June 17, 2024

  • 5 minutes

Leading Teams that Deliver Value - Celebrating Six Years with Valentin

Blog Team

Six years ago, Valentin joined our team, and his contributions have sparked some incredible transformations. As we celebrate this milestone, let’s take a look back at the journey we’ve shared and the amazing changes we’ve achieved together. When Valentin came on board, he had a vision: to help guide us into the future as a cloud-first company. With his collaborative approach and innovative mindset, we’ve become leaders in delivering top-notch SaaS projects for clients in multi-cloud environments. But that was just one part of our collective story.

To celebrate his six-year milestone, we sat down with Valentin for an in-depth interview. He shares insights into the significant developments he’s been part of, his approach to leadership, and the strategies that have driven our success. Whether you’re a budding engineer, a seasoned professional, or simply curious about what makes our team tick, Valentin’s reflections offer valuable lessons and inspiration.

Personal growth

🔵 UpTeam: Looking back over your six years with us, what are some of the most significant changes or developments in the company that you've been a part of?

Valentin: The biggest and the most impressive change was our ability to focus our processes and tools to become a cloud-first company which drives and develops very sophisticated SaaS projects for our clients in multi-cloud environments. Second significant development was UpTeam mastering the fully remote way of operations which, eventually, opened up the global job market for us, where we now can reach the most experienced personnel. Finally, seeing our workforce to quickly grasp the most modern tech stack which is now used across the board, including web application development, AI, data and infrastructure management.

🔵 UpTeam: How have your initial roles and responsibilities evolved over the years, and what have been some of the pivotal moments that influenced your career path within the company?

Valentin: I joined the company in the role of a product manager as my key skill has always been to build valuable B2B products for global markets. Eventually along these years it occurred that the value I can bring to the table has a lot to do with people management and processes setup which led me to the path of strategic leadership where I now act as a VP engineering building and scaling successful engineering teams and processes leveraging the latest technologies, including AI-driven services.

Engineering excellence

🔵 U: How do you ensure that our engineering practices support and improve the quality and competitiveness of our services?

V: The approach is three-fold and relies on people, processes and tools. On the people front we are investing a lot in internal and external training which leads to relevant certifications of our workforce and, most importantly, the way teams think, operate and solve complex engineering problems; on the processes side we establish and follow rigorous standards for our CI/CD practices, testing and maintenance of the workloads we support; as for the tooling we apply the most modern IDEs, leveraging LLMs across the board, test management systems and automated quality assurance solutions, as well as monitoring and logging toolset.

🔵 From your perspective, what are the core strengths of our engineering teams, and how do they uniquely position us to solve the challenges faced by our clients?

On one hand, our teams are very engaged which allows them to quickly connect with the business stakeholders and understand the business problems they need to solve, on the other hand our engineering is very mature in terms of SDLC, technical design, coding and maintenance which helps them produce highly effective solutions in a very predictable way..


🔵 You have been instrumental in building teams and establishing processes. What philosophy guides your approach to leadership and team development? Could you share an example of a successful outcome from your team management strategy?

It is a very basic, common sense mindset, really. It all starts with open communication. We need to be crystal clear on what we want to achieve, what the success criteria are, how we will do it, what the known issues are, risks if any. This puts everyone on the same page. Then comes the scalable SDLC process where the roles, the routine and the tools are defined to extend open communication to the predicted delivery. This makes everyone committed. Finally there's a need to build trust within the team by providing relevant feedback, celebrating the success and retrospecting on potential improvement zones for the team and such. This keeps the team motivated, this helps the team grow consistently. Following these simple principles we were able to grow one of our projects from "a team of 1" to 40+ engineers handling a multi-product portfolio of a modern ad tech company.

🔵 Could you share an example of a successful outcome from your team management strategy?

One of the most encouraging outcomes for me was the way the team grew professionally. I saw dozens of people growing from junior level positions all the way through the tech lead roles for very challenging projects and products. Combined with AWS and Databricks certifications they achieved along the way, and the positive feedback from the clients on our organizational maturity and delivery excellence this makes me think that the approach we follow is highly effective. 

Client value

🔵 Can you discuss a time when your work directly translated into significant value for a client? What did this experience teach you about client relationships?

Over the last two years one of our clients has undergone several strategic M&A-s. Each of those demanded significant engineering effort, namely for cloud and data lake migrations of huge legacy solutions. I was managing these projects directly introducing relevant processes, streamlining cross-team communication and ensuring the teams are properly structured to guarantee seamless delivery. The key lesson I learned from these projects is that communication and the process are the two corner-stones. In other words, we need to be very open and agile talking to the client while addressing the problems to reach complete transparency, and we need to use the well-proven methods to ensure consistency of the delivery and high customer satisfaction. Being able to institute these and get on the same page with the client is in my opinion the most instrumental part of our relationship with the client

🔵 Could you tell us about a particularly challenging client scenario and how our engineering solutions provided a successful outcome?

If we take one of those migrations as an example, there definitely were plenty of challenges. The code of the original solution as well as its architecture were hardly documented so we had to introduce a rigorous approach to ensure that we handle the effort in a way which would be 100% transparent for the client. To that end we used scrum framework in place, and solved the problem of consistent delivery of new valuable business increments. We introduced a proper technical design process to ensure that the target solution is consistent in terms of architecture and scalability, and effective in terms of reliability, latency and cost. Finally, applying the CI/CD best practice led to fast time-to-market and error-free releases.

Future goals & future trends

🔵 What are your goals for the next few years, both for yourself and for the company? How do you plan to achieve these goals?

My personal goal is to scale our current SDLC approach across our existing and forthcoming project portfolio and to ensure the highest level of satisfaction for our clients. To that end, we plan to consistently invest in growing our team’s expertise - the process we have started since 2021 with AWS, Databricks and other significant strategic partnerships. By leveraging our innovative project-level experience we plan to be able to extend our footprint in data management, AI and DevOps for our clientele.

🔵 Looking ahead, what emerging technologies or innovations are you excited to integrate into our services? How will these advancements position us in the industry?

We have always been on track with the most up-to-date tech stack as it gave us a broader set of opportunities to deliver value and empower our clients. Whether it is migration to the cloud, going serverless, using  GitHub co-pilot or running Databricks notebooks - we always see deep into these technologies and make informed decisions on which one is most applicable in a specific project context. The most recent focus for us is leveraging data platforms ecosystem to ensure reliable and secure data management at scale as well as backing the AI and ML use-cases for the projects we deliver.

As we wrap up this celebration of Valentin’s six years with us, it’s clear that his influence has been profound and far-reaching. His dedication to innovation, leadership, and teamwork has not only helped shape our company’s success but also inspired those around him.

Valentin’s journey is a powerful reminder of what we can achieve when we embrace change, value collaboration, and strive for excellence. Here’s to many more years of growth, innovation, and shared success. Thank you for joining us in celebrating Valentin’s remarkable journey. Stay tuned for more stories of inspiration and achievement from our incredible team!

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EU: Nicu Bordea


US: Michael Philip

Group CEO & Founder