My Experience as an Advanced Analytics Chapter Lead Principal
I had already worked in telcos for eight years, so I was used to the industry, but everything at Telstra is just so interesting and new.
I started during a time of restructuring, which meant the role I initially accepted wasn’t the one I’ve ended up doing. But everything that happened was a blessing in disguise.
I’m now what is known as a ‘Chapter Lead’, for data analytics and management, so I thought it would be useful to give some insight into our ‘chapter’ structure and why it’s such an enjoyable system to work in as a data analytics professional.
Agile Way of Working
In the new ways of working, everyone is assigned to chapters and missions. I was fortunate enough to be given opportunity to be ‘Advanced Analytics Chapter Lead’ after going through a series of interviews.
My first project in the mission was around personalisation, something I truly believe in. It is all about making sure what we display and what we communicate to our customers is relevant – the right content at the right time. I am currently in Core Proposition mission in Consumer, where we continuously work on the strategy for all our core products, namely mobile, fixed and mobile broadband.
Additionally, I co-founded Helix, Telstra’s data and analytics community for anyone passionate about data. As part of Helix program, we organize lots of events. We organized ‘Lunch and Learns’, community events, study group and hackathons with not for profit organizations. The big highlight was when we did DeepRacer with AWS (Amazon Web Services).
DeepRacer is an opportunity to see machine learning and reinforcement learning come to life through fun car races. Participants built their reinforcement learning models and download them to a car, and the car goes on the track. A miniature version of self driving cars. Everyone learns new skills and we had so much fun. Win win!
An open, supportive culture is very important to me
From the beginning, I’ve ensured a very open and transparent environment in my chapter. I want everyone to be able to voice any issues or concerns they have, which means everyone must be respectful of each other. That's one of my values and that was especially important when the chapters were first established and the changes we went through at that time.
The pandemic and lockdown further highlighted the need for everyone to be able to reach out to others for support and to feel connected. I am very proud that we, at Telstra, has come out even stronger throughout this ordeal.
Why our mission/chapter structure works
The caliber of talent at Telstra is immense. People are very knowledgeable, and support is ingrained in the culture.
From mission perspective, we have daily stand-ups, where everyone gives an update on what they did yesterday and what they are doing today. This is where blockers can be raised as well. For example, if someone is having issues with their work, others can help.
As chapter lead, I am responsible for making sure everyone has an up-to-date skill set so they are fit to support the business, so I always encourage upskilling and cross-skilling. I also have continuous one-on-ones with my team members because I’m not working directly with everyone on day to day bases - having a regular check in really helps to build trust and relationships.
Leadership at Telstra
One of the things I really like about Telstra is its focus on thinking about the future and the endless opportunity Telstra provides its employees. There is support for career relevant personal development across the board, even if you’re wanting to do something different to the job you’re doing right now. I think that’s quite rare.