There are newer employer reviews for Vecna Technologies

11 people found this helpful

Strong values and intent, but poor execution and engineering

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
Current Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA

I have been working at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than a year)

Pros

Vecna's angle in recruiting and positioning itself as a company is that they are building "better technology" for a "better world". Their products are doing good things in a terribly dated industry. The company believes strongly in making a positive impact on the world, both with its business and in things like being environmentally friendly. The co-founder prides himself on being a bootstrapped company with no outside funding. You have the opportunity to take up to 10% of your working tracked time to do community service. Benefits are incredible (t-pass, fully covered health/dental, health reimbursement balance, 401k matching). Pretty much everyone is very friendly and there are very genuinely good people working there.

Cons

There are many good things about Vecna as a company, but unfortunately the cons undermine almost all of them.

I'm not sure if this is mandated by law due to government contracts, but all employees must track 40 hours minimum per week (not including lunch or off time). While 40 hours seems reasonable, actually having to track that time, especially as an engineer, is plain silly and draining. There is very little support for working remotely so this makes getting 40 hours in the office even more difficult and a bit against the culture of 'flex-time'. I can't count the number of times people just sit around being unproductive to fill out their hours. It's plain silly, especially when it's not client work.

While engineering is filled with tons of bright people, there seems to be very little external experience ever brought into the company. This seems to result in a very narrow scoped vision with people rarely experimenting with new things, talking about different technologies, or just challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries. Software engineering seems mostly about waiting for long builds and fiddling with config files and XMLs. The overall engineering culture seems stagnant and stuck in 2002. Too often smart young talent is brought in, and they're only taught how to do things the way Vecna does it, and they don't actually learn how to develop good software... just basically how to push code into the mold of old templates that already exist.

In terms of project management and vision, things usually feel way too top-down heavy and only directed by the CEO. Engineers and others seem to have little stake and influence in their work and in general, there is a subtle undertone of a lack of trust in employees. Working from home is frowned upon, people can't make decisions on their own, and things move slowly. You are forced to use the Microsoft ergonomic keyboard so you don't get carpal tunnel... instead of being trusted as an adult to make the most sensible decision on your own.

Overall, Vecna is doing good things and is well-intentioned, but the engineering org moves way too slowly and is stuck in the past. Time tracking, desktops, an ancient tech stack, too many meetings, planning and re-planning things over and over again does not make for a fast moving quality engineering organization that people want to be a part of.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Trust employees and engineers more to make decisions. Get rid of time tracking where possible and the 40 hour rule. Hire some external VP level software execs to breathe some fresh life and perspective into the organization. Get engineers laptops so they're not tethered to their desks and they can work from home when necessary. Software talent is too scarce to scare away with strong-handed and over-frugal management tactics.

Stick to your guns on making the world a better place - people do value that.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Vecna Technologies Response

Mar 4, 2014Director, Talent Acquisition

Yes, unfortunately we are legally required by the government to track 40 hours a week. Since we are required to track time, our goal is to make it as easy and painless as possible. Please stop by ... More

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  1. 3 people found this helpful

    Making an impact

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Cambridge, MA

    I have been working at Vecna Technologies full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The products are really taking off. They are in use all of the country, and having a big impact on the users. It feels great to be part of a company that is making such a difference.

    Cons

    Growth is happening very fast. There are lots of opportunities for moving up in the hierarchy, with the growth in responsibility it entails.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to take care of you managers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful

    Friendly, progressive company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Intern in Cambridge, MA
    Former Intern - Intern in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Vecna Technologies as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Generally supportive atmosphere. Everyone is treated well and with respect. Outstanding commitment to employee comfort. Excellent work-life balance and emphasis on community service. Overall great environment. Ask someone about "project awesome" for a good example if you get the chance.

    Cons

    Small company = limited opportunity for advancement.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up! Everyone loves the free food :)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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