Gevorg was the Co-Founder/CTO of LionSharp, where he led development of Gesture and Voice controlled systems.  After he left Lionsharp, he became an Agile product / project manager.  Join Gevorg as we chat about collaborative leadership, agile teams and organizations, customer engagement, and delivering business and customer value at breakneck speed.

Favorite Quotes:

People need to dig deep into the values of agile to see how those fit into their culture.

When we expanded to a large, distributed team, it’s very hard to share the same values and principles.

Big corporations end up thinking about revenue so people join the company just to grow revenue, not share in the values.

Your values start with hiring. If your hires don’t share your same principles, keep looking.

The early employees with lead the company when you grow, so early employees need to share your values.

The main reason I let people go at the companies I worked at was culture.

First hiring meeting I would just hang out, nothing technical or about the company.

In the first interview meeting, I would take the person off-site and ask them about what their goals in their own life and why they think this company can help them.

Understanding someone’s values & goals will tell you how they’ll behave in situations.

After 2.5 hours on Skype with an interviewee, I couldn’t figure out if they shared our values or not. We ended up buying them a flight to come to our office to figure it out.

How you decide to outsource the work becomes more of a business decision, so a lot of companies spend very little time to see if their outsourcing company shares their values.

When I outsource a project, I fly there and make sure they share our values whenever I can.

If I can’t fly, I hold Skype calls and try to be available as much as possible when working with outsourced teams.

When you have a feeling that these people don’t care and you don’t know how to deal with that, go visit them in person. The price of a flight will be way less than what you’ll waste if you don’t get on the same page and goals.

As a CTO, you have to grow up from a software engineer and learn all of the soft skills to manage a team, work with a board, and work with investors.

No matter how much money you raise, who your board is, it’s your company. You have to run it the way you want to run. You have to do what you know how to do. You’re in charge.

Can I work with these people for 3-5 years? Can they give back to the company?

We hired an outsourcing company for a short term project to see how it would go, but when you’re on such a short term project, the priority becomes meeting the deliverables and the quality of the product.

You invest a lot in full-time employees, so you want people to be on the same page with you in terms of values, vision, and goals.

Remote teams need video standups so they can see each other.

Remote teams have very few communication points, so it costs a lot of money to the company when people miss one.

Every day we have a 15 minute stand up on GotoMeeting where we review tickets and comments no matter where anyone is in the world.

For teams that I’ve had trouble with, I request a daily update on what was done, what will be done, and what the US team can do to help them.

Every Friday I have a “cake day” where I send a cake to the outsourced team to keep their spirits high.

We have a calendar with US and India holidays to encourage each other to celebrate the holidays of the other office.

I’m not going to work on anything that is going to hurt people.

Life is short, do what makes you happy.