Leadership Spotlight: Dipesh Patel, Pariveda DC
Pariveda Solutions, is known to be a “great place to grow your career” both locally and across the nation. This month, we sat down with Washington Principal, Dipesh Patel to learn how they have achieved such a well-respected reputation.
Helios: Tell us about your vision as Principal of Pariveda DC?
Dipesh Patel: First off, I want to thank you and the entire Helios team for all that you do. You all have a passion for all things HR and it definitely shows in every person I have met from Helios. [We promise we didn’t pay him to say that!]
My vision for Pariveda DC is to be the firm of choice for anyone looking to be associated with the absolute best technology management consultants in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area. This includes organizations looking to solve very complex business problems by leveraging technology, but it also means being the firm that the very best technologists in the DC area want to call home.
Helios: What’s the culture like at Pariveda?
Dipesh Patel: It is unlike anything you have ever seen. I have worked in technology and management consulting for over a decade. I have spent time with large organizations that have been recognized by the industry at the very top level. At Pariveda, the culture is second to none. Our mission starts with the phrase, “to develop, manage, and apply talent for the benefit of clients.” And that mission is felt in everything we do.
Helios: You say the culture is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Can you go into detail about that?
Dipesh Patel: Our culture is unique for a number of reasons.
First, You know the saying, work hard and play hard? Well, we work harder and play harder. We expect a lot of our folks. I personally expect excellence from everyone I work with on our team. Excellence is not easy. I know that going above and beyond takes a lot of effort. However, I also believe you have to enjoy all the victories you have along the way. We make sure to get together as a DC team once every month and start the session by talking about our business, and then we wrap up with a fun team activity. Community is a big part of our culture too.
Second, We make sure we do all that we can to get the right people on our team from the start. I am speaking to you today from our Dallas HQ because I am here for an interview day with a candidate. We have all of our candidates go through several initial screens which culminate in an interview day consisting of several case studies to see how a candidate would perform in a client situation. We gauge for technical aptitude, leadership, communication skills, and even integrity in different situations. It is not easy to land a job at Pariveda and that is intentional because our people are our product.
Finally, everything we do is aligned to growing our people as fast as we possibly can and we are very collaborative. We work do all of our projects in small teams. When you are on a team of 5, your impact is felt more greatly than when you are on a team of 25. You have to do more on a small team and we believe this builds the future leaders in business. You may have noticed the dolphins on our website or business cards. The small team concept was partially inspired by dolphins who work in small teams to fend off sharks, together they are stronger and have the capability to defend themselves and win as opposed to doing it alone. We think of the sharks as our challenges.
Helios: How do you foster an innovative environment?
Dipesh Patel: We consider ourselves a learning organization. Our management team does not have all the answers and we are quick to admit that. I believe the innovative environment starts at the top. Our CEO and COO are very open to feedback and if our people have a better way of doing things, they are open to hearing our people out and implementing changes quickly. Internally, we launched an intranet site called “finbook”, a tool we use for performance management. If you think about Facebook, it’s set up very similarly. We have a wall to create goals and our team members can tag other members to provide feedback. It’s all limited by security levels and makes the sometimes dull review process more like a social game. We apply best practices and innovation for our clients too. For example, in one of our earlier projects at the firm we applied a gaming algorithm to solve a complex transportation logistics challenge.
Helios: We understand that you led the effort to create a project management school for new managers. Will you please tell us about that?
Dipesh Patel: Sure. I have been with Pariveda since we were roughly 20 people all in Dallas in 2005. We are 300 people in 10 locations across US now. Our founders were very intentional about several things when starting the business: we had an expectations framework in place early; we knew what markets we wanted to be in early. However, like any start up, there are only so many hours in the day and you don’t have time for everything. A couple of years into the business, we began to notice all of our projects were being managed differently. At the same time we noticed we did not have a real way to get our newly promoted managers on the same page as to how we would like to manage risks, communicate status to our clients, and manage a schedule. This is not to say we had people doing things wrong, it was just different. We decided to create a Manager school to combine all of the great things our managers were doing. I led a team to implement the first manager school at Pariveda back in 2007. However, the school is much better now. The greatest thing about working on the school is even though I have not been involved in the curriculum in over 4 years, we are now on our 3rd iteration of the school and it is continuing to get better. We have had over 60 employees run through the school. I am most proud that the people who are doing it after me are doing it much better than I did it before.
Helios: With 10 offices across the US, how do you keep everyone engaged?
Dipesh Patel: We use video conferences, instant messaging, and we have an annual company weekend trip. The trip usually consists of a training day, community service and the rest is social. We do training in different offices so everyone can learn something new, but more importantly so everyone can meet and build relationships with each other. At a past company trip, we built bikes for the Lance Armstrong foundation. And of course, we did it in small groups.
Helios: We know you are personally active in the community, does Pariveda engage their employees in community outreach as well?
Dipesh Patel: As a firm we are very involved in community outreach. We expect our employees to be active in their communities and are very explicit about this – we even expect our employees to log hours in their time-sheets that reflect their community service. In fact, the higher up you go within our organization, the more is required. Our senior leaders are expected to log 60 hours annually. We have a DC team community event once a quarter. The last time we got together, we all volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house and made lasagna for the entire house.
Pariveda Solutions, Inc. is a leading technology strategy and solutions consulting firm delivering technology solutions at the edge. Pariveda’s technology solutions include areas such as mobility, cloud computing, application development, business intelligence (BI), portals and enterprise content management and customer relationship management (CRM). In addition, Pariveda provides strategic services around business systems planning and program management.
Pariveda Solutions, Inc. is an employee-owned private company with a core mission to develop, manage and apply talent for the benefit of their clients. The company operates on a local project delivery model and its locations span 10 cities across the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.parivedasolutions.com.