Rethinking the concept of corporate management

Business Agile Management and Design thinking approach

By Walter Abrigo & Celeste Torresi

A new tendency is emerging in which software project management techniques and principles are taken outside of the IT world and applied to other forms of business. This is the idea behind Agile methodologies and design thinking.

Agile methodologies were first introduced in the ‘90s as a backlash against the strict and structured methodologies that existed at the time that were based on the Cascade model.

Specific cultural factors carry a lot of weight in being able to successfully implement Agile methodologies. Although Agile teams, projects, and individuals exist outside of the IT world, a change in mentality is required for those businesses that want to be completely Agile.

The concept of design thinking began at Stanford University in the ‘70s, where the concept was used to analyze and solve complex problems collectively by focusing on the viability and feasibility of ideas and putting people at the center of observation.

This theoretic framework implies that organizations should forget structured responses when tackling problems, and instead address them in a new way with an innovative solution.

The reality of businesses

Corporate processes help ensure that managers and directors make appropriate financial and management decisions to lead their teams effectively and control deliverables and quality produced in the final products.

 However, such processes can quickly become strict and rigid, centralizing all of the authority and information of a project or business. Such aspects are contrasted in the Agile Manifesto, which indicates that value should be places on: people and interactions related to processes and tools; complete client requirements with documentation; client collaboration in negotiating contracts; and response to change regarding concrete plans.

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An organization that aims to adapt itself to the changing needs of its clients requires an organizational structure that is as efficient as it is functional. An Agile organization meets these needs by reducing hierarchies and minimizing excess communication, creating autonomous groups that are interdisciplinary and transverse.

Our Focus

In conjuncture with our formal and conventional structure, Santex built an Agile framework from which three teams are formed to manage the core processes of the company: Sales, Human Capital, and Development, These teams work collaboratively to achieve common objectives.

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This demonstrates how Agile methodologies can be limited not only to development teams, but can be applied throughout the entire organization as a vehicle for improving the company as a whole.

Furthermore, maintaining the quality parameters of CMMI and ISO norms as a reference, we strive to reduce inefficiencies and obstacles with daily and weekly meetings, backlogs, and metrics.

This enables us to achieve extraordinary results for the three critical processes in the company. In examining our client relationships, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that we earned during Q2 of 2016 is 87.5. Our rate or retention for clients and collaborators so far this year is 91.21%, and our development processes have achieved an efficiency rating of 85.3%, with an annual improvement of 12% this year.


With special emphasis on our clients and aspiring to add value to every project from start to finish, Santex creates prototypes and project models with diverse technical content and close attention to detail. We try to observe the client and put ourselves in their shoes, brainstorming and testing different ideas to create the best possible solution for them internally and externally.

Overall, we concentrate our everyday management on the concept of continuous and incremental improvement while simultaneously forging space for creativity and innovative proposals with each project. Our three core competencies are applied throughout our organizational culture to reinforce the implementation of these concepts: effective communication, flexibility, and result-oriented performance.


Manuel Varela has worked as a Java Developer at Santex for almost a year now. He is passionate about hiking and discovering new places.


  • When did your passion for trekking start?

I think I was 15 years old. I lived all my childhood in Rio de los Sauces (a village in the Valle de Calamuchita – Córdoba) and for a few years my dad was a wildlife ranger in the region. He protected the trout from the area against poachers. I used to go with him sometimes and take long walks along the shores of rivers. That woke in me something I had never felt before, “the pleasure of enjoying nature in its pure state”.

My first outing was at 18 with two friends. We went to the “Hidden Village” at the base of Cerro Aspero.

It’s part of a mining complex that began its operations in the late 19th century and was abandoned in the mid-twentieth century, leaving most of the facilities and machinery intact and even some of the tunnels open.

I highly recommend for people to go. It’s hard to get to by car, but you can leave the car a few miles before and just walk :)

  • What was the most challenging adventure you undertook?

The most challenging trip I took was a couple of years ago in Patagonia, Argentina. I went with 3 friends to tour the early stages of the “Andean footprint“,  a path linking the different lakes of various national parks in Patagonia, near the town of San Martin de los Andes in Neuquén.

The trip lasted a week, crossing the trails within the Lanin National Park. Everyday we were moving places, walking between 10 and 15 km per day carrying all our luggage on our backs. Our backpacks weighed about 20kg each, considering that we had a tent, sleeping bags, food, water and clothing among other things needed to survive that week.

