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How Vanta supports a distributed engineering team
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March 29, 2022

How Vanta supports a distributed engineering team

I’m excited to announce that Vanta now officially supports a distributed engineering team based in the United States. As the Head of Engineering at Vanta, It's important to me that each engineer feels effective, supported, and empowered to pursue personal and professional growth.

A lot of thought and intention went into this decision, especially as we consider bringing on new team members. In this post, I'll share our thinking behind the change and how we plan to support the team from afar and in person.

Why now?

Until recently, the engineering team at Vanta only hired candidates that were able to attend our offices in San Francisco or New York City. Because of the pandemic, the way we plan, strategize, and execute has historically been remote. But now things are changing. A few factors have given us confidence that we can and should embrace a genuinely distributed engineering team:

  • We've hired and developed a great team of managers who are passionate about supporting individuals and their careers. They’ll ensure that processes are inclusive and productive.
  • Our organizational structure is durable for a fast-moving startup; we have a deep understanding of our customers' needs and enough engineers to support demand.
  • Some of our engineers have moved out of SF or NYC and have proven to be more than effective. This gives us great confidence that a remote structure will be successful moving forward. 

How we support remote teams

The standards for enabling effective remote engineering aren't unique to engineers. In a well-run organization, engineers work on high-impact projects that affect the business. 

They have access to the information they need to do their jobs, feel comfortable voicing their opinions, and build relationships with their teammates. And of course, they have opportunities to develop new skills and advance their careers. At Vanta, we have the pieces in place to make sure these things happen, regardless of where someone opens their laptop. So what does that look like?

  • Our operating cadence has regular meetings at reasonable hours for all US time zones, and we don't make important decisions (like using GraphQL) outside business hours.
  • Discussions are structured with agendas and action items to ensure that everyone is heard.
  • We accommodate different working styles by sharing the status of projects and reviewing asynchronously before discussing live.
  • We have a culture of running retrospectives to identify improvements to how we work proactively.
  • We have a talented management team that supports each engineer so they can do their best work. 

Taking advantage of being in person

How we work does not require being in person to be effective, but we still want to realize the upside that comes from getting together when we can. Thankfully, we've been able to take advantage of in-person collaboration where people feel comfortable doing so. 

We encourage teams to meet in one of our offices on a regular basis to discuss strategy, build relationships, and simply get to know each other. This has been especially helpful during quarterly planning periods.

For those that do live near our SF or NYC offices, we currently meet three days a week. Of course, this is just a default; managers work with individuals to accommodate circumstances such as long commutes and commitments at home. 

What's next?

Vanta's business trajectory is incredible, and we're growing quickly. Our engineering team’s ability to go remote with the addition of in-person gatherings has been working well for us. As with everything else we do, we'll continue to reflect and evolve how we work together to ensure that our team continues to find success moving forward. Interested in working at Vanta? Whether you’re remote, or find yourself in San Francisco or New York, we'd love to speak with you.

Matt Spitz, Head of Engineering

About the author: Matt Spitz, Head of Engineering, joined Vanta to help companies practice better security. Previously, he co-founded and led Dropbox's NYC office, started a company, and has built and scaled diverse engineering teams solving complex product and infrastructure challenges. He lives in San Francisco and rides his bike to work.

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