Chief Operations & Teamwork

Full name: Bart Vermijlen / Home office: Berchem / At Wieni since 2020 / Wieni ID #48

What do you do at Wieni?

Everyday I search for the fit between the organisation Wieni wants to be and the way Wieni works. My toolbox contains mainly agile screwdrivers and design thinking lube. Next to that I also focus on concrete projects and partnerships.

You have a lot of experience in different (digital) agencies and media companies. What still surprised you at Wieni?

The Wieni values. They are not just words, but they are really put to practice. Wieni goes beyond the client-supplier relationship and gets under the skin of the organisations we work with. Really close to the principles of agile without the unnecessary buzzwords.

Where do you see the biggest potential for Wieni the next 3 to 5 years?

Better collaboration. To say it with scrum values: a growth in focus, courage, commitment, openness and respect. With an ultimate goal to become thé reference for well oiled (software) teams building top products for top companies.

How do you stay ahead of the curve? How do you keep track of the latest trends in (organisation) design or technology? Who or what are your sources of inspiration?

I get a lot of energy from the international agile scene. After events such as XP Days Benelux I go back home with a backpack full of new references and approaches. Next to that I also have some personal heroes such as Henrik Kniberg or Christopher Avery.

You are quite good at punchy oneliners and witty quotes. What is your personal top 3?

“A fool with a tool is still a fool” - Jim Simmons

People often ask me "what is the best project management tool?" I always reply with this quote. The agile manifesto has good reasons to state "individuals and interactions over processes and tools". However, that doesn't mean that tools aren't important. That same manifesto say "...while there is vale in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more." The right tools are important, but the interaction between people are more important.

“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” - Einstein

I am not the biggest fan of heavy planning or excessive use of Gantt-charts. I am more into iterative and incremental ways of working that allow you to validate assumptions around value as soon as possible with end users. You can have beautiful theories around what should work, but as long as you don't put them into practice, they are worth absolutely nothing. I also have some sort of internal alarm that is triggered as soon as someone uses the words "in theory". You can bet reality will show exactly the opposite.

"Customers don't care about your solution. 
They care about their problems.” - Dave McClure

Related to the previous quote. You can blueprint a majestic technical architecture. But when real people don't use your software, you are solving the wrong problem. Starting from empathy with real users is the only way to create the right product for the right user.