Thursday, May 04, 2017

Last week our team got together at an old lodge in Petone

At Spiral, the team that bring you Spinnaker, we all work remotely. Since we don’t get to see each other very often we have meet-ups roughly twice a year. When you don’t have face to face time with your colleagues every day, seeing each other is special and fun.

Last week our team got together at an old lodge in Petone for one of our regular meet-ups. We’ve had some great meet-ups over the years and engaged in some interesting activities. Each meet-up is a little different and this recent one was all about working together, talking, getting to know the new faces … plus food and coffee of course.

The whole team is at the meet-up and customer support continues through the time we are together. This means that in the middle of a discussion, maybe on how we will scale the server, if a customer support request comes in the discussion goes on hold while someone resolves that. The rest of us have plenty of other things to work on or maybe its time for a cup of tea at that point.

Many of the housekeeping type discussions, like how we are managing our support requests with Zendesk, work better with us all together where we have input from the whole team. At this meet-up there was also a lot of discussion about how we are growing and our direction for the next few months is clearly charted.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Winner of ANZICS NZ 2017 Twitter Competition

I was delighted to attend and sponsor the gala dinner at the ANZICS NZ 2017 Regional Meeting last week. It was great to catch up with the people that we know and to see so many ICU staff from across NZ along with a few special guests from Australia. The meeting was organised by Wellington Hospital ICU, in particular Ben Barry and Karyn Hathaway.
ICU nurses know how to have a good time and let their hair down when they are away from the demanding, stressful environment they work in!
In addition to sponsoring the dinner we offered a prize for posting a photo on Twitter with the hashtags #anzicsnz2017 and #spinnakersoftware. We received over 60 entries for the competition which was judged by an amateur photographer. There were two honourable mentions, Paul Young @DogICUma and Julie Burgess @kiwiburgess. The winner,  Deb Chalmers @ViridescentFrog, posted several images. Thank you to everyone who posted in the competition, there were some creative, interesting and humorous images posted from animals to sunsets … and  a few coffee‏ photos 😮
This is the first year that we have sponsored the dinner and it was lots of fun.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Introducing the PLUS Study

The George Institute of Global Health, Sydney, is our newest client and the coordinating centre for the PLUS Study.  PLUS kicked off in February and will begin taking enrolments in July.

Another fluid resuscitation study for us, the PLUS Study is a multi-centre, blinded, RCT.

PLUS tests the hypothesis that:
"in a heterogeneous population of critically ill adults, random assignment to Plasma-Lyte 148® for intravascular volume resuscitation and crystalloid fluid therapy in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) results in different 90-day all-cause mortality when compared with random assignment to 0.9% sodium chloride (saline) for the same treatment."
Of note:
  • with 8,800 patients this will be our biggest study
  • the study uses our inventory module to track all treatment from shipment to disposal
  • the study will initially run in Australia and New Zealand with other countries coming on board later
Next Tuesday I am off to Sydney to meet with the project manager and chief investigator for a sanity check which will ensure the project is going in the right direction. In the meeting we will take a strategic look at the project, discuss the more complex issues in the project and and check-in on our assumptions. I always enjoy these get togethers and once we are underway I find it important to make sure we are all walking along the same path with the project.

It’s always good to see people face to face and I regularly pop across the Tasman to meet with the project admins or join in a team meeting, even if just for an hour, although sometimes I can spend six hours with a project manager, nutting out detail. Mostly I can get across the ditch, and back, in a day but I am always happy to stay longer and use the opportunity to catch up with some of our other trials that are underway.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Working smarter with online software

Spiral is a distributed company ...we are the ones that bring you Spinnaker! Distributed means our team work from homes and offices across New Zealand. Its a great way to work, it enables us to be focused, work smartly and avoid earthquake issues!

We rely heavily on great communication and technology and I thought you might be interested in some of the software tools we use:

  • Skype. For video and voice calls with customers and internally. We use the screen sharing function on Skype a lot
  • Slack. For team chat and water-cooler type conversations.  Some of our other apps are  integrated with Slack so that we get messages when stuff is happening on other channels
  • Bugherd. For reporting bugs and issues with Spinnaker. Some customers will recognise this one because you are using it
  • dapulse. Gives us a way to visualise all our projects and deliver working, robust software in a timely manner
  • Inspectlet. Records peoples behaviour using Spinnaker which we translate into improvements to our software that make your experience of it better or quicker
  • Highrise. CRM that helps me stay organised

Im currently evaluating Zendesk but thats a story for another day.

My desk - a distributed office environment can look like this.