to date on their status. Leads of test and development meet to converse on the status of projects, and what challenges need to be addressed. Furthermore, clients are kept up to date through weekly status reports which analyze what work has been completed, where efforts were directed for the week, along with dependencies for the clients to act upon. 

Collaboration Across Time Zones and Platforms

Optimus Information uses technology to come together and spread information across a multitude of platforms. For instance, internally you can see birthday messages posted on Google Plus, schedule a meeting overseas through Zoom, keep up to date with your colleagues through Slack, and track your metrics on Zoho. Moreover, the use of Azure boards provides lucidity in work. A ticketing system assigns a ticket to each collaborator amongst the projects.

Through this common board, collaborators can see which tickets are assigned to whom, and what the progress is on each task. As a result, allocating tickets is based on individual capacity along with how many projects they are working on. In addition to filters, there are separate boards per project. These boards optimize differentiation and keep an organized way of merging a multitude of channels. Technology and collaboration in the workplace happen homogeneously. To reach overseas, Zoom ensures all calls are easily accessible. This allows for the Vancouver and Noida office to have a seamless partnership.

cafe-300x225 Technology and Collaboration in the Workplace

Daily huddles keep our teams up to date on each project

Technology is constantly evolving. In order for a company to remain at the forefront of the industry, information must be accurate and up to date. Collaboration allows for knowledge to be shared, cultivating a culture of continuous learning. Optimus utilizes technology to pass forward the information efficiently. Each individual has their own strengths, and by combining their unique standpoints it accelerates the achievement of common goals. 

The Optimus Family: Interning in Noida

From the moment we stepped on to the plane, there was always a looming fear of “will I fit in?” It was extremely intimidating to embark on a journey that we were both unfamiliar with. We knew that we would stand out and feel somewhat alone. However, what we thought we knew couldn’t be further from actuality as soon as we stepped off the plane.  

Welcome-New-Hires-300x169 The Optimus Family: Interning in Noida

Optimus’ Company Culture

 

MVS-300x175 The Optimus Family: Interning in Noida

You will always finding smiling faces on the floor.

The Noida office emphasizes the importance of developing a strong family and friend culture. When you start your first day at Optimus, you are not just a number in the system; You are a part of the Optimus family. Every morning, a friend will come to your workstation and invite you for coffee or tea. At first, we thought this was a “Welcome to Noida” initiation. However, this is just a standard, friendly gesture that we see each day; three weeks later, the hospitality remains the same. Every day, they share breakfast, gather over lunch, and cultivate a work environment of high productivity and creativity.

SouthIndianSarthak-300x225 The Optimus Family: Interning in Noida

Post-lunch at an amazing South Indian restaurant with Sarthak, Olivia’s supervisor, and his team.

It is difficult to contextualize the feeling of working at Optimus through word; to truly understand, you can synthesize by imagining having a fantastic day with a group of your closest friends. To add to the fun, everybody always shares new and exciting findings to help boost the community goal of continuous learning. This environment leads to a heightened vocation, where you want to engage with more colleagues, join in on the Fun Friday Activities, and get the most out of what the job has to offer. This company culture is the foundation for building meaningful careers.

432Session1-300x225 The Optimus Family: Interning in Noida

The team shares some laughs during a weekly 4:32 knowledge session.

To summarize, we may look different, we may sound different, and we may tolerate spices differently, but everybody from the office accepts us for who we are. So, do we fit in? In short, we don’t. However, in an organization that promotes individuality and self-leadership, fitting in is not a primary concern. Our main goal is to feel like we belong. Luckily for us, we have never felt more at home. 

RepublicDayRuchi-300x225 The Optimus Family: Interning in Noida

A quick click with Ruchi, Laura’s supervisor, in our kurtas on Republic Day.

  • Laura and Olivia

The Art of Leadership for Women

Jessalynn Tran is the Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Optimus Information


Today, more women are moving up the corporate ladder and breaking glass ceilings. We are raising a generation of girl bosses and have even more available opportunities. However, women in leadership roles will face many challenges in this evolving world that will require them to adapt in order to succeed.

On April 5th, I was fortunate enough to attend The Art of Leadership for Women, an annual one-day conference focusing on the topics and trends most critical to women leaders. The event this year brought together an extraordinary group of influential women consisting of business icons, bestselling authors, and even a Nobel Peace Prize winner. You could feel the energy, excitement, and significance of this event from outside the doors. It felt like something magical was about to take place.