The adventure was unforgettable! The landscapes were incredible. During the trip, we went through different sights like the base of the Lanin volcano (whose peak is covered with snow all year), vast forests of native trees (such as Araucaria), rivers and lakes with absolutely crystal clear waters, rivers petrified by volcanic lava and we even walked for several miles in of volcanic ash, which made walking challenging.

  • What would you recommend to someone who wants to start trekking?

You don’t need to be an expert or be physically fit or have the latest tech equipment for trekking. You just need have desire to have a good time outdoors walking around and be very curious to discover new places.

I would recommend you start walking through parks and green areas around your city with a backpack, water, and some healthy snacks (like fruit, for example).

If that you like it, you can contact one of the groups that organizes hikes on the weekends. Here in Cordoba, for example, I know of at least 10 groups that organize trekking trips around the area to spend the day and with a low level of difficulty so that everyone can do it.

As for equipment, it is important to invest in good shoes, and secondly a good backpack that fits your body.


Manuel and his friends camping at the base of Lanin, at the Huechulafquen lake.

  • Where would you like to go next?

In the near future I plan to go with a friend to Quebrada del Condorito National Park for 2 weeks.

In the long term, I would like to continue with the stages of the “Huella Andina”. I want to continue with the trails southbound of San Martin de los Andes to reach the Nahuel Huapi National Park until I can complete it someday (there are 24 stages).


  • Trekking is a very relaxing activity. It takes you out of the noise and fast pace of the city to meet in a quiet place with pure, fresh air. It clears your head of your problems.

  • A great book to read as inspiration is “Into the Wild”. It tells the story of a young American who was fed up with society and materialism decided to donate all his money and start traveling through the U.S. living in an abandoned bus.


LORENZO SAUCHELLI – PHP and Front-End Developer at Santex


  • Is Lucero del Alba your first novel? Have you written anything else?

Well, it’s my first novel in quite a while, and it’s also the first one I intend to actually publish once it’s done.

When I was younger I used to spend most of my day writing (either in Spanish or English, whatever fit my mood at the moment). I wrote and completed one fantasy novel, started others that I never finished, in addition to several short stories.

I have to admit that I have recently re-read a few of my older stories and figuratively puked. My writing back then wasn’t all that good. It wasn’t bad. But I certainly thought I was better than I actually was. I hope I have grown since then and that my current stuff is actually good and not just ‘good’ in my opinion.

  • What is the novel about?

Lucero del Alba is a fantasy story about two girls who, when their parents send them to camp for the duration of their summer break, get lost in another world. One of these girls finds a strange-looking morningstar – basically a warhammer with spikes. Soon they realize the world they’re stuck in is not exactly Lord of the Rings, but a kind of prison-world for all the supernatural monsters that roamed through the ages. One of these monsters is responsible for bringing them there and intends to use them so they can break out of this supernatural prison.

  • How long have you been writing it?

I started it four years ago, plotted it, wrote some scenes, created characters and the rules of the world. However, I didn’t touch it for all of many years until recently, when I dusted off my rusty writing skills and notes and decided to go ahead and write the whole thing.

  • What inspired you to write it?

Dreams, movies, cartoons, books. Everything inspires me. I don’t think there was any one particular thing that inspired me and made me say, “Yes, that’s going to be my book!”

For instance, the concept of a girl lost in a strange fantasy world perhaps came from “Labyrinth”, which was a favorite of mine as a kid. The concept of the snarky girl protagonist came from Daria. The rest… it just gets foggy in my mind. A lot of it is inspired by stuff I wrote when I was younger: there’s this creature that’s a hulking monstrosity and it has cobras coming off its back, and it has a mask that covers its face completely. It’s my rendition of a gorgon. I wrote about this monster when I was 15, and I decided to recycle the idea into this novel, because I like how it looks in my mind’s eye.

For a while, before I finally decided to write it as a novel, I wanted to make this story into a videogame, “Battle Wizard Morningstar”. A lot of the ideas I have written in the current iteration of the novel come from this ‘gaming’ phase. I had some character models and everything set up, but discovered that the time needed to make a game is completely different from the time needed to write a novel. You can write a novel if you dedicate some fifteen minutes a day to it, but you need several hours every single day if you want to make a game.

