10 questions for Symplified founder and CTO Darren Platt

By , IDG News Service |  

As our company has grown, my role has evolved and now a big part of what I do is help explain to other companies where our product fits into a larger enterprise architecture. It's very satisfying for me when I can expand the way someone is looking at a challenge and help them see new ways of solving it. It's great to see the relief in people's eyes when they realize things aren't as bad as they think they are.

5. How would you characterize your management style?

Empowering. By that I mean involving employees and really getting their buy-in for the work they plan to do and the commitments they make. A big part of that is involving them in the process of determining the work they will commit to doing and the timeframe they will do it in. The Agile development methodology accommodates this negotiation very well. As a manager, I need to be making sure employees have every opportunity to be successful and consider it part of my role to remove any roadblocks that may get in their way.

The other side of empowerment is holding people responsible for the commitments they make. Providing this feedback is critical in building a high-performing team.

I'd say there are two more aspects worth mentioning. I believe communication is critical to an organization of any size and needs to be considered as part of the hiring process and then actively encouraged among employees. Everyone needs to be working from the same "playbook" so that we aren't working at cross-purposes or duplicating effort. Another key part of communication is around expectation setting. In an enterprise where we rely on each other to the extent that we do, everyone needs to know what they can expect from each other. Priorities can change quite often for an enterprise and this often requires people to change what they are working on. It is critical at these points that everyone know what they can depend on from others.

For example, if one of my reports is going to miss a deadline for getting a report in, I want to know about that really early. I want to make sure that people can communicate where they are with things without fear.

Also, I'm results-oriented. I'm not counting how many hours people are in the office. I don't care about that. What I care about is that they're challenging themselves with the commitments they make, take those commitments seriously, and that they do quality work.

6. What strengths and qualities do you look for in job candidates?

The one that is implied [in what I've said] is people who take their commitments seriously and are responsible. I believe that if you give that kind of person the ability to make their own commitments, they're very likely to meet them. They'll be very motivated because the commitments they've made are not ones you've made for them.

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