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Interview with Jessica Frigault: A Decade of Operation Optimization

  • People
operations manager vp

As we gear up to celebrate Jessica Frigault's 10th nv-ersary as VP Operations at nventive, get to know this leading figure on our team. Jessica brings years of operational expertise from an exceptional journey, showcasing strength of character, perseverance, and leadership. Today, she shares her journey and vision for the future of nventive with us.

Hi Jessica! Can you tell us a bit about your journey and what led you to nventive 10 years ago?

Hello! I started in traditional advertising, but I quickly realized that the methods I used to design advertising campaigns could also be applied to the web, a much larger medium.

That's how, in 2011, I made the leap into online advertising. Once I stepped into this new universe, surrounded by new technologies, developers, and architects, there was no going back. My curiosity peaked, and I set out a career that focused on leading custom software development projects. A few years later, I was starting at nventive.

Can you introduce us to the Operations department, what it involves, and why it is essential at nventive?

The operations team consists of several managers who oversee the various roles involved in our delivery process. Collectively, we serve our clients, our employees, and the executive team.

More concretely, I must ensure that the company uses all the resources at our disposal effectively: for client projects, research and development (R&D) initiatives, sales, and employee training. Every week I meet with project teams to learn how our process and tooling is working in action and to review their project reporting to identify trends and build action plans.

Can you share an example of a project that you and your team have successfully completed?

We have been leveraging scrum methodology for many years. But as the roles in our organization evolved, and our team sizes grew, it became apparent that we needed to refresh our teams on how scrum is applied at nventive, and how to get the most of our process and tools while running scrum.

Our managers gathered into a series of workshops to compare findings, results, and areas of improvement. Once aligned, we documented the nventive scrum guide for all teams to use as reference. Within this initiative we also took the opportunity to restructure elements of our process and clean up templates and tooling to better support our project teams. The changes were rolled out over a 6-month period, but the benefits were apparent in the first three weeks.

What are some of the most significant challenges you have faced in your role as VP Operations so far, and how have you overcome them?

First, being a woman in tech remains a challenge. Fortunately for me, most of the companies I've worked for have been able to appreciate my skills and recognize my ideas—but unfortunately, this is not the case in all our clients’ industries.

Despite progress in our industry, for many women this remains a challenge. I remind myself daily that I have worked hard to acquire my knowledge and expertise, and to rise above any scenario in which that knowledge and expertise are questioned.

Another challenge would be change management. The first changes I tried to implement as VP Operations raised questions and criticisms from skeptical colleagues. I quickly learned that I needed to pay closer attention to the humanity of our company culture and invest in coaching all managers on our change management approach.

How would you describe your leadership style?

In terms of group management, it's a mix of democracy and autocracy. I value the opinions and facts our management team brings to the table, and where I can identify a high probability of alignment I encourage and support the team to work towards it. But where there are differences of opinions for reasons that do not serve our business objectives, I step in.

My one-on-one leadership style is tailored to each person. Whether it's coaching, career development, or even building confidence, it is important to learn what each person needs to feel supported and achieve their goals.

Thank you for speaking with us today! One last question for you: What is your vision for the future of Operations at nventive?

Our managers are investing their time in aligning processes and roles and training their team members. What we want in the short term is leaner delivery processes, more autonomous resource allocation within teams, and more accurate and consistent reporting across all projects.

Longer term, my goal is to establish enhanced best practices across all our proficiencies, advanced tools for reporting and identifying opportunities for improvement, and the implementation of expertise committees in our ecosystem.