When I finally decided that I was not making a game, but a novel instead, I started writing in English, with the working title of “Morningstar”. I thought that it would have a better chance of finding readers if it was written in English. However soon I scratched that idea and translated everything back to Spanish, and consequently it became “Lucero del Alba” again.

I will probably write it in English sooner or later, but for now I’m focusing on finishing it in Spanish.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

There are way too many to make a list. But the ones I like to read and re-read quite often are probably Borges, Tolkien, Hemingway, Doyle, Christie, and a few others.

Currently I’m a fan of Max Landis, a writer who has an amazing ability to pitch incredible stories in the blink of an eye. He’s also behind two of my favorite short movies of all time: “The Death and Return of Superman” and “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling”. He also wrote “Chronicle”, a fantastic story about kids who gain telekinetic powers.

  • What’s your dream as a writer?

To publish my book and have people I know read it and tell me what they think. Does it suck? Is it good? Did you like that thing that happened in the sixth chapter? I want to have this conversation with people in real life.

After that? I will hopefully start another novel right after the first one is complete.

You can read some of Lorenzo’s work here

QA, A Misunderstood Role

By Gabriela Chaves – QA Analyst at Santex

Why it is important to fully understand the role and it’s benefits


If you have been close to the software development process, chances are that you have experienced working on agile projects where it is common to conduct a small waterfall model in which the QA runs tests on late stages of development or perhaps there’s no QA assigned at all. In my experience, I find that this reveals only a slight notion of what a QA does and the impact his or her work has on an agile project. I believe it’s beneficial to share deeper insight on the responsibilities of this position.

The QA applies an analytical mindset throughout the complete process with this concept in mind:

“Are we building the right product, and, if so, are we building it correctly?”

A person in this role is someone who constantly questions all parts of the development process to ensure the team is producing the desired output. Kenny Cruden indicates this in his article “The QA Role – What Is It Really?” It is also referenced in international quality norms and standards such as ISO 9000 and CMMI dev with the name “Verification and Validation”.

Adding detail to the already known activities, a QA also thoroughly analyzes the product to be developed, and from sprint zero starts suggesting improvements and changes, polishing unclear aspects, detecting possible discrepancies and bugs, and bringing attention to items that may have been overlooked, with the aim of avoiding issues before they come up. Working side by side with Business Analysts and Developers, a QA and his or her team will not only develop an usable product, but they will also deliver one that suits the client’s needs. By constantly keeping in mind the business and the user perspectives, the QA helps build a better, stronger, and more reliable product, resulting in a satisfied customer and a greater appreciation for the company’s work.

There’s an internal benefit as well as Stephanie Dedhar points out in her article “Six irresistible benefits of real quality assurance.”

‘A focus on QA helps to develop a culture of continuous improvement. Colleagues will help each other develop, challenging things and preventing complacency setting in and leading to carelessness. In my experience, high standards are infectious – if one or two members of the team set the right example and pick up even the littlest things, these good habits will spread and you’ll develop a true QA culture.’

From all of this we can infer that the work performed by quality control specialists has a bigger impact than assumed by the people outside the project, providing an increase in quality and helping make the client happy with the end results. It can also be noted that starting the work early as previously described can result in increased client satisfaction and a reduction of rework, in turn reducing the total costs of the project.

About the Author – Gabriela Chaves is an experienced QA Analyst at Santex,  passionate about her work. Great analytical skills and quick learner.


Kenny Cruden –

Stephanie Dedhar –

The Concorde Fallacy

By Annett Koegler, Co-founder at Santex

Why we finish movies we aren’t enjoying, stay in bad relationships, hold on to investments that are underperforming.


When you lose something permanently, it hurts.

In order to avoid this negative feeling we do irrational things. You probably have been to a restaurant and ordered something terrible, but you ate it anyway. You didn’t want to waste the money, so you suffered through it. Or you went to a concert even though you did not feel like or something else was more interesting. You still went in order to justify spending money you knew you could never get back. If you can identify with any of these stories, you fell victim to the sunk cost fallacy, also known as the Concorde fallacy.

The Concorde was a joint development program of the British and French governments that continued when the economic benefits of the project were no longer possible. It was designed to be a supersonic passenger aircraft but its lasting legacy resides mostly in game theory, where it has been adopted as a description of irrational behavior.

image-concorde presentation

The fallacy is known for valuing a project based on how much you’ve invested, its “sunk costs”, rather than on its real present value.