ArtofLeadership-1030x539 The Art of Leadership for Women

The speakers included:

Emily Chang
Anchor & Executive Producer, Bloomberg Technology, Emmy Award Winning Journalist and Bestselling Author

Tiffani Bova
Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce and Bestselling Author

Laura Gassner Otting
Chief Catalyzing Officer at Limitless Possibility and Author

Dr. Tasha Eurich
Organizational Psychologist, Researcher and New York Times Bestselling Author

Malala Yousafzai
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, International Bestselling Author and Founder of Malala Fund

 


Here were some of my key takeaways from these inspiring speakers.

Success is directly related to access to opportunity

But, what does access mean and look like?

One historical fact that stood out to me was that women used to dominate the computing and programming industry. Women like Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and the women of ENIAC were on the leading edge. It was only until much later that the tech industry used personality tests to identify the characteristics that they thought would make a good programmer. This created the stereotype of techies as anti-social male nerds that we now think of. The number of women in computer science declined because they were reframed as individuals who would not excel in this industry as much as their counterparts (despite their prior dominance).

Access to opportunities refers to equal opportunities that are free of biases. However, access to me also means creating a sense of inclusion. Even when women are present, if we don’t see examples of other women in roles that we want, it makes it difficult to imagine ourselves in those roles. There are subtle cultural signals we’re sending that tell women “you don’t belong here” or “you’re not good enough.” For example, the photo used for the first jpeg algorithm was a Playboy centerfold. The use of this photo was later defended by stating that there were no women in the room. Would the choice of this photo have been different if there was a woman in the room? And what message would using this photo send to a woman in the room? What are the long-term societal consequences when we are limiting ourselves to a narrower gender-biased view?

 

Who gave us our scorecard?

Don’t measure yourself against someone else’s standards of success or happiness.

Although the conference mainly viewed leadership through a female lens, the majority of the information provided was applicable for both men and women.

One gender-neutral idea was having a metaphorical scorecard that we all measure our success and happiness against. For example, there is a lot of pressure to get married and have children. This sends the signal that we unsuccessful if we decided that is not the life that would make us happy. We will never be happy if we are trying to live according to someone else’s scorecards and not our own.

A similarity between all the speakers was that they didn’t all have it all figured out. It was trial and error along the course of their career, and they tossed external scorecards a long time ago. Each step helped them figure out what they wanted to do, what they didn’t want to do, and what their strengths are. For me, I tend to measure myself against the perceived timeline I should follow for my career. Having gone back to school to pursue a different path, I have always felt behind where I “should” be.

 

Self Awareness

Understanding who we are and how we are seen.

Self aware individuals are typically more successful at work, receive more promotions, communicate better, parent better and maintain happier relationships. Most people think that they are self aware. However, in reality, most people suck at it. This is something that I realized is definitely true for me. I have a difficult time identifying my strengths and limitations, and often feel like I have imposter syndrome.

Studies have shown that women tend to underestimate how others see them. Dr. Tasha Eurich provided practical tools to help improve our self awareness and to use trusted individuals to combat our negative perceptions.

  1. Reflected best self
    Ask a few people who know you well, “What qualities do you most appreciate me as a leader?”
  2. Prove them wrong
    What are you capable of that no one else knows?
  3. Ask what, not why
    Asking “Why?” can put us in an emotional trap feeling like a victim asking “Why is this happening to me?” A better way is to ask “What?” questions that will give you factual growth. For example, ask “What patterns do I see and what can I do differently?”
  4. Loving critics
    Seek honest feedback from someone who has your best interest at heart and wants to see you succeed.

 

How to Get Women to More Prominent Roles?

Practical advice for any leader.

It’s one thing to read this and make commitments to improving at leadership. But, we don’t want to settle for vague goals. If you are a woman and want to truly excel, here are four pieces of advice for you:

  1. Don’t ask for permission
    Go out and prove them wrong.
  2. Have mentors
    Surround yourself with people who can help you develop your skills.
  3. Know your own strengths and limitations
    Focusing on your strengths will help guide your career and understanding areas you can improve or need help improving.
  4. Being bad at something is an opportunity to improve
    Mistakes are inevitable; but they are opportunities to learn.

 

My day at the Art of Leadership for Women felt like a day full of “Aha!” moments. Not only did I leave with practical advice that I can apply to my own life, but I left feeling empowered. In addition to the extraordinary women, it was great to see men in attendance as well. The fight for equality and inclusivity needs to include men in the dialogue. Being sent to this conference clearly communicated to me Optimus’ core values and their support of gender equality. When asked what the gender ratio is at Optimus, I was proudly able to say the ratio is 1:1. I am grateful to work for a company that sees my personal potential as a professional and also the importance of being an ambassador of women in leadership.

Behind The Scenes at Optimus: My Experience as an Intern

Excited and afraid, I boarded a plane, leaving my family, friends and city life behind. I was about to embark on what would be the most challenging, educational and rewarding experience of my life: a four-month internship at one of Canada’s fastest growing IT firms, Optimus Information. The interesting part, however, was that my internship was not to take place in Canada. Instead, I was being sent to work at the company’s delivery centre in India.

