Why the best engineers are attracted to big problems
When looking to hire a great software engineer, technical skill is an obvious necessity. However, I’ve found that building the best development teams require so much more than a knowledge of technical minutia. At Greenlight Guru, we have the most high performing development team I’ve ever worked with and there are a few key reasons why.
To give you a little background, we are tasked with creating and developing a quality management system specifically for medical device companies. Medical device companies have a huge regulatory burden when starting a company and have to make sure they achieve and maintain their regulatory compliance with both the FDA in the United States, and various ISO bodies outside of the country.
The pain point in medical device development begins with regulations, but over time, maintaining quality is a bigger burden and usually looked at with dread. Manufacturers have to spend 20 to 30 hours per week just filling out paperwork to keep the FDA happy.
At Greenlight Guru, we want to move beyond simple compliance and put teeth behind the concept of true quality. We don’t want quality to be a dirty word, we want it to be the main objective. This isn’t just a problem we’re trying to solve, it’s the foundation of our entire company. The idea that quality infuses everything we do is the key to making our engineering and development team so unique compared to other software teams.
Company-wide, there are three foundational statements that make up the culture that drives our engineering team:
1. We don’t just allow innovation, we encourage it
Why copy what someone else has done in the past and try to make it better when you can set out to do something completely different from the start? For a certain type of developer, that’s a really sexy proposition. Instead of handing them a sheet of specifications and telling them to go build it, we encourage creativity and allow our developers to make it their own.
2. We have a culture of closing
It’s great to be innovative, but we still have to ship software. It would be pretty crazy if we created a system to encourage quality and we didn’t live that out in our own work environment. We run a pretty tight ship of pride on our team, so people who like doing things the right way with quality and integrity really enjoy working at Greenlight. The code that we write toward the tail end of our release cycles will be in our customers hands in a matter of weeks instead of the months or years it takes some other software companies. This is because we’ve fostered a team who enjoys crossing the finish line and will do whatever it takes to get there.
3. Give fanatical support
Everyone is a customer and deserves all the support you can give them. Our team is constantly asking, “What can I do to help?” That part of our culture is obvious from the second you walk in our doors at The Union 525 tech center downtown. We are very committed to achieving results as a group, rather than just simply filling a particular cognitive machine or a process. It’s understood that you can’t make huge strides without the support of the team, and everyone really buys into that here.
These all tie into our mission of improving quality of life, not only for the people impacted by the medical device companies that use our quality management system, but also for the people who work here at Greenlight Guru. There are a lot of technical jobs in Indianapolis. Not all of them can directly map back to making people’s lives better, so we tend to attract employees who want more purpose out of their career than a simple paycheck.
It’s not just about the perks. Yes we have unlimited paid time off, awesome snacks in the break room and a foosball table among other great perks, but we ultimately attract the best talent for our mission at the end of the day.
A lot of traditional businesses run from the top down, similar to a military organizational structure. At Greenlight Guru, there’s a two-way trust that governs how we treat each other. We don’t track time spent with your butt in a seat. It’s all about the output and making sure we’re engaged with what we’re doing. Every employee here appreciates the integrity and transparency and there’s a certain kind of emotional maturity needed to be able to accommodate that trust.
We have a very collaborative and creative environment compared to other organizations of our size. There are 12 members of our development team and everyone is given the opportunity to make a huge impact in our efforts so there are no minor players or small roles. There is a lot of room for opportunity to carve out your own niche. We often do team-wide code reviews so everyone can understand what others are doing on their team.
Some people are attracted to the energy and chaos of a true startup, we get that. Greenlight Guru is definitely past the startup phase at this point, but we’ve managed to keep the spirit and still provide the ability to chart your own course, career-wise. We are poised to dominate our industry right now in a very promising vertical in medical device quality management. With the subject matter expertise and engineering experience we have on our team, these are very exciting times to be at the onset of huge growth.
I don’t want to make our development team and culture sound too fluffy, because we are certainly committed to solving enormous problems. In fact, we’ve found the best engineers are attracted to those big problems. We spend a lot of time and effort to ensure we’re always on the cutting edge and always striving to be a technology-forward company. Working on the Greenlight Guru development team is definitely not the easiest job you will ever have, but it will be the most rewarding.
About the Author
David Odmark is co-founder and CTO at Greenlight Guru, the only quality management software platform designed specifically for medical devices companies.
The platform helps companies get safer products to market faster, simplifies FDA and ISO regulatory compliance and provides a single source of truth by connecting the management of all quality processes like CAPAs, risk, audits and more.