Sunil Sadasivan compares and contrasts the