Introducing Gigster’s New CEO Phil Fasano: Hall-of-Fame Tech Leader and Remote Work Convert – Part 2

Q: How do you evolve a startup culture so that your people are equipped to succeed?

The cultural thing is interesting. You have to be face-to-face enough to have people realize that it’s not just that you’re passionate, but that you’re really committed, and they can see you’re committed, and they get that you’re being honest with them. There’s a difference today in the levels of honesty and trust that have to be earned and given, as you build any company. I think that’s truer today than any at any previous time because we’re not next to each other where you can see that person coming into work at six until eight or nine o’clock at night and giving it their all. So, you have to trust the people doing what they have to do to get the job done.

Culture-wise, are we creating something that at this moment in time the world needs? I would say unequivocally, yes. In fact, it’s so important that if we don’t do it, someone else is going to have to because the world really does need this.

Q: As you look at what Gigster has built, are all of the best practices that have accumulated from the thousands of projects built into the software the secret sauce?

That’s what it is. I see us exposing the way we operate to others so that they can learn. People call it the Gigster Way, which I think is a good phrase. But it doesn’t have to be our way. It just has to be with our tools and our tools make us better. That’s what’s different about this company. The tools have made us better. Our people are great, but the tools have made us better performers. And therefore, I think that’s very transferable and usable by others.

Q: Given the failure rate with companies doing digital transformation, what kind of impact can Gigster have on that?

You could probably count on a couple of hands, at most, the number of transformations that CIOs have participated in that went well. I can tell you from personally being involved in a couple of them that it’s the hardest thing anyone will ever ask of you. If you’re going to get it done, some luck is involved but the amount of effort involved and the amount of touch points in time that you have to commit – it’s every waking moment and you’re not sleeping very much. What I think Gigster does is to act as an enabler for people to lead transformations. And if you don’t have every aspect of the skillset, if there’s any weaknesses at all in the leadership, knowing that the projects you asked to go and start and get done are going to get done, that allows you to make up for a lot of weaknesses.

Q: Why would you say Gigster is able to address that?

Let me answer it this way. One person I know said to me, “I hear you’re on this team intelligence thing, but it’s project management software, right?” Yes, I said. It just happens to be a little different than our parents’ project management software. It’s software that’s helping people continuously calibrate their projects every week and every day. And you can’t do that in traditional project management. And we didn’t. The only time I knew something was off course was when some project manager called me and said the project’s off course – and by the way, we’re out of money. And that was usually where the conversation went and it was because they thought all along, magically, something was going to happen or that they would figure out how to fix this. And they were always wrong. Gigster’s project management capabilities are hands down better than anybody else’s. It’s a huge step function beyond what you see in the market. Every now and then you see a breakthrough – and this happens to be one of those breakthroughs.  

Q: Given that Gigster’s work has focused on software projects or software development, is that where you see the real opportunity or are you seeing some sort of broader footprint within the CIO world?

We cut our teeth in the technology space, but we’re not limited to that. Any team anywhere in the world should be using our software to manage their activities. We may have to refine it a bit for operations versus IT people, versus people in clinical areas that have teams of clinicians and need to manage those teams – you can go on and on. There are a lot of places where this methodology and this technology should be used to get better outcomes from the projects people work on.

Q: So, the core of this is about distributed teams?  

I wouldn’t even say just distributed teams. I think teams; I think any team benefits by operating with this technology as the overarching project management tool and methodology they follow. Distributed teams just happen to be the way that Gigster grew up and the way we’re all thinking now because we’re all working at home – or many of us are. If we went back to the office tomorrow because there was a cure and we weren’t worried about getting sick anymore, you’d still be able to get better outcomes using this technology and this platform than you got before. This becomes the breakthrough you want because you want to be performing better.

Q: How do you see this as different from other project management systems that people have used over the years?

This isn’t just a basic Gantt chart of project management that you can see with a timeline. This is about preventing bad outcomes on projects and delivering good outcomes to the point where you get consistency. And you also will have confidence that what people are telling you is what you’re going to get and when you’re going to get it. The old phrase that we used at Kaiser was “quality, service, and affordability.” It applies here too. It’s the better-than-average chance that you’re actually going to get the outcome that you want. You’re going to get a quality outcome. You’re going to get a serviceable outcome and a more affordable outcome than before. The project management tools that companies tend to use generally have been around for 30 or 40 years. But sooner or later, people come up with a better approach than what they had. I think this is what we finally have.

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