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Behind the Scenes: Immersion Day at RWWA

Last week, our Perth She Codes Plus crew were invited along to Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) for an Immersion Day – to learn about a day in the life of the tech team, what tools they use, challenges they encounter, and roles that exist in the business. 

And what a day it was.

The day commenced with coffee (naturally), and an opportunity to chat to team leaders in technology. CEO Ian Edwards shared their purpose statement – to provide a sustainable future for the WA racing industry. He went on to discuss the racing’s economic contribution to the WA economy  – estimated as $1.3 billion annually. Their industry directly involves 25,000 people, 21,000 of whom are in paid roles, the equivalent of 10,000 full time roles. Ian went on to mention that they are a highly significant employer in regions “some communities that we are in, racing equates to 30-40% of employment” he said.

On the topic of diversity he noted that racing is a leader in sports in that women have always competed equally with men. “We are investing in this program to ensure that our diversity in the office reflects the approach we have on the track” he said, in reference to the investment in She Codes Plus. 

Chief Information Officer Grey Properjohn set the scene for the day, running through the different teams within RWWA and how they come together, in a diagram that was affectionately referred to as a uterus or a spaceship. When asked, he said the goal for the day was to show a “full view of the lifecycle of how we build product, and the roles and skills we need to get there”. Armed with this mission, we ran through some of the history of the WA TAB and TABtouch (which is the digital wagering app for the WA TAB). The WA TAB was the first Australian business to have an online betting platform, in 1996, and has had to constantly innovate since then. Grey stated “technology is a very interesting space to work in as it always evolves” – something that resonated with all of us in the room.

Kicking off the first tech talk was Bree Campbell, Agile Delivery Enablement Lead. “Without our people, none of it matters” Bree shared with us. Bree walked us through their process for quarterly planning, strategic goal setting, sprints, and establishing ways of working. She also shared with us her own ‘why’. ““What brings me here is the social, giving back, the people, the animals. Every day when I walk in I walk past this (our mission statement) and it inspires me every day.” Starting with this powerful reflection on ‘why’ set the context for the day, challenging us to consider our motivators. 

Armed with the high level vision, and reflecting back on Grey’s aim for the day – following the lifecycle of a RWWA product, we dived into a soon-to-be-released feature change within the TABTouch product. The first step was a talk on product management by Andrew Shaw – including what it is, the process, and the stakeholders. Following the path, we heard next from Marika Moriyama and Josh Reid from the UX Experience team who showed us some real customer interviews including video interviews navigating the current product and hearing challenges or barriers from customers, as well as a detailed walk through of Figma, showing us the mockups of the proposed changed UX. “Figma is industry standard now” Josh shared, as he showed us some tips and tricks for levelling up our own mockups.

Taking a quick break from product, Danielle Glazier from the People and Culture team shared with us the values of RWWA as an organisation and some of the perks their team enjoy. Danielle shared with us that the values were developed only a few years ago, as an opportunity to refresh and reinvent, to evaluate current culture and to look ahead to a future aspirational culture. The values are Respect, Accountability, Connection and Excellence. “There was never an intention for them to spell RACE but it’s highly convenient” Danielle quipped. RWWA team members enjoy yoga on a Thursday morning, a generous professional development budget, access to udemy courses, all of which is tracked in a professional development plan in Culture Amp. 

“The highlight of the day for me was how inviting and engaged all the team members were. Everyone was happy to chat, answer questions and provide advice. Which really speaks of the organisation’s culture. A complete 180 from what I anticipated!”  Denise from the Plus cohort shared with us when we asked about the day.

With a full brain from the morning’s activities, we took a break for lunch enjoying food, conversation and connection. “The catering was amazing” we heard repeatedly in our conversation with the cohort after the day.

Coming back to the boardroom, we re-commenced the deep dive into TABtouch product livecycle with Nathan Reid, Software Development Lead from the Channels team who walked us through the development process. Every ear perked up as we started discussing React, Typescript and Merge Requests. 

“Very rarely in software development are you starting from scratch” Nathan Reid shared. “Taking features from here and here, and you can save about 50% of your time by reusing elements rather than starting from scratch”. Nathan drew around elements in the Figma design from earlier, showing us which bits could be reused or replicated in the new layout. We were enthralled as he showed us step by step through their process of implementing each part of the feature, updating the organisation on progress, and their process for managing their Git flows. 

To finish up this section of the day, Pallvi Sharma talked about testing, both manual and automated. Pallvi describes it as “putting your detective hats on”. Armed with some new knowledge of platforms and tools for testings, the methods they use and the skillsets needed to succeed in a testing role, we left this session with a deeper understanding of testing as a discipline. 

If you’re looking at this and thinking it sounds like a packed day – yep, we did too! But a little bit more value was squeezed into the last 2 hours of the day. 

As a final case study of the day we spent some time discussing the Melbourne Cup – “The race that stops the nation but (hopefully) not our systems” as joked by the Platform team. On that day, RWWA experienced a 500% increase in turnover compared to a normal day and 6500% higher account openings. We heard about their journey in AWS, auto scaling to account for capacity, managing costs with the experience for their customers. We also heard from their Site Reliability Engineering team and Data Management team.

Wrapping up the day, the cohort were invited to the Bettering Bar, for some drinks, nibbles and conversation. 

We asked the cohort how they felt about the experience. “My brain was fizzing with excitement by the end of the day. Getting to see a project in action and actually being able to understand what the speakers were talking about was amazing. It was super beneficial for my future work but also to see how my knowledge and understanding has grown while at She Codes” Caoimhe Young shared.

“Every encounter is an opportunity to learn and grow, and today’s experience at RWWA was no exception,” said Jignasa.

With their passion for innovation and technology, She Codes is delighted to work with RWWA to bridge the gender gap in the tech industry. Continue following the journey by staying up to date with our social media!

Partnership opportunities are now open for Plus 2024 in Perth and Brisbane, if you want to invest in diversity like RWWA, get in touch with us at

A huge thank you to our speakers:

  • Bree Campbell – Agile Delivery Enablement Lead – WoW – Ways of Working
  • Andrew Shaw – Product Owner
  • Marika Moriyama – UX Researcher
  • Josh Reid – UX Design Lead
  • Dishant Prajapti – Scrum Master
  • Danielle Glazier – Head of Capability & Talent
  • Nathan Reid – Channels Team Lead
  • Pallvi Sharma – Technical Lead – Testing
  • Gerald McGovern – Technical Manager – Core Wagering
  • Samea Wood – Technical Manager – Platform
  • Arpit Patel – Principal Test Architect – Testing CoE
  • Ben Reynolds – Site Reliability Engineer
  • Rob Bayliss – Technical Manager – Data Platform