Ilógica is a consulting and digital agency with a strategic business vision. They started in Viña del Mar, and after three years, they moved to Santiago, a change to which the entire staff joined and their families. "Two days after moving, our biggest client (to give you an idea, it was practically half of Ilógica) announced to us that they would stop working with us to go to a bigger agency. It was a tough shock, but it helped the team to become much more united in the face of what was to come in the new offices", says Claudio Navarro, founder, and CTO.
Having overcome the challenge, they have managed to grow and develop important projects with regional scope. Not satisfied with that, in 2016, they were established as a company in Medellín, and one of their main future projects is to consolidate in Colombia as they have done in Chile. Today there are 34 people: 5 in Medellín and 29 in Santiago.
Claudio and Estefanía Cotrini (Country Manager Colombia) talked with us.
Get on Board: What is the day-to-day work at Ilógica like?
Estefania: The day starts early, at 8:30 in Chile, at 7 in Colombia. We like the idea of finishing with sunshine and having time for life after work. We like the team in Chile to have Colombian coffee, so we take advantage of every trip to bring back a good inventory of the best coffee.
At 12 o'clock the "active break" is sacred. We've had everything from yoga and meditation classes to synchronized swimming and Zumba. The team has all the freedom and is in charge of greasing each other's bones in the most creative ways. At lunchtime, we all get together in the kitchen, the pool, or the courtyard, especially in the fall season. After lunch, it is common to see teams playing foosball or enjoying an ice cream by the pool.
Claudio: Although we have physical offices in both countries, you can work remotely whenever you want. That has pushed us to explore ways to facilitate teamwork, regardless of people's location.
Doing a good job remotely has been an issue and facilitating collaborative activities through a screen has been a constant challenge. We still don't have the recipe, but along the way, we have been improving and adapting. Now, when you have to travel, you have to travel; even if we have a good relationship with technology, there is nothing like having a beer in person and moving a real post-it, with the whole team in person.
G: How do you communicate and exchange information?
Claudio: As communication is the most horizontal thing we have, we don't get complicated with the forms. Normally, mass communication is done through Slack and video calls; as we always live in remote mode, we depend a lot on these tools.
For more tactical issues we have thematic meetings, so there is collaborative work between team leaders, designers, developers, or content and UX enthusiasts, to name a few. What is discussed there is then open to the rest of the team.
In terms of "ceremonies", Friday breakfasts, which are always accompanied by an ilogicharla, are another good opportunity to transmit announcements or ideas that are in process, taking advantage of the opportunity to receive feedback and ideas for improvement. While at the same time we are gobbling down an arepa/completo/waffles/fajita or whatever. We make an important effort to promote healthy breakfasts, but the fat wins more often, haha.
Estefania: We believe that team trust is a fundamental factor for communication to flow transparently between Ilógicos. That's why we always try to look for spaces at least once a month where we build relationships between teams with activities outside of work. Don't ask me why, but some of the best conversations and ideas to solve any kind of problem in the workplace have come from spaces where the team feels more comfortable and relaxed.
G: What is your current technology stack?
Claudio: As development technologies: Ruby, Node.js, PHP, Swift, Kotlin, Python. We build on Amazon and Google Cloud.
Day-to-day tools: Slack, Appear, Gitlab, Basecamp, Sketch, Invision, Zeplin, Lookback, Typeform, RealtimeBoard.
G: What attributes do you value the most when hiring a person?
Claudio: Mainly a good cultural fit, although we have clear requirements from a technical point of view for each profile, that match and the potential of a good fit in terms of attitude, values, and beliefs usually weigh more when hiring.
Estefania: It sounds obvious but we care about having good people in the team. We want happy teams and happy counterparts and we know that a person's joy, enthusiasm, and passion are contagious and permeates a person's perception of quality of life. If you are pro, passionate, and an excellent person, we want you with us for sure.
"You can arrive one day as an intern, then lead a team, a project, a methodology, open a commercial operation in another country..."
G: How does someone grow professionally in Ilógica? In what things can you notice that they have evolved?
Estefanía: Ilógica gives you wings...you decide how high you want to fly. We will accompany you and stimulate your growth with projects that are along the same lines.
You can arrive one day as an intern, then lead a team, a project, a methodology, open a commercial operation in another country, be the leader of a branch, be an international speaker, work part-time for ilógica to be able to meet the rest of the day with your busy schedule of events... We love to see people grow, even if that means that tomorrow they will be on the other side of the world.
Claudio: Estefania came on exchange from Manizales (Colombia) to Ilógica Chile during 2015, lived our culture, led giant projects and with that experience she returns to her country to lead Ilógica in Colombia. Daniela on the other hand was the one who articulated our business relationships, contacted half of Colombia, facilitated events and workshops and today leads very interesting projects and initiatives from Medellin.
"We take care of that eternal reflection on the balance between life and work".
G: How do you communicate with each other and make important decisions?
Claudio: Important decisions about projects are made by the teams themselves, there is autonomy in that. Those that affect us all, usually with the management team and project leaders or in collaborative spaces, such as what we called "ilogilab", which was an instance of co-creation of solutions for the pains we experience as a company, so that whoever wanted/can correct those pains could take it.
G: What makes Ilógica's work environment different from others you have known?
Claudio: Things are not written in stone, we are open to change and we like to constantly rethink things, including how we ourselves do our work. While we have grown, we still have startup DNA (with all the good and bad that implies).
Another thing that is very strong in our team is a nerd ingredient: we are very much into participating in communities (design, technology, etc.), we put a lot of strength into it and we encourage the illogical ones to take the time to do it.
There is also an important resistance to "selling smoke", to getting involved in bids/projects that don't look good or are unfocused, or in those many practices and vices of this industry that, although they may sound commercially juicy, sooner or later they pay off.
And besides, we really like to live life, have a good time and we take care of that eternal reflection on the balance between life and work. In this line, we have breakfasts, active breaks, internal talks, participation in local and international events, remote work, daily study hours and access to study material, internal workshops, and even the space in the offices that are highly valued even by our children (human and doggy) who from time to time walk around here.
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