If its value is negative and future costs outweigh future benefits, you should abandon it, regardless of how much you’ve already invested. No decision can influence what you’ve already spent, and only future costs and benefits should be allowed to affect decisions.

It is difficult to overcome our own irrationality, we take general good rules and misapply them. We tend think of money we’ve already lost as being ‘still on the table,’ and if only we increase the commitment, we could get it back. To leave would force us to admit our mistake and deal with the cost.

“Pride goeth before destruction” - Proverbs 16:18


One explanation is the reward that is placed to fall pray of the fallacy by our institutions. In politics for example we do not pay the price for being wrong individually, since not one person decides the election. We usually make voting decisions that are biased and ill-informed. Unlike politics, the market does often punish those who fall for the sunken cost fallacy. Companies are rewarded for overcoming people’s biases, while vote-seeking politicians are rewarded for gratifying them.

Another explanation is loss aversion. From a psychological point most people prefer to keep their losses low, even if it means enduring a bad experience.

We humans are unique. We like to hang on to investments that we know are going to fail, in an effort to recuperate the money already invested.

We stay in careers that make us unhappy, since we are already with the company for 10 years and it has to get better as some point.

We don’t realize that the time and money you’ve sunk is irrelevant, because it is a backward looking decisions.

The exact reasons why people pay attention to sunk costs are not clear, but the smartest choice is most likely to walk away and cut your losses, something most are not will to do. Our decisions should be for the future and not for justifying the past.

“After a crisis we tell ourselves we understand why it happened and maintain the illusion that the world is understandable. In fact, we should accept the world is incomprehensible much of the time.’” -Daniel Kahneman

About the Author – Annett Koegler is the co-founder of Santex. Former web developer and now managing the global financial affairs of Santex. Growing up in Communist East Germany, building a company in the United States, Argentina and Peru, and living across multiple continents, her life is far from basic. If you can’t find her behind her desk or on the next airplane, she is running, paddle boarding or exploring some undiscovered parts of this world.

5 WWDC ’16 Announcements Every Software Development Company Needs to Know

By Coleman Miller – iOS Developer at Santex


Apple made a lot of announcements last month in its annual World Wide Developer Conference, and introduced the latest versions of its operating systems and developer tools. Here is a breakdown of the most important announcements that will affect software development companies moving forward.

1. SiriKit

In my opinion, this is the most sought-after functionality developers and clients alike have requested over the years. Well, its finally here. Apple is providing a public API so third parties can develop iOS extensions that trigger in response to Siri. The only drawback is that it is limited to the following categories:

  • Audio or video calling
  • Messaging
  • Payments
  • Searching photos
  • Workouts
  • Ride booking

In addition to these new features, its worth mentioning that Siri already supports automotive control features with CarPlay, and HomeKit has allowed allowed Home Automation with Siri since iOS 8. This new API is going to help usher in a wave of innovation and new categories of mobile apps we haven’t seen before. It will also greatly improve the UX of existing apps like Uber and WhatsApp.

2. Swift 3

Although this should be #1 on this list, I believe Swift will bring more changes to software industry in the long term, but short term, Swift 3.0 is a huge improvement from 2.3. One of the biggest breaking changes is Apple adding “Swift Overlays” to its frameworks (some of which were originally written in Objective-C in the 90s) to make Swift a first-class citizen for iOS development. Another breaking change that will affect every single iOS app (with any Swift code), is the move by Apple to forgo classes in favor of structs and value types in its Foundation framework. This is more than a simple API change, it’s in fact, a huge paradigm change for current Apple Developers and programmers coming from other languages like Java, C#, and JavaScript. C developers should feel at home though. Unlike last year, Apple is letting developers chose between Swift 3.0 and Swift 2.3 for publishing apps to the App Store, so developers can take their time migrating to the new version of Swift.

