What’s an Op?

Research and Innovation to Create Real Impact

Classically an operation, an “Op”, is a set of planned actions that lead to a particular purpose. At WITops, we target a challenge in the daily work life of technology companies that can make a difference to women in tech and other underrepresented workers.  Each Op team identifies a problem, makes a plan, gathers data, finds the root of the problem, invents and iterates solutions with industry volunteers. Together we create interventions that reliably improve workplace life in tech. Ops are supported by a combination of volunteerism and donations. See the Ops we are working on now. 

We focus on changing principles, practices, and policy – not personalities.
We focus on successful ways of working – not blame.

Current Ops

Valuing Behavior

The Valuing and Jerk Project

Mission: Identify specific behaviors which create or undermine the experience of connection and value within a working group. Create interventions to target change of these critical experiences.

Volunteer Opportunity: How  are the interpersonal dynamics on your team? Try some of our interventions and let us know how you are doing.  

Interventions: Our Character Posters personifying valuing and jerk behaviors along with emoji’s, stickers are available to download now! The latest research results can be seen in our videos on the project. Try our workshops too. Contact us.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Lacey Arevalo and Naishi Jain for project managing this research effort and to my students at University of Maryland HCIM program. Also thanks to Nicola Marsden and her student for the survey work. Finally, thanks to Peter Verastegui for our creative Character Posters. 

Donate: Please help us raise funds to run our survey with a balanced panel of participants. Donate to the general fund.

People on Zoom Call

Remote vs Hybrid Work

Mission: Understand impact of remote vs hybrid working on teams with an eye toward issues of women in technology and UX professionals. Build on the findings of The Remote Work Project v1 to see if coming to the office can ameliorate some of the challenges of remote working and preserve the benefits of being remote. Understand how office space is and should be used under the new work life conditions. Develop recommendations for teams and companies based on the data.

Volunteer Opportunity: If you are a UX professional working in the office 1-3 days a week contact us to be interviewed or keep a diary. If you are a survey expert please help us construct and analyze the results of a survey based on our data. Volunteer 

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Nina Schloss for project managing The Remote Work v1 research effort. Thanks also to Lacey ArevaloAditi Shankar, Emily CarlsonBradlee Sutherland and to my students at University of Maryland HCIM program.

Next Steps: The Remote Work v1 project is completed. Read more for the findings. Next is the Remote vs. Hybrid Work Project. Volunteer to help. 

Donate:  Please help support hiring a panel for the survey to extend this research and cover administrative costs by donating here.

Team Onboarding Experience

Mission: The first step in helping women thrive in any company is making sure they are set up for success starting on day one. The Onboarding Op does research and creates tools to improve onboarding into their working team.

Volunteer Opportunity: How is your organization doing? Get the checklist and compare it to your practice. What can you improve? Try making changes and let us know how you are doing.  . p to be interviewed!

Intervention: The Team Onboarding Checklist has been tested with multiple managers and organizations. You can download the Checklist and the Quick Reference Guide now to help managers improve how they onboard new hires. We also offer coaching. Contact us.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Carol Farnsworth for her work in this area and 
Bill Kules 
for helping with the new graduate interviews. Thanks also to Lacey Arevalo and Claudia Herling for their help in putting together the final deliverables.

Donate: To support more projects like this, please help us cover our costs by donating to the general fund.

Sneak Attacks On Key Processes: Agile

Mission: Look at gender issues in key processes to identify implicit practices which can be made explicit which helps level the playing field for women. Analyze Scrum, the most popular form of agile, as an example. Develop a tool to help teams examine Scrum and other key practices in a workshop setting. 

Volunteer Opportunity: We have developed a tool and honed it with Scrum teams.
Download it here and try it on your Scrum practices or apply it to other key processes. Contact us for help. 

Interventions: Through ongoing work with leaders and development teams Nicola Marsden has developed an analysis matrix for analyzing key processes to identify areas for improvement. Watch for our video introducing it. (Coming Soon)

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to Michael Ahmadi, Claudia Herling, and Volker Wulf. This work was partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), grant number 01FP1603, 01FP1604, and 01FP1605. The responsibility for all content lies with the authors.

Donate: To support more projects like this, please help us cover our costs by donating to the general fund.

WIT-y Games: Career Power Board Game

Mission: WIT-y games helps change behavior and increase awareness on issues related work and career success. Our first game the Career Power board game is ready. Try it to as a fun lunch activity or as part of onboarding new hires. 

Volunteer Opportunity: We are looking for individuals or a game company willing to partner to co-develop more WIT-y games. Next project is putting Career Power online. Contact us to discuss ideas.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to my student team led by Chris Robeck as product manager along with Rebecca Annis, Xuan Zhang and Vichita Jienjitlert. Thanks to Bill Kules the supervising professor at University of Maryland for all his support.

Results:  Order Career Power nowTry it with your team or for on-boarding new members!  Send us feedback here.

Donate: Career Power is ready for production. To spread the word we’d like to use them at conferences. Help us raise funds to support this. Our goal is $5,000.  Donate now

Interventions: Making Teams Work

Mission: Improve the way people interact and participate in working meetings and in general. Ensure that all participate professionally and feel valued. Ensure emotional safety by creating practices that naturally limit bullying, conflict, and bias.

Volunteer Opportunity:  We need managers and product teams to try out our team techniques so we can all learn and improve. Volunteer to be part of the Living Lab for Team Techniques. to partner!

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to my students for trying out these techniques and to all the teams we coached at InContext for helping us learn the best techniques for working meeting.

Next Steps: Once we hone these techniques we will create Team Technique Cards to remind you of good practices. And we have about talks and workshops now. Contact us.

Donate: Please support our work by volunteering your team or company. But we also need funds for travel, researchers, data interpretation, and oversight. Help us show that we can make a difference.

@Work Experience Measure

Mission: Create a measure to help companies see how they are doing on the factors that help women in techthrive. Develop a tool to direct change to increase job satisfaction for female employees.

Volunteer Opportunity: We need companies to volunteer their employees to take the surevey. Please give us access to  several hundred tech employees with different job titles on different team. This will help us learn how the assessment differentiates within and across companies. Please sign up to help.

Collaborating Colleagues: Thanks to  Carol Farnsworth, Andreas Paepcke, and Nicola Marsden for their work on the survey. Thanks to the directors of the HCI masters programs for help findingn participants at University of MarylandGeorgia Tech, and CMU.

Next Steps: We will be sharing trends as we discover them. Then we will  run the survey twice a year.

Donate: to the survey fund. We need $20,000 to run another panel and analyze the data.

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