Asana takes on Vancouver with a new development center
September 20th, 2019
At Asana, we have an ambitious mission. To achieve that mission, we need to build the best global team possible in a strategic and mindful way. As part of that effort, this year we opened an office in Vancouver, a place where both the competition and talent is strong. We’re thrilled to be scaling our team in a new market and our new Vancouver development center is home to Asanas across Product, Engineering, Design, Data Science and UX—plus a recruiter and a site operations specialist.
Leading the Vancouver office is Engineering Manager, Niranjan Ravichandran. As the Site Lead, he is responsible for growing Asana’s footprint in Vancouver, in addition to the site’s product development efforts. Most recently, he led mobile engineering at Asana and was a key engineer involved in revamping the company’s mobile technical strategy. Hear from Niranjan about Asana’s fast growth and opportunity in Vancouver.
Vancouver provides Asana with a new location to accelerate our product development efforts. The team here is dedicated to working on the entire product, and includes Asanas across engineering, data science, product management, and design. Vancouver has talent across all these functions and the diverse candidate pool makes us excited!
When we first opened the office, we moved three Asanas from San Francisco to Vancouver to make sure our culture, collaboration, mindfulness and consistent set of values could be applied to the office. Vancouver as a city is also ethnically diverse. We want to have offices in cities that people want to live in and are excited about. People move here and want to stay here forever.
Can you share your journey from Engineer to Site Lead?
I initially joined Asana as an individual contributor to help build out the mobile app. My focus was on building a fully native mobile app that users would be excited about. I worked on iOS, Android, and mobile infrastructure, then ended up taking on a manager role as the team expanded, which eventually led to me to managing all the mobile engineering teams.
In 2018, Asana ran a process of exploring different office locations to accelerate our product development efforts. I got involved in this process once we’d narrowed our options down to a few cities. I was excited about potentially relocating to support Asana’s growth, and was thrilled when this manifested as an opportunity to move to Vancouver to help set the office up for success. I’m constantly impressed by the internal career mobility and manager support at Asana. There is such a strong emphasis on growth at every stage of your career.
What is the Vancouver team like?
I’ve been really impressed with the teams ability to handle ambiguity, collaborate effectively and adapt quickly. Initially, there was not a lot of clarity around when we were starting our program teams. There were so many moving pieces, but everyone was very flexible and comfortable with all of the change.
Other Asana teams have also been great at collaborating across different geographic locations. When we reach out to our partners, everyone is so willing to help. We’re blown away by how quickly the office has grown. Everyone is getting to know each other, and there is an amazing energy. It’s really unique here because as a new employee, you’re not just joining an existing team. Your part of a team that was built from scratch, and you’re helping to mold us.
Can you share what the Vancouver office culture is like?
We carefully thought about how to set up this office and strategically built a landing team from San Francisco to move to Vancouver to help bring the Asana culture with them. The office was set up for success from the start with people who had experience at Asana and were committed to our growth.
Although we have a shared culture across all Asana offices, we expect distributed offices to have slightly different cultures, while still remaining very values-aligned across the board. We are still working on building our unique office identity and crafting our office culture, but we have already started some fun office traditions. We have our new hire morning pastries, team outings, lunches, and happy hours. Right now, these more intimate gatherings are important for the team since everyone is getting to know each other and working together for the first time.
One of my favorite things that one of our engineers started is the Conscious Leadership Group book club. The entire office meets weekly to talk through a chapter in the book, have friendly debates, and just connect. We cover one commitment per week and it’s really helped the team ramp up and get acclimated.
As an engineer, what makes Asana a great place to work?
For me it’s really the combination of genuinely great people and interesting challenges in my everyday work. If either of those factors are lacking in your career, it can make a company a hard place to stay at.
Asana has incredibly interesting technical and product challenges. As our customer base grows, our product and technical solutions need to evolve to support this growth. We’re starting to break out architecture into smaller pieces to continue to scale our engineering efforts.
The people make the culture here, and the culture is world-class. Asana has maintained a high degree of transparency throughout our time of growth, and it’s been refreshing (and surprising!) that we can maintain this culture of transparency as we scale. I’m really happy that we’ve been able to do this.
What’s coming next for the Vancouver office and what are you excited about?
We have a true Development center here in Vancouver and we’re owning things end to end. We’re building co-located teams consisting of engineers, product managers, designers and data scientists and these teams own initiatives and roadmaps. We also collaborate quite a bit with partners and stakeholders in other offices.
I’m thrilled about the growth of the Vancouver market as a whole. Other companies are joining the space here and we’ll continue to hire people across multiple functions. I’m so excited that Asana has started to kick things off and deliver programs, customer value, and shipping great products. I’m looking forward to the continued growth of our office and achieving scale to take on larger, even more impactful initiatives.
Asana is growing fast in Vancouver! We’re excited to continue to grow our team with people who care about building great products and scaling culture. https://asana.com/jobs