3. Home App

When HomeKit was announced in iOS 8, it took a while for companies to make their existing IoT products HomeKit-compatible. Fast forward 2 years, and now HomeKit is a first-class citizen of iOS, even shipping a beautiful `` on your home screen. HomeKit’s goal is the unification of IoT and Home Automation products by adopting an Apple-defined protocol so they can easily talk to each other. This allows you to control the lights in your house via Siri, and setup home automation rules (Apple calls them “Scenes”) similar to what IFTTT does with apps. While Apple has accomplished this goal protocol-wise (by providing both HTTP and Bluetooth variations of its HomeKit Accessory Protocol to encompass all manner of devices), besides the Siri integration, Apple provided no user interface for HomeKit, and on the app side, that experience was fragmented. With the new Home app, centralized home automation is easier than ever, and you won’t need to download the specific third-party apps for each HomeKit accessory you purchase. This should boost HomeKit’s popularity and demand with hardware developers.

4. WatchOS GPU-accelerated Games

WatchOS is in a special category of iOS development due to the lack of native APIs like OpenGL and UIKit. While most attribute the App Store’s success to the proliferation of mobile games, that innovation and boom would have not been possible had the iPhone only allowed Web apps like Steve Jobs originally planned. Due to the issue of battery life, the Apple Watch provides a very limited API for native apps, in fact, its more limited then making an average website. One way Apple wants to lure developers to its WatchOS platform is by allowing them to make OpenGL accelerated 2D and 3D games with its SpriteKit and SceneKit frameworks. Since this is what many developers have asked for since day one, it will promote a boom of WatchOS games, like we see on the iOS and tvOS platforms. One drawback is the fact that those platforms can use OpenGL and natively port their code from Android, to iOS. WatchOS game developers will have to rewrite their rendering code for Apple’s platform.

5. Message and Map Extensions

With the introduction of iOS extensions in iOS 8, Apple has allowed third party apps to embed a part of their app in Apple’s stock apps (e.g. Contacts, Photos) and other third party apps. Now in iOS 10, developer’s can write extensions for the Message and Map stock apps. This will allow users to use apps like Uber and Yelp in the stock `` without having to switch between contexts. The Message extensions allow all manner of custom content in the stock iOS messaging app, again, allowing for a new category of mobile apps.

About the AuthorColeman Miller is an experienced iOS Developer at Santex,  passionate about his work.  Coleman is continuously learning and training to investigate new technologies.

Key ingredient to success: being stuck with lazy workers

By Annett Koegler, Co-founder at Santex, Mentor at Incutex

We all remember at least one of those moments when traffic seemed to be backed up for no reason. When you finally pass through the cause for all of this commotion, you find a small road construction. One worker is digging furiously in the hole and three or four coworkers are chatting and watching on. What follows next is the classic car conversation, “Really, do they need that big of a ‘mental’ support team?”road-closed-excused-from-work-300x289 (1)

Let’s look a little further, at your office. How many coworkers do you know that hardly ever work while you run behind from one meeting after the other, from one deadline after the other? They seem to have endless time talking to others about life, drinking coffee, and staying up-to-date on Facebook.

It turns out that we are not alone – the same scenarios happen in the insect world. To be precise, in ant colonies, according to Eisuke Hasegawa, a professor at Hokkaido University in Japan.

On average about fifty percent of ants are absolutely doing nothing. They’re resting, grooming, or walking around.

How can colonies with such inefficiency survive and thrive? However, Hasegawa’s study, which was published in February 2016 in Nature, shows that colonies with a significant percentage of inactive workers are actually more resilient. They benefit from a reserve workforce to replace tired worker ants.

“In insect colonies, some tasks are considered to be so critical that they must be performed continuously. Once a catastrophic disaster happens, all active workers are to become completely fatigued simultaneously, so that no tasks can be processed by these active workers. If there are no inactive workers, no worker could engage in such crucial tasks, resulting in serious damage to the survival of the colony. However, if there are sufficient numbers of inactive workers with very high thresholds for task stimuli, they are capable of performing those crucial tasks when all active workers become completely fatigued due to the disaster. Then, the colony is effectively buffered from experiencing such dangerous conditions. Thus, colonies with a high proportion of inactive workers are likely to persist considerably longer than those without such a ‘failsafe’ system, even though the short-term productivity of such colonies becomes much lower than those with no inactive workers.”

This can also be applied to humans if we use the inefficiency as a backup power. A wise person once told me, if you want your project to be done on time and the most efficiently, give it to the laziest member in the team.


In today’s culture, we value work that is done fast, but is it better?  You receive an important email in your mailbox and you want to answer it right away to show how productive and fast you are. How many times have you reread that email later and thought of all the things you forgot to add?

