The last 3 years have been extremely fulfilling for me professionally as I have gotten the opportunity to build teams from scratch, to learn the finer nuances of the financial services industry and role of technology in productizing offerings earlier delivered through professional services, and to experience the highs and lows across the lifecycle of a startup – from inception to early adoption, to scaling to getting acquired by a larger entity. The journey has had its fair share of highs and lows and I have been able to navigate the challenges by staying flexible to align with the dynamic needs of the organization, following an ethical and principled leadership approach and consistently upskilling myself technically to meet the evolving requirements as part of the organization’s product roadmap and business model.
In 2019, I was entrusted with the responsibility of consolidating Quality Assurance Engineers and associates who were previously working on separate modules within Sentieo into a single team and leading them to successfully deliver all product releases happening in the firm. As a byproduct rejig, a QA engineer who was one of the earliest employees of the firm had to now report to me. This person was more experienced than in terms of both tenure as well as age. Hence, he was expecting to become the lead. However, when the role was given to me, during the initial weeks, he made conscious efforts to disregard my authority. Initially, I passively waited in the hope that things will eventually normalize. But when it didn’t, I held several one-on-one meetings with him explaining that we must work together as a team, convinced management to put him on a higher incentive package, and repeatedly appreciated his efforts in front of the team. Gradually, he came onboard. Post the COVID-19 breakout, external funding had dried up and the management decided to optimize on engineering headcount. I could not let anyone from the team I had so painfully built go. Hence, I initiated upskilling exercise to make sure QAs who were doing manual testing can develop scripts for automation testing. Additionally, everyone was cross trained so that their knowledge is not limited to specific modules. The team has only grown since then and not a single person was involuntarily terminated.
I came to Sentieo with background of e-commerce and healthcare industry. However, to perform better at my job, I studied about macro nuances of investment research, markets, financial statements by taking up short online modules and by requesting some of my peers who had prior financial industry background to teach me the fundamentals.