Inventive Leaders Series Presents: Greg Bryant, Distinguished Architect

Getting Shit Done, Brilliantly isn’t just a cheeky tagline.

Here at Inventive, we love to roll up our sleeves, constantly iterate, and stay focused on the work that matters. We know our people are the most important part of our mission. Because of that, we hire the best of the best who want to grow, thrive in a fun and hilarious culture, and have the experience to get the job done.

There are many reasons why Inventive stands out among its competitors within the start-up tech space: innovation, growth, and the way we improve lives with technology each and every day. But the thing that tops that list is the incredible team members that help to propel us forward. 

In the first part of our new Inventive Leaders Series, we introduced you to Alyssa Bunn, Director of Recruiting, and talked all about the unique approach she’s taking to find and hire rockstar candidates. 

In part two, we are excited to speak with Greg Bryant, Distinguished Architect. 

We sat down with Greg for a brief interview to chat more about his engineering career, his new position with Inventive, what drives him to get shit done brilliantly, and the advice he has for anyone interested in breaking into the engineering field. 

MEET GREG, DISTINGUISHED ARCHITECT

Inventive: Hi, Greg! Why don’t you briefly introduce yourself?

Greg: Well hey, there! I’m originally from Georgetown, TX, have my bachelors from Vanderbilt School of Engineering, and when I’m not kicking ass at Inventive, I am also the CTO of another startup. 

Inventive: Describe your current position with Inventive and what led you to this awesome opportunity.

Greg: As Distinguished Architect, I’m responsible for handling the day-to-day personnel and project issues that may arise, at least as it pertains to engineers. I also work with the rest of the management team to maintain communication across the company. I had worked with Andy several jobs prior, and when Andy and James asked if I would be interested in managing engineering here, I thought it would be great to work with them.

ALL THINGS ENGINEERING OPERATIONS

Inventive: How do you work with your team of engineers to set goals, plan projects, build a timeline, and stay within budget?

Greg: We now have a strong sales process that includes a “discovery,” where a product owner, a senior architect, and possibly a designer go through what is needed to complete the project, so project planning and timeline obviously start there. When we start a project, the team working on it gets together, and I have a little checklist of decision points — from who is doing what, to what is the definition of done. 

Inventive: How important is relationship building to you — both on the internal and client-side?

Greg: Absolutely important! As I see it, the main job of a manager is to ensure that roadblocks are removed. But different people will get blocked by different things. Knowing how people work, what their motivations and expectations are, as well as their communication styles is key. Understanding your customer is just as important here as it is anywhere else.

Inventive: What tools or platforms do you use to make completing tasks and projects easier?

Greg: Our main tools are Jira to manage work that needs to be done and ensure that the work is well-described, Confluence to capture our longer-term knowledge base, and Slack to exchange pet videos. Oh, sorry, I meant to say “keep open communication in a team that may cross several time zones.” Okay, and to exchange pet videos.

“Different people have different needs and motivations, so part of my job is to understand those, and find the best way to help them.”
- Greg Bryant, Distinguished Architect

WORKING IN THE TECH STARTUP SPACE 

Inventive: What attracted you to working in the tech startup space?

Greg: I’ve done a variety of different types of work over the years, from hardcore driver and operating system development, to education, product marketing, and strategy. I’ve bounced back and forth between leading teams large and small and being an individual contributor. In a startup, you will by definition wear multiple hats, which appeals to my “learn all the things” approach. The startup environment also tends to weed out those folks whose primary ability is to consume oxygen, which I have definitely run into at very large corporations.

LET’S TALK INVENTIVE

Inventive: What was it about Inventive that spoke to you?

Greg: I had worked with Andy at another startup several years earlier, so knew a bit about the company. From talking with Andy and James more, I liked the way they approach company culture — mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow rather than blame, and keep everything as transparent as possible — both tenets that had been lacking in other organizations.

Inventive: How do you maintain a sense of community and culture with your fellow employees in a remote work environment?

Greg: That’s very tough, and is definitely a two-way street. The company does online “events” that I attend as much as possible and recommend to everyone that they do the same. When everyone is remote, there is no “break room,” no water cooler talk, and nothing other than Zoom calls and Slack, so having channels that are not directly related to work provides the opportunity to get to know people a bit better.

“Inventive continues to stand head and shoulders above pretty much every other company in terms of culture and people.”
- Greg Bryant, Distinguished Architect

WORDS OF WISDOM

Inventive: What’s one piece of advice you would offer to professionals/entrepreneurs trying to break into the tech industry?

Greg: Never stop learning! I was talking to some folks about this today — 35 years ago I was writing Fortran for mainframes and last week I was going over state management techniques for Flutter. Having a degree, or a particular skill will only get you so far — you have to decide how you are going to keep improving yourself.

FINAL NOTES 

When Greg isn’t getting shit done at Inventive, you can probably find him running, being involved as much as he can in music (be sure to ask him about his quartet days), coding, and even digging into crypto projects. 

One thing is for sure — we are so grateful to have him on our team helping to lead the charge for all things engineering. Have a question for Greg or are looking to get some assistance on an engineering project? Let’s chat! 

Be sure to keep an eye out for the third installment of our new Inventive Leaders Series where we introduce Barry Wayne, Director of Product!