Bachelor of Science, Major in Computer Science – Otago University
Diploma in Business Studies, Major in Business Information System
Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) 2016
Suhel is passionate about creating experiences that delight customers and create value for businesses. He has almost 15 years experience working with data and over 5 years experience in Product Management. He loves solving complex problems, is deeply empathic, curious, strategic and analytical. He loves giving back to the community, he has organised Analytics and ProductTank meetups as well mentored in Startup Weekends and Accelerators.
Suhel spent over 10 years at Trade Me during the rapid growth phase (2008 to 2019). During that time he held many roles in Analytics from Report Analyst to Head of Analytics. He was responsible for setting up the first Data Science team and helping ship machine learning driven customer experience; including improvements to search algorithms, recommendation engines and creating valuation models.
In 2015, Suhel went through the Trade Me internal Product Management training and mentoring programme. This provided a holistic and deep experience in doing Product Management in a Trade Me way. As a Product Manager in Trade Me Jobs, Suhel and his product development teams helped recruiters and small business owners easily find great candidates and manage them through the recruitment process.
At Storypark, Suhel was responsible for launching two new products (iOS Educator app and Daily Routines) as well as many small tweaks and updates to delighted customers and make things easier for them. Along with this, he established a continuous customer discovery practice to better understand early childhood educators around the world.
Suhel is father of two children, loves learning new things, teaching his children the “secrets of success in life”, playing board games and long walks in nature with family. He doesn’t have a dog or a cat but wishes that his family would agree to getting a tortoise.
Big question: How do you team build with a team full of teambuilding experts?
Big answer: You take them to a fantastic community building, stick them in an art studio and have them create a collaborative work of art. Recently, the team from Teamworx did exactly that!
Teamworx met for lunch at Eight Letters (https://www.zomato.com/auckland/eight-letters-glen-innes) to kick things off with a healthy and delicious lunch. Catching up in person as a team is very important to us, as we don’t have a central office – we all work from home or from various client offices. We communicate all the time on slack, but nothing beats seeing someone face to face and giving them a hug. Teams work more efficiently when they know and trust each other, so casual hang out time is essential for a strong team.
After lunch, it was over to Te Ora where we settled into a rented studio space and took a critical look at the challenge.
The challenge: create a poster as a team which demonstrates Teamworx values, who we are and what we do.
Katherine volunteered to facilitate and first, we took a moment to plan ahead and build a schedule and timeline for getting the project done. Although we didn’t know exactly how long each part of the process would take, we did have a deadline, so we counted back from that. We were generous with some parts of the day, and made sure to include a section for customer feedback – we didn’t want to make something which only made visual sense to ourselves.
We also had a $50 budget for supplies, so a supplies run was factored into our timeline as well.
Photo of timeline
Photo of values etc
Using posters and sharpies we highlighted the requirements. We also made lists of our values and all the things our company offers and stuck them up on the wall to refer to. Using agile to plan made this pretty easy.
For the actual design of the posters, we ran a crazy eights style exercise to brainstorm ideas. Although none of us were sure we could get eight ideas out, so we did crazy fours. One minute for each quarter of a piece of paper, any idea accepted and artistic ability not an issue.
Photo of crazy eights here
That done, we stuck them to the wall and we each took turns explaining the ideas behind our design. We took a few minutes to then dot vote on the elements we liked – 15 dots each person. This approach allowed us to go in a direction most people were excited about.
With our favourite elements chosen we debated how to put them together – this process took about fifteen minutes, and it was a real test of our communication as a team. Would someone get precious about not altering their design? Would someone shoot down someone else’s idea in a less than constructive way? This kind of improvising and collaboration can reveal dysfunctions in a team and highlight egos or character clashes which may not have been obvious previously.
In our case, we managed to come up with an idea which combined a lot of the favoured elements and got to work making draft sketches and refining the process through several agile iteration sketches.
The idea: a heart shape which is the bird’s eye view floorplan of a house. The room walls are puzzle pieces which fit together, with services and values in each of the rooms. There’s a flow through the rooms, from the long windy road of difficulty, through the Teamworx house and out into a sold path leading to a bright future.
Photo of early draft sketches
We were even ahead of schedule!
We split into two groups at this point. Three members of the team went to interview random people off the street and get some feedback on the design. If it made no sense to someone with no context, it’d be back to the drawing board. Just like with a product launch, we didn’t want to create something which no one could use or relate to.
Two of us went on a supplies run to a nearby discount store and purchased paints, a big canvas, glitter paint, stickers and some very pretty butterflies.
With positive customer feedback and lots of fun supplies, we got creating! Time ran a little short – we hadn’t factored in paint drying time into our schedule (a lesson for next time), and there was some incredible improvisation:
The picture of a box with sparkles coming out of it to represent product became an actual dimensional cardboard box with stick-on jewels. The foundations of the house display our Pepeha, which Tracey put together with reference to online resources.
There was also communication and co-operation demonstrated as everyone tried to put things on the canvas without getting in each other’s way or smearing the work they’d just done. We focused not on getting it perfect, but a Minimum Viable Product which looked workable.
We finished right on time, and were all very pleased, impressed even, with the resulting image.
– finished product photos here
All in all, this was a fun and challenging exercise which gently tested the communication and collaboration skills of the team. And at the end we had a lot of great memories as well as better understanding for each other. Besides that we have a brilliant image to use to demonstrate who we are.
If you’d like to try the Poster Creation Challenge (insert better name here) then get in touch! We’d love to facilitate this activity for your team, and see what you come up with.
Extra for experts:
Photo challenge. How do you co-ordinate everyone to jump at the same time as the camera timer?