After a grueling flight with multiple layovers, I was finally halfway across the world in the land of India. A friendly Optimus employee greeted me at the airport and, from that point onwards, the journey began. During my 4 months at Optimus, I was living and working in a place called Noida, also known to be the fastest growing urban city in the country. Noida is a tech hub for global firms outsourcing IT services. This was quite apparent, since almost every young person I spoke with had a degree in computer science and was working at one of the many IT centres here. Bustling with millennials and computer engineers, I knew that this city was a haven for techies.

Culture Shock

Initially I was shocked; the Bollywood movie I had watched on the plane did not prepare me for this. With the insane traffic, constant honking, weird smells and overpopulation, it all seemed like one big jumbled mess. I began to think, “What have I gotten myself into?”  This thought disappeared immediately after stepping foot in the Optimus office. Not only were the people incredibly friendly and welcoming, but they also treated me like family. Within the first week, I was completely blown away by their unique office culture and how it differed from a typical Canadian office. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this company, and I was truly fascinated by the different approach they took when it came to managing their employees.

Not Your Typical Delivery Centre

Optimus Information operates under a relatively flat corporate hierarchy. The Co-Founder and Head of India Operations is one of the most humble guys I’ve ever met. He works from a cubicle just like the rest of his subordinates and expresses personal interest in all of his employees. He even joins them for lunch on a daily basis. With fewer layers of management, Optimus employees are empowered, and expected to take on managerial decisions. The result? Greater employee satisfaction and deliverables which usually exceed management’s expectations.

Endless Opportunity

At Optimus, they want you to have the opportunity to work on various unique projects that will challenge your professional skills and force you to think outside the box. Weekly meetings are hosted in the cafeteria, where employees are given the chance to showcase their side projects or share any new technology findings with the team. The company is built on learning, so they encourage all of their employees to explore new ideas, push personal boundaries and invest time in developing new skills. They also have mentoring support programs to facilitate things for the newbies.

 

The-Noida-office-having-a-little-bit-of-fun Behind The Scenes at Optimus: My Experience as an Intern

My Internship in a Nutshell

From the beginning of my internship, it was clear that this place was more than just a delivery centre. Optimus is a family, a second home, a place where entrepreneurship is encouraged and new ideas are always welcomed. Working at Optimus has taught me the importance of global communication and how it enables businesses to operate on an international scale. Optimus has helped further my education by giving me a chance to work with industry-leading clients in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing technology environment. They’ve brought me outside of my comfort zone, and pushed me to go further in the professional world of business. I can’t even express how grateful I am to have been given this opportunity. It’s been an incredible journey working at Optimus and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to be part of the Optimus family during my 4 months in India. 

If you’re curious about the different approach Optimus takes when managing their employees and would like to learn more about how this innovative tech company operates… 

Check back in later this month when I’ll be talking about work/life balance, why it doesn’t work, and what Optimus Information is doing instead. It is the leading reason for their businesses success today and I’m incredibly excited to share it with you!

 

The-author-with-Noida-employees-observing-a-fun-local-custom Behind The Scenes at Optimus: My Experience as an Intern

About the author: 

Lucy Morrow is a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing student, nearing the end of her 4-month co-op work term at Optimus Information in Noida, India. Lucy came to know about this opportunity while sitting in class one day when her teacher gave an informative presentation regarding The India Connect Scholarship Program offered at Langara College.  

The India Connect Program is the first in a series of country-specific scholarship programs that gives students a chance to gain valuable work experience while developing intercultural skills at the same time. With her passion for business and curiosity about foreign culture, this was a no-brainer for Lucy; she knew she had to jump on the opportunity. The application process was long and competitive but ultimately worth it when she was selected as one of the two students to participate in the program. 

“In an increasingly globalized world pivoting on Asia, young Canadians must seize the opportunity to live, work and play in other countries and cultures,” said Pankaj Agarwal, Managing Partner, Optimus Information Inc. “Optimus Information is one of Canada’s fastest growing IT firms and our India office is bustling with young people who are eager to introduce Canadians to their culture and the Indian way of doing business. I am excited to be able to partner with Langara College and The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to offer this lifetime learning opportunity to Canadian students.” 

 

 

Want to know more about The India Connect Scholarship Program? Visit the link below: 

https://langara.ca/news-and-events/langara-news/2017/170809-india-connect-program-apfc.html  

 

For more information about internships at Optimus and The India Connect Scholarship Program, visit the link below: 

https://langara.ca/news-and-events/langara-news/2017/170809-india-connect-program-apfc.html