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Lessons from Vilius Zigmantas’ path to Continuous Process Improvement at GeoComply

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“Organizations are made of people who create and follow processes which are constantly changing and are in need to be supported and nurtured… this is the spot where I realized I can bring the greatest value.” —Vilius Zigmantas

Today, we have the privilege of featuring Community member @Vilius Zigmantas, a Process Improvement Manager, who drives better ways of working. Read on for more on the most rewarding moments of his job, how he got into programming (when was the last time you were in an internet cafe?), and how his path brought him to realize his love for continuous process improvement.

🌟 Tell us about what you do!

Recently I've left the organization I worked for the last nine years and joined GeoComply. Surprisingly, it was really easy considering the COVID pandemic is ongoing. At GeoComply my role is Continuous Process Improvement Manager. This role is quite challenging and requires a wide skillset.

Main focus is to help the organization growth by driving continuous improvement initiatives on better ways of working, business process engineering/governance/optimization, effective effort tracking through various tools (majority Atlassian-made).

🌳 Favorite hobbies outside of work

I travel around with my family and our 5-year old Sammy (see picture). There's an abundance of national parks where I live. Each with its own variety of trails, terrain, flora and fauna. The parks help me disconnect from busy work and flex survival muscles.

 

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When not on the road and at home, I tinker with home automation, server stack, networking, OR I'm busy tracking the latest technology trends and learning about ALL THE MEMES!!

💭 Childhood dream, and your path to today

As silly or simplistic child's aspirations can be, they can still lay the foundation for the future. As a kid, I always wanted to be an architect (buildings inspired me to a great extent), however, life circumstances led me to computers.

Programming my first computer (the infamous ZX Spectrum) kept me busy. Tinkering with hardware and software was another passion (still remember the feeling after I've removed the swap file in Windows 3.1 and the time it took to recover). Soon I was excelling in CS classes at school, then university - always helping others to comprehend intricate computer worlds and languages.

I started my career by beating 30 other candidates to become an internet cafe administrator - this shows my age, right?

At some point I had my own company, did multiple freelance projects (wearing all the hats possible) and landed an amazing opportunity to work for MTV Networks (it used to play music videos back then). After MTV, I managed an outsourcing development company of 60 developers, which was the longest I veered away from technology.

From there, I relocated to Ireland for a Sr. Web Developer position at an infamous poker organization, and a couple of years later moved to Canada to work at yet another infamous poker organization. I took a completely different turn and started as a Business Systems Analyst, then Product Owner, then Project Manager, eventually landing Manager to the Release Management and Process Automation team.

This is where I've got gold - I've realized that organizations are made of people who create and follow processes which are constantly changing and are in need to be supported and nurtured. With the rainbow of positions and the vast experience accumulated over the years, this is the spot where I realized I can bring the greatest value (and impact the bottom line directly).

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➡️ Improve all the things (by using Atlassian products)!

I have been a power user of the Atlassian stack since 2008. While I don't have a team dedicated to Atlassian stack management, it is still a tool for my day-to-day responsibilities. 

  • Jira Software and Work Management for all kinds of effort tracking (together with Advanced Roadmaps it enables a few higher layers to be covered).
  • Confluence for knowledge base and documentation.
  • Jira Service Management for enterprise service design and execution (paired with Insight it is even more valuable).
  • Access is pending onboarding and integration.

Over the years I've integrated, adopted and used Bitbucket, Crowd and multiple other products. 

🙂 How do Atlassian products make your job easier?

It is the best that we have access to considering the flexibility and configurability. I keep joking that these both are the pros and cons - you need to know your way around and understand the relationships between concepts in Atlassian products and real life cases to map those effectively. Over the years I've seen way too many failed attempts to know better.

Recently I've wandered into Atlassian Connect app development and found it delightful and easy to start with. It helps to have a custom engine to support highly specific business needs.

⚡ Do you integrate our products with others, or use any Marketplace apps?

It depends on the case. Integrations with GitHub, Slack, Zendesk, and Google Suite help to connect separate moving parts for the bigger picture. ScriptRunner, JMWE apps help to script around missing features. Tempo to improve time tracking.

It always boils down to how much the organization is willing to balance between in-house development and securely accepting 3rd party products of-the-shelf.

💻 How work has changed/evolved over the past year

It definitely did and keeps changing (and evolving) constantly. Switching from office work to remote was abrupt and sudden. After the "honeymoon" period was over, I've understood better the benefits (and disadvantages) of working at the office.

Biggest win for 'remote' is proximity to family and being available faster when necessary, while at the same time it has its own challenges too (have you ever worked in the next room of kids partying and dog having a "Barkathon" in the walkway 😂)

My advice? Have an open mind. Develop and improve empathy. Collaborating remotely was never easy and only willingness for both parties to meet midway is the way forward. With hybrid approaches trending lately, the biggest challenge is not to treat remote workers as second-class citizens.

💙 Daily ritual that helps you get work done

I keep meticulous meeting notes and maintain a healthy to-do list (e.g. now VS not now).

Starting the day with reflection helps to set the course (mini-standup with myself: what was done, are there any issues which need immediate attention, what's the plan for today).

🗺 On working in the location/security industry

It is rewarding, interesting and challenging.

Rewarding to see how location technology helps to find criminals or locate missing children.

Interesting because the industry is still relatively new, relies on cutting-edge technologies, effective data analytics and machine learning.

Challenging because location technology doesn't work as a standalone product, instead it is usually a part of some bigger product or platform and can make or break user experience in an instance.

🗣 Advice for those who want to work in a similar industry

Remember change is the only constant thing. It is inevitable. Don't settle on the status quo, always be curious and brave to push things forward. Be uncomfortable with 'good enough' but remember that "perfection is the enemy of good". 

Try to understand not only 'how' things work, but also 'why'. This will lead to greater context and understanding the purpose, the value and the meaning. Then proceed with tiny steps forward, i.e. crawl > walk > run > fly.

In life, I follow John Barlow's 25 rules of adult leadership.

Thanks for sharing your story, Vilius! Love hearing from Atlassian Community members? See more customer showcases that we've featured.

7 comments

Bridget Community Manager Sep 21, 2021

Love this story - thanks for sharing @Vilius Zigmantas !!!

Like # people like this
Sarah McCoy Atlassian Team Sep 21, 2021

I love the mini-standup with one's self! So great! 

Like # people like this

@Sarah McCoy it is not odd at all to talk to yourself when you work remote :P who else knows you best

@Bridget happy to hear you loved it

Like # people like this

Encouraging words, Vilius. Thanks for sharing!

Like Darline Auguste likes this
Darline Auguste Community Manager Sep 22, 2021

So many helpful insights @Vilius Zigmantas I love the solo-standup idea, John Barlow's rules and Sammy the Samoyed is so cute - thanks for sharing!

@Darline thank you, glad you've enjoyed the article. PS. samoyed's name is Joey (just like in Friends, he is a buddy to everyone he meets, lacks intelligence but compensates it with cheer and positive outlook on life :))

Like Darline Auguste likes this

Ah my mistake @Vilius Zigmantas The article mentioned you were pictured with Sammy but Joey is a sweet name #HowYouDoin :) 

Like Sarah McCoy likes this

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