How Our Workplace Culture Allows Us to Transform the Customer Experience
The past 12 months have been significant for Macro Solutions, a company that I founded nearly 20 years ago with my brother, who now serves as our COO. Contract awards, industry awards, and new services demonstrate how we’ve evolved to become a formidable mid-tier government contractor.
While past performance is critical to federal contracting success (something we’ve proved year-over-year by bringing innovative cloud, DevOps, and other solutions to DoD, HHS, a banking regulatory and insurance agency, and other federal agencies), what truly sets us apart is our workplace culture.
Company culture is more than a slogan
More than a buzzword, company culture has changed the way we think about work and urges us to consider how we can conduct business for the better.
Too often, however, culture efforts fail. Cultivating a culture that is unique and meaningful can take years. With the average tenure of a CEO now at five years, employees may find it difficult to invest in a culture that they feel will only change when the next leader takes over. Another challenge is tying culture to performance. Employees may struggle to understand how they, their clients, and even society will benefit. Finally, a company’s cultural values are too often confused with meaningless slogans that fail to inspire.
Our culture is grounded in providing continuous value to our clients
At Macro, our culture defines who we are, how we do business, how we interact with one another, and how our team interacts with the outside world. To us, culture is about identifying and encouraging the behaviors that help keep our focus on delivering customer value.
None of this was a product of a brainstorming session where slogans were scribbled on a white board. Instead, and rather uniquely, our workplace culture had its genesis in our core business areas of DevOps and Agile.
As federal agencies modernize their applications and migrate their IT services to the cloud, Macro has long helped our customers use Agile and DevOps to deliver IT needs in efficient, fluid, and barrier-free environments.
Shifting to these methodologies isn’t for everyone though. Too often, current IT delivery cultures focused on project processes as opposed to outcomes. For example, the program management office (PMO), which typically provides oversight of application delivery initiatives, may make recommendations that are potentially disjointed from customer needs. When this happens, the team shifts focus away from the customer to satisfy the PMO. They lose sight of what’s truly important.
Likewise, innovation and successful outcomes can be stifled by the negative energy that often characterizes siloed or competing teams and individuals. This keeps IT from meeting the business needs of other departments, including accounting, HR, finance or legal. It creates a culture of separation – rather than a culture of enablement – and can keep different groups from working together instead of collaborating to help the organization achieve its primary goals.
A culture enabled by Agile and DevOps
We at Macro Solutions understand that putting up barriers is the antithesis of Agile and DevOps, and we wanted to emulate what we were teaching our customers. We had to clear the way for teams to be innovative and successful by establishing a culture of enablement in our own company.
We did this by creating a judgment-free environment from the top down, driving positive behaviors and incentivizing people and different teams to collaborate.
In these communities of practice, individuals are always looking for opportunities for improvement with the customer’s definition of value as a bearing point. As in Agile, it’s ok for people to try and fail, but also to learn and lift one another to success. In fact, we encourage our employees to talk about their mistakes, discover what works best, and quickly address customer needs and concerns.
We also encourage them to find ways to work directly with clients as solutions are envisioned and developed – a key principle of Agile – and urge them to understand how different frameworks are succeeding at bringing value, not how they are executed.
A barrier-free environment
I cheer this level of transparency because it breaks down the defense mechanisms that help create silos between different functions and teams. Most importantly, it’s a culture that allows us to continuously focus on delivering customer value.
It’s a culture rooted in the belief that every person matters. Each employee has a voice and is part of a community. Indeed, our organizational culture reverberates across all aspects of our business, because it represents the way we do business – delivering IT needs in an efficient, fluid, and barrier-free environment.
Turning culture into a blueprint for client success
Our workplace culture has also evolved to become a blueprint that our government clients can leverage as they seek to deliver continuous value to their own customers and stakeholders.
Based on how we do business, the Macro Solutions Continuous Value Operating Model ( is a service we offer to the federal government. The traditional PMO is transformed into a Continuous Value Office (CVO) focused on customer needs, while incorporating the necessary elements of a PMO (such as methods for addressing compliance and risk reduction).
Put into action, Macro’s Continuous Value Operating Model has enabled a federal financial regulator to move away from manual, error-laden, time-intensive processes for application deployment. Leveraging our model, we helped our client to adopt work methods, efficiencies, and customer focus that Agile enables. As a result, the agency has realized a 400% improvement in delivery times, from an average of four months to three weeks. They’ve also seen $2 million in cost savings as a result of empowered collaboration and DevSecOps tooling.
Workplace culture is critical to business success
These benefits show how our approach to something as seemingly intangible as company culture has a direct, measurable impact on customers’ missions. More than a buzzword, the
Macro Solutions’ workplace culture has defined our company identity and reputation in the crowded federal contracting space, unified teams around a common purpose, transformed our employees into advocates, and helped us keep our best people.
Moving forward, we will continue to practice what we preach, putting our clients at the center of our community and all we do. Helping them continuously evaluate and integrate their IT environments to meet the changing requirements of the mission, lower IT operating expense, while delivering greater ROI in application modernization and digital transformation.