Thoughts and analyses need time, and for that we have to slow down, focus, and gain perspective. Otherwise we burn out and won’t have an inactive “ant” there to help us.

And in the case of the construction site, maybe you do need 4 workers to dig that hole. Imagine having to dig for hours to repair the problem and put the hole back together… alone, in 90F heat and no shade…

About the Author – Annett Koegler is the co-founder of Santex. Former web developer and now managing the global financial affairs of Santex. Growing up in Communist East Germany, building a company in the United States, Argentina and Peru, and living across multiple continents, her life is far from basic. If you can’t find her behind her desk or on the next airplane, she is running, paddle boarding or exploring some undiscovered parts of this world.

Creating a Work/Life Balance as a Female Tech Executive

In celebration of Women’s History Month, March 2016, we sat down with Co-Founder and CFO of Santex, Annett Koegler. Growing up in Communist East Germany, eventually pursuing a career and starting a company in the United States, and raising a family across multiple continents, Annett’s life has been far from basic. Here she shares with us her perspective on being a female executive in the tech industry and balancing its demands with family life.

Jennifer Eckley:  To start, please tell us a bit about your story about how you first became interested in technology.

IMG_2152Annett Koegler: Back home in Germany, I was studying International Business Management in a 4-year program, part of which involved traveling to work for a company. Having spent a year in the U.S. as an au pair after high school, I was excited when they gave me an internship at a small bank in Sacramento, California. Little did I know that this company didn’t have experience hiring interns! I arrived, and the manager told me, “Well, we don’t know what to do with an intern, but we have this software that we purchased and we don’t know what to do with it. Maybe you can figure it out!” So he gave me the massive manual for this mapping software that tracked data from customers, and I started reading through… and I liked it! The information just clicked naturally with me. Within two weeks I’d figured the software out and it really helped the company. I was so excited that I went back to Germany and found someone who could teach me how to program and use HTML code.

I’d met Juan [Santiago, CEO of Santex] during the student exchange, and we agreed to go back to the U.S. He wanted to pursue his own business idea, but it was the late ‘90’s and he found that a lot of his clients wanted websites. So he came to me and asked me to build them! So I learned as I went and found it really fun, and that’s how Santex was born.

JE: What challenges have you faced transitioning from software developer to owner of a company to CFO?

AK: The challenges have been almost constant from the beginning. Everything I’ve done for the company is kind of from ground zero, up, and I’ve learned a lot on the way. When I became pregnant with our first child, Farahn, Juan had the idea to hire developers in Argentina, so I’d be able to spend more time with the family. This also helped us take on a greater workload and gain more clients. During that time I became more of a Project Manager to coordinate work between Argentina and the U.S. and monitor project timelines. Then with our second child, Johan, I “retired” for a couple of years to focus on raising the kids. Afterward, I was anxious to go back to work to expand myself personally and intellectually and learn new skills. But I quickly realized that being out of technology for four years is a lifetime! So much had changed. I realized that with the family, I couldn’t dedicate myself full time to the work and meet important deadlines, so we re-evaluated where I could provide the most help. And I made the full circle back to the business management I’d been studying and took on the role of CFO. Having been with Santex from day one, I know it as if it were my child, so I feel like I can see what it needs.

JE: I remember you telling me when I first entered the company that stress can be a good thing, and that you do some of your best work under stress. Can you expand upon that point?

AK: When you stand in front of something and don’t know where it’ll take you because you can’t see the road ahead, that’s a stressful situation… but that’s where creativity comes in. I don’t like everyday to be the same with the same routine. When that happens, things are clearly working, but you’re not creating anymore or being challenged. Stress can be nice because it pushes you beyond your comfort zone.

JE: Have you noticed any challenges particularly related to gender?

AK: I don’t know that any of them have been specifically because I’m a woman. For me, I don’t think it’s been any real advantage or disadvantage. When meeting with clients, I’ve never felt that I haven’t been taken seriously simply because of my gender. In the early years of the company, I noticed a certain respect was automatically given because I knew about technology, which impressed people.

JE: In working across countries and cultures, have you noticed different ways in which female executives are treated?

AK: There is a difference most definitely. I feel the most equally treated in Lima and Cordoba for who I am and what I do. In the U.S., I’ve observed other women executives needing to be extra aggressive to get noticed or treated as equals to their male counterparts. Female programmers stereotypically had to look more “nerdy” from my perspective. Those images needs to be portrayed so as not to be misunderstood. Women are so concerned about the stereotype that it can become consuming. In South America I don’t feel that way. Women celebrate being women and express themselves as such in business and in private.

JE: Have you ever had issues sharing ownership of the company with a male executive?

IMG_2635-2_FotorAK: I think the key is finding a person who is compatible with who you are and what you do. With Juan, I’ve been really lucky that our areas of expertise complement each other. Even as my responsibilities changed, he did a really great job keeping me in the loop with the company so I never lost touch with what was happening. I’d come back and it was as if I’d never left! I think if we were working and competing in the same area of the company, that might make things different. But our work is compatible.

JE: Was balancing motherhood with a growing career a challenge?

AK: Part of being a woman is the nurturing instinct, and many women are forced to leave careers to focus on family. I had a choice, which was very liberating to me as a woman. Not everyone gets that. I’ve had the flexibility to dedicate time to both my kids and work, which has worked out really well.

JE: You have both a young son and daughter. What have you told them about pursuing their dreams and/or owning a business?

AK: Juan and I want to sell the business before our kids are old enough to get into it, so that they can start something of their own! We don’t want Santex to be a traditional family business. I want the kids to be able to pursue their own interests.

Right now, Farahn’s dream is owning a horse ranch. What does that mean for her future? I don’t know! But I don’t want to pressure her into any one direction. Kids should be kids and be out playing in nature. The pressure will come soon enough. I want them to be happy, they don’t need to make Juan or me happy. If I’ve achieved that as a mother, then I’ll be happy!

Santex’ Women in Tech

In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Santex asked a few of our prominent female engineers about their experience being a “woman in technology.” Each one has her own perspective, but together women like Jimena, Gabriela, and Ashley are fostering greater opportunities for women in the tech industry.

What led you to pursue a career in software engineering?

JImena-2Jimena: Since I was very young, I used to go to my dad’s office, who had always been working in the IT industry and I really enjoyed that time with him, pretending to be part of that environment. Also at home, I admired the conversations between my dad and my brother about Engineering and Math and wished I could be part of them someday. Later on, I loved to spend time on the web so I did some research about the majors available at my city’s university and finally found Systems Engineering, which end up being much better than I expected!

Gabriela: I entered this world through gaming. It’s not something I planned since I was little though. After trying several different jobs I started testing games and I found this place was a good fit for me. I love technology and I felt I could project myself and grow as a professional. Since this is an ever-growing area, I feel excited being part of new developments that might shape the future.

Ashley: My father worked in IT since his early years. He was born and raised in San Francisco and when he was a teenager he met a guy that showed him one of the very first computers. He started working in the IT business when he was still finishing school. My house was always literally filled with computers; old ones that did not work that he was trying to fix, and the new ones he would buy as soon as they were out in the market. When I was 10 he gave me a book with small programming exercises for kids: something like, “Quick Basics for Kids,” and it was something that we would work on together.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced as a woman in tech?

Jimena: I’ve had many challenges at work, but I don’t consider them to be because I’m a woman. The only thing I can think off is… given the fact that we have to work with people around the world, sometimes I’ve faced some cultural barriers that were then knocked down after a few times working together.
Since we are a minority in the industry, I believe we are welcome to offer a fresh perspective to the business. I think that teams with the best results are those that draw multiple approaches, including ours!

gabriela-2Gabriela: I haven’t had technical difficulties and the road has been pretty straightforward in that aspect. One thing I would mention is that working in an environment where a high percentage of the employees are men, I’ve had always worked with good people and have always been treated well by my co-workers. But what sometimes can be challenging is tolerating sexist comments that are commonly said as jokes. There’s a persistent stereotype that women aren’t capable of logical thinking while the reality proves that we are just as capable as men. That notion luckily is slowly fading away from the cultural mind. I believe we will get to a point where your gender won’t matter, only your knowledge and abilities will.

Ashley: I am not sure I can say I’ve faced challenges for being a woman. The only thing that was hard was getting through college. Some male teachers were very “open” about showing their dislike for females in their classes. But luckily that was the exception and not the rule. When I started working, at the age of 21, I discovered that there were a lot of other women in IT and that we were treated the same as the men. My bosses and partners have always been very friendly, polite and respectful.

What advice would you give to young girls wanting to enter the tech world?

Jimena: One of the best parts of working in IT is the whole range of vacancies within the tech sector offering a wide variety of opportunities available for women to challenge themselves in different ways.
My best advice is 1. Never stop learning – everything changes so fast and we need to always be prepared if we want to be prevalent in this industry. 2.Take risks – it may feel awkward in the beginning, but it starts to feel natural at some point. Try different areas, clients, projects, until you find the position that you love!

Gabriela: One thing I particularly love about this career is building things and then seeing them working. It’s a fantastic feeling! I would advise young girls to follow your passion, never listen to discouraging comments and think big, REALLY BIG! Anything can be achieved with hard work and imagination. All we learn in this career are just tools to give shape to our ideas. Imagination is a big part of what we do and is what we also call ‘thinking outside the box’. Never let go of that thinking!

ashley-2Ashley: I would tell them that getting their college degree is probably one of the hardest parts but they should never give up. Fortunately, in this business, it is possible to work and study.
And then, it is also important to continue studying after getting the degree. Technology changes everyday, the business changes everyday and in order to be a good professional, it is important that you keep up to date on the latest frameworks, languages, and tools.

12 Tools To Improve Management Skills

By Walter Abrigo, Managing Director at Santex


Aligned with the old concept of Continuous Improvement, among the most common managerial skills, are some aptitudes that should be put into play day to day every time you try to achieve an objective through the work of others. For example:

  • Plan
  • Implement
  • Evaluate
  • Learn (reformulate, adapt, standardize)

Although this cycle holds much truth, today’s reality presents important differences when compared to the past. The following among others:

  • Before what took months actually takes days, hours.
  • Before, steps were consecutive. Now they overlap.
  • The amount of affective variables are of a superior class than in the past.
  • The idea of this article is to present 12 tools that help us better record and follow the significant variables in the development of these skills, so as to alleviate day-to-day burdens.

a) Tools that will up us PLAN:

A Compass
So we don’t begin any activity without clearly knowing where we want to go or what we aim to validate. And to ensure that said activity is aligned with our mission.

To make processes easier and to cut or eliminate any step that does not add value. This allows us to question and eliminate tasks that don’t make sense.

To remind us that sometimes our plans are affected by random events that we cannot control nor prevent, iterating that adaptability in the face of uncertainty is a critical skill.

b) Tools that help us IMPLEMENT

These allow us to see straight ahead and not to the sides (toward other difficulties) so we direct all our energy toward the result.  This enables to reach extreme deadlines more efficiently.

A Stationary Bike
So we achieve maximum agility in day-to-day management – from having short, effective follow-up meetings that add value to establishing high-impact policies in record time.

To amplify all that we hear, enabling us to listen empathetically to our daily conversations, especially those involving disagreements. Searching to understand before being understood can reveal key information for overcoming differences.

c) Tools that help us EVALUATE

A Clock
So we don’t finalize any critical activity or validation of proposals without having measurements, without having a quantitative result that permits us to compare, analyze, and discuss facts rather than perceptions or interpretations.

A Filter
To help us in the judgments we make everyday. To help us separate intentions from the people who committed a certain action and to make visible our own negative contributions before finding fault in others.

A Magnifying Glass
So we may see beyond the surface and find relationships between variables that may be hard to detect with the naked eye. So we may find those little variables that have a big impact on the end result.

d) Tools that help us LEARN

An Hourglass
To know that the integral development of a person takes time. It is sacred land and improvements may be incremental. Not everything improves at once. It’s like a plant: you have to plan the seed and tend to it before you can cultivate its fruits.

An Alarm
That sounds every time:

  • Before tying processes to people (collaborators, clients, providers, bosses, colleagues, activists, our families, etc.).
  • Instead of being hard headed toward problems and nice to people, we act in the reverse.

A Gong
To remind us that patience is the mother of all virtues and that an error is the path to learning. To capitalize on a mistake develops greater character and more sustainable companies.

About the Author – Walter Abrigo is a Managing Director at Santex. In addition to his large academic career, he possess market expertise in several organizational processes such as management control, change and strategy, recruiting and staffing as well as performance and engagement.