It is impossible to compete with those who enjoy and love what they do
The Head of Operations in a company not only is in charge of avoiding and reducing failures that do not add any value to the organization but they also try to optimize processes in order to make them more efficient by means of strategic initiatives. Pablo Zuccarino is the Head of Operations in The Flock
The Head of Operations in a company not only is in charge of avoiding and reducing failures that do not add any value to the organization but they also try to optimize processes in order to make them more efficient by means of strategic initiatives. Pablo Zuccarino is the Head of Operations in The Flock and told us about the challenges he takes up and the satisfaction he feels in such a job in a startup, where he is ready to draw up on the blank sheets.
How do you deal with time management and processes of this kind of ground-breaking company which does not have any how-to manual?
Such a good question, as every company is different and the startups in particular do not have any magical recipe for resolving problems. What I often do is to make agreements among teams that let us work in an organized and efficient way. As an agile person, I am always open to change and many times we apply the Lean manufacturing process for continual improvement. In organizations like this one, with such an exponential growth, procedures are hard to organize due to constant change. However, by using continual improvement, we adapt our processes in small pieces to constant change. The most important thing for us all is to be efficient so the changes can be transparent within our procedures for both the Flockers and our customers.
Where do you start from when accelerating processes? How do you focus on a potential problem?
I start by doing an assessment of the place or organization that asks for the process’ improvement. The aim of that need and the expected outcome are established. Then the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) is applied in order to prioritize the needs of improvements that are found and to make changes in the required processes for obtaining the greatest benefit in the shortest time possible.
Can you describe a Head of Operations’ typical day?
Really busy. The Head of Operations is focused on every process functioning, on the project’s follow-up and on guaranteeing a proper service for the clients. But above all, we want to make sure the Flockers know this is the best place to work and that the clients consider us as partners in their developments rather than simple software service providers. It is essential to do a daily follow-up of projects and processes without neglecting the long-term strategic aims.
Which is the greatest challenge when setting your goals?
Within a start-up, every goal is a challenge. There are too many things to do, changes take place very fast and that is the attractive part of short, middle and long-term aims. It is relevant to identify the quick wins that enable us to make quality leaps in our growth. It is also vital to be defiant with the objectives but at the same time being a bit conservative on some occasions. An uncontrolled growth may cause big problems in the processes at the expense of the customer service quality. That’s why our main objective is to grow as fast as possible without giving rise to risk in our service quality.
Which is the most difficult methodology to apply and why?
There are no easy or difficult methodologies to apply. The challenge arises when you work as a change agent in the company you are collaborating with and there is no applied methodology.
It is common that there is some resistance to change and if there are no outcomes or synergy among the teams, it is really hard to generate change opportunities. I used to work as an agile coach for a bank where I worked with a big team and there was a huge resistance to methodological changes.
We agile workers tend to come across as relaxed when you meet with people who are used to working with more traditional methodologies and that generates mistrust. I got really satisfied with the end of the year’s feedback: “This thing about agility gives good results, I didn’t believe it at first but now I see it more organized and we can see the improvements more clearly.”
Which is your slogan when working?
“Have fun”. It is impossible to compete with those who enjoy and love what they do.
I constantly get enormous satisfaction from the work we are doing in The Flock, which is really entertaining. New challenges are continually arising and that make us improve every day.
Why are startups so attractive for remote talents?
Because of the flexibility and constant innovation that most of them offer. Those who work remotely are not comfortable with the idea of office work and like to manage their own time. And startups allow that. People work by objectives that are in general very challenging but they are able to manage their own time and energy. In most cases, the startups offer great challenges related to technology and continual improvement which is important for those who dare to go beyond and face them.
Which are the main challenges of designing processes and establishing them in a remote work enterprise?
Most people who work remotely, either digital nomads or freelancers, usually do asynchronous work. So they adjust their timetable the way they want. The challenge is to synchronize in an efficient way their work with the rest of the team. By means of agile methodologies, specified requirements, repository management and automatic deployment processes it is possible to achieve this even when working from different time zones.
Which is the difference between doing a job in-person in a company and doing it remotely?
In my whole life I have worked in-person, hybrid and remotely. I consider it is completely possible to work remotely and even more efficiently, as you can invest the commuting time in personal tasks, such as going to the gym or picking up your children from school. However, it is also a nice thing to often meet your colleagues to build better relationships within the company.
It is essential to be organized with time management when working remotely. You should follow certain behavior rules and be able to fulfill the established goals. If we are not able to control this, we may be not doing our best to fulfill the goals or we may be going through a burnout due to working 14 hours (which was so common at the beginning of the pandemic, when people were not used to remote work.)
Today’s worldwide trend is remote work, The Flock knows it and it is ready for this increasing way of working.
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