Velentium Culture (Part 4): The Who

Velentium Culture (Part 4): The Who

August 26, 2019 | Posted by Dan Purvis

The Who is really important (no, not just the band), because, for us to be able to create all these life-changing devices, we have to be profitable. And yet, in order for us to treat our staff’s families right, with holidays, PTO, and flexible working hours, our teams have to be able to complete exceptional work quickly.

My goal has always been to attract and maintain the top talent in the industry and then enable them to do the best job possible. There are engineers who can work at a swift pace, but their quality of work is lacking. There are others who can deliver an excellent, industry-defining product, but their methods are monumentally slow. Neither one of those is acceptable here. Our name, Velentium, is a composite of Velocity, Momentum, and Ingenium (Latin for "Talent"), and we are serious about embodying that commitment to high-quality, well-controlled work completed at speed.

If my goal was merely to own a profitable business, I could have started a fast-food franchise. I chose to found Velentium instead because the challenge and the pace we have here is something I thoroughly enjoy, and I actively recruit others who want to enjoy it as well. The joy that our staff has, if they’re the right fit for Velentium, comes from this perpetual challenge. We want all our employees to be able to take this unbelievable brainpower they have and use it for good. We want to make sure that everything we're doing is promoting that culture of Velocity.

Momentum makes up the second part of our name. We want continuity and consistency. Therefore we will not switch people around from project to project. It does happen from time to time, due to a client specifically requesting an individual. To expand on that - sometimes our clients ask for particular staff to be named in their proposal, but if time elapses between proposal and purchase order, we may allocate those people elsewhere until the purchase order comes in, which might mean they have to switch depending on the timing of the PO. In other words, we only switch people when it’s client-driven. Even then, we almost never change project managers. The project manager that starts a project will finish that project because that provides continuity to the project and to the client.

Our consistency also stems from having a quality and information security management system that facilitates reliable operation of projects. We’re continually evaluating our management systems, looking for ways to improve them, so if something doesn't seem right in our quality management system (QMS), the senior leadership team wants to hear about it.

If a process is interfering with our staff’s velocity or momentum, then we want that brought to our attention. Then, we'll either explain why we have that process in place, and the staff will come to agree; or, they’ll make a successful case that it doesn't make sense, help us see how it needs to be changed, and we’ll work to modify it. Transparency, candor, and the honor in our organization demands that if someone has an issue with our processes, they bring it to our attention.

We encourage this kind of feedback all year round, not only during performance reviews. We always want to hear about roadblocks that don’t make sense because that is how we get better as an organization.

Finally, Ingenium is the Latin word for talent. Our team goes beyond mere capability. Lots of engineers are good at completing tasks, but our engineers are great at asking the right questions. Any engineer can answer a question, but not many know which ones to ask and when so that we don’t waste resources answering the wrong questions. We encourage everyone at Velentium to practice what we call whole-system-thinking.

When practiced correctly, whole-system-thinking spotlights just how many critical questions are about the interfaces between subsystems. They occur at the business level when we’re working on proposals and defining requirements, as well as at the technical level between the firmware, hardware, application, and the cloud. These interfaces are where the questions should be asked to ensure all areas work together as a whole system.

In the next post, we will talk about how to create a cohesive team at your company.



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