Unqork @ Work: Rathi Gnanasekaran

Go from meeting to meeting with Rathi Gnanasekaran, Director of Program Management at Unqork, and see how she spends her day.

As the Director of Program Management at Unqork, Rathi Gnanasekaran oversees three functional areas on the platform team—Program Management, Release Management, and Change & Incident Management. With her team of program managers, she is responsible for creating scalable and repeatable SDLC processes to help Unqork scale up and ensuring high-quality releases are delivered on time and on schedule. Managing all these moving parts keeps Rathi busy, but nobody knows how to multitask better than a working mother. Take a closer look at how Rathi spends her days:

6:30 AM: Mornings are always busy with a toddler. Getting my son to eat breakfast and getting him ready for daycare feels like a high-intensity workout every day. Our childcare situation has actually changed for the better since quarantine began! Earlier in the pandemic, we didn’t send our son to daycare, so up until November, my husband and I took shifts with him. Now, we’re on somewhat of a nine-to-five schedule where we drop him off at daycare and can focus on getting our work done during the day.

8:30 AM: After my husband and son head out, I eat breakfast and get ready for work. I usually just have toast and coffee, and I’ll catch up on some news while I eat. I try not to open my laptop right away because the minute you do, your Slack starts to fire off and the emails start to come in—then you’re in work mode. I like to take at least a few moments to create a to-do list that I need to accomplish/follow up on before I officially start my day.

I try not to open my laptop right away because the minute you do, your Slack starts to fire off and the emails start to come in—then you’re in work mode. I like to take at least a few moments to create a to-do list that I need to accomplish/follow up on before I officially start my day.

9:45 AM: I get ready for my first standup of the day. I review the current sprint to identify blockers and slow tickets that I want to discuss with the team. Every two weeks, we plan to accomplish a certain amount of work, and then the team executes on that sprint. We’ll have cross-functional teams—Product, Engineering, QA, Design, Analytics, and more—working together to complete something during a sprint, which ties into our release cycle nicely. We are mid-sprint right now, so I want to review active tickets (and any unassigned ones) to see if we need to make adjustments.

10:00 AM: I lead the standup with the Platform team to get updates on what everyone is working on. We review the items I’ve identified as impediments to sprint completion, review all in-progress tickets, and identify ways to finish these tickets so we can complete everything on time.

11:00 AM: I create a proof of concept (POC) to show all active roadmap projects in a single dashboard in Jira across all the teams within the broader Platform team. I meet with the leadership team to get their thoughts and ideas on what else can be incorporated into the dashboard.

12:00 PM: I receive an escalation to resolve a bug for a customer. I’ve created a framework for Unqork to help objectively categorize bugs by severity and priority to streamline triaging of bug tickets. We resolve the high-severity issues as quickly as possible, then tackle whichever issues are most valuable to our customers. After running the escalation through the framework, it comes out as P4-minor, so I let the requester know that we will be placing the issue in our backlog and we’ll address their issue as soon as we resolve all other high-priority bugs.

12:30 PM: My team and I meet with the QA, DevOps, and Production support teams to review all the tickets that are part of the upcoming production release. We identify all high-risk changes and determine whether any additional QA is required before release.

I’ve created a framework for Unqork to help objectively categorize bugs by severity and priority to streamline triaging of bug tickets. We resolve the high-severity issues as quickly as possible, then tackle whichever issues are most valuable to our customers.

1:30 PM: I finish up some odds and ends to get ready for the upcoming production release. I create a change management ticket with details of the release and create a DevOps release ticket that includes the release date and environment, tags, and the list of opt-out customers.

Sometimes, customers will have exception requests where they say, “We don’t want to take this release this time”—perhaps because they’re in their own blackout period or they’re doing maintenance in an application. That’s why we have the opt-out process. To ensure our customers are keeping up with important updates to the platform, we only allow them to opt-out of two releases in a row.

2:00 PM: My team and I are working on creating a global commitment list, which is essentially a new process for identifying, reporting, and tracking all commitments made in the sales process for the Unqork platform. I meet with stakeholders from different parts of the organization—Sales, Professional Services, DevOps, and more—to get an understanding of their processes and a list of the current commitments.

4:30 PM: I take a 20-minute walk to pick up my son from daycare. I really look forward to the walk because it gives me time to reflect on the day. I create mental to-dos and checklists of things to review at night.

 

Want to see some of Rathi's hard work in action? Watch our recent webinar exploring how Unqork enhances the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).  

5:30 PM: As soon as we get back, my son will eat his dinner and we catch up on his day. He will babble a couple of words about the things he did during the day and I ask him questions based on the notes and pictures I receive from daycare. When I ask him questions, he sometimes wonders how mom knows what he did that day! After his dinner, we play or read for a bit.

These days, he’s obsessed with three books that we read in rotation: Are You My Mother?, My First Book of Indian Gods and Goddesses, and My First Signs, which teaches the basics of sign language. He just loves those books. I give him a bath around 7:00 PM, then I put him to bed.

7:30 PM: It’s time for dinner with my husband. We started creating a weekly meal plan during the pandemic, and it has helped us better utilize our groceries and reduce daily stress around what to make for lunch or dinner. This week, we’re having rice and eggplant cooked with spices, pasta, red Thai curry, whole wheat roti with vegetables, and dosa. On Fridays, we generally grab takeout or have leftovers to give ourselves a break from cooking.

8:30 PM–10:00 PM: I follow up on any pending Slack messages or emails before getting ready for bed.

To hear more perspectives from other Unqorkers, check out the other entries in our Unqork @ Work series and our Creator Spotlights.

 
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