When Rebecca Rother starts a typical workday at Devbridge, the colorful spaces that decorate her calendar aren’t simply client meetings — they’re opportunities for authentic partnerships.
“It never feels like the clients are giving us demands — it feels like we’re creating a product together,” the senior product designer said. “One thing that Devbridge does well is that at the start of each engagement, we bring the client to our office and do an in-person workshop with them. After that, we always have a firm understanding of what we’re building.”
From a design perspective, teams at Devbridge believe in harnessing the power of the latest tools and technologies to stay ahead of the curve and lead by example. Whether designers are building out exciting healthcare products for patients with heart ailments or designing a new e-commerce platform, accessibility and global language support are always top of mind.
“There’s a huge culture of pushing forward and doing good,” Rother added. “Not just for ourselves and for our clients, but for design practices as a whole.”
By continuously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for its clients, Devbridge has grown a global presence across North America, the U.K., Lithuania, Poland and Romania. A focus on consistent development has both impacted the clients that the company’s product experts serve and shaped the trajectories of their careers.
“Over almost four years, I’ve gotten promoted twice, and I’m still learning new things every day,” said Associate Director Katie Dillon. “We’re not experts in one specific industry, but we are experts in building custom software.”
“To us, it doesn’t matter whether the product we’re working on is in healthcare or financial services or any other industry — it’s the underlying technology behind it,” she added. “That’s why our potential is endless.”
Standing out in the industry
When it comes to embodying company culture, Mark Hayes doesn’t think it should start and end with flashy words displayed on an office wall. He also believes that values should be more than a tab to flip through during an employee’s onboarding session.
“Our culture is unique because we focus on living out our values every day,” the senior product manager said. “We have six values overall — like taking ownership, being transparent and having fun — and that intentionality resonates throughout our work. Whether it’s turning to senior leaders for help or planning our annual ‘summer camp’ company trip to Lithuania, our actions are always more than a slogan.”
EMBODYING CULTURE REGARDLESS OF LOCATION
While many companies have relinquished a physical office by going fully remote, employees at Devbridge have embraced a hybrid approach to accomplish their best work. “Most folks come in about three days a week, so you get both the benefits of working from home as well as the ability to have a place to get away from home,” Mark Hayes said. “Having that flexible approach means that I can get away for my afternoon run or just enjoy a solid work-life balance. We also have on-site workout classes every Tuesday and Thursday, so it’s a good way to get out of the office and get to know your co-workers a little better.”
That attention to Devbridge’s set of values has not only helped employees feel more connected to their work, but impacted their output efficiency as well. With a number of projects typically standing as four to eight week engagements, leaders like Dillon believe that from a client’s point of view, it’s a significant display in value from start to finish.
“What I’m proud of is the fact that I can come to work every day and help solve a problem within my client space — whether that’s helping them grow their business or making decisions to improve their business in some way,” Dillon said.
“We’ll come out of those initial workshops as a stronger team both with our internal colleagues and with our client partners,” Rother added. “What we’re able to produce from a product standpoint is significant because it’s not just business. We all get to know each other, we’ll go out to lunch, sometimes we’ll go out for drinks or dinner, and we infuse our products with that detailed understanding.”
Experiencing unique opportunities
With a global presence, viewpoints are in abundance at Devbridge — and so are the opportunities. No two clients are the same, which means that every new project is an opportunity to bring previous knowledge to a new challenge. For associate directors like Dillon, that helps keep teams sharp and eager.
“The unique thing about Devbridge is you have over 60 like-minded product managers and product designers across North America and the U.K. who all have diverse perspectives,” she said. “If you have a question, you’re going to get 10 different answers and you can come up with what your own solution should be. The more you’re learning and the more you're excited about coming to work every day helps us stay proud.”
However, employee connections aren’t left to chance by asking for the occasional project assistance or a shared #pets Slack channel. Relationships, especially in a new virtual-first world, thrive on human interaction — and that’s why every year, employees from around the globe embark on a “summer camp” trip for work and celebration overseas to Devbridge’s Lithuania office.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to go work together for a week, break bread and celebrate with each other,” Hayes said. “There’s live music, outdoor games and meals in between the work. Ultimately, this event allows us to become actual people to each other with shared experiences instead of avatars through a screen.”
“There’s a huge culture of pushing forward and doing good — not just for ourselves or for our clients, but for design practices as a whole.”
For the passionate world travelers who can’t wait until summer every year, the company also offers additional experiences: Employees are welcome to travel throughout the year to work out of other international offices such as Toronto and London.
“Because of our worldwide experiences across cultures, we have an emphasis on making sure that things are simple and concise at Devbridge,” Dillon added. “Other places that solely work with folks in the U.S. typically experience the opposite of that — like digging through word salad. We’ve learned to say what we mean directly, and I don’t think our communication would be nearly as efficient if it wasn’t for our global relations.”
Katie Dillon was a decade into her previous career when she had a revelation — if she didn’t get into consulting now, when would she do it? After all, she had grown tired of working within the confines of a different industry and there wasn’t much else to explore.
So Dillon took the plunge, pursued her passion of consulting work and found a role at Devbridge.
“I truly believe I’ve learned more on the job in my four years here than I did in my prior 12 years working elsewhere,” she said.
Even though the journey was new, Dillon never felt alone starting fresh at Devbridge. Through resources like self-learning days, where employees are given time off work to take relevant training courses, and by working closely with mentors always willing to lend a hand, she’s been empowered to pay it forward for those on her team or for anyone at the company who has expressed an interest to grow.
“I say this in any candidate interview: This is a company where what you put into your work and your job you will get out of it,” she added. “If you focus on self-learning, you will get something out of that tenfold. If you’re going to be open-minded, ask questions and be willing to listen, your potential is limitless.”
“We strive to foster open relationships between every level and role, and it’s been an irreplaceable aspect in my career.”
That focus on continuous development and career growth is also what attracted Rother to Devbridge’s design team. Now with almost two years under her belt, she feels more confident taking on projects that would have been a challenge for her younger self.
“We have some incredibly talented designers on our team, so if there’s ever someone struggling with a question, we’ve set up weekly critique groups,” Rother said. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to learn from their peers, and also for senior designers to be a mentor to younger talent. We strive to foster open relationships between every level and role, and it’s been an irreplaceable aspect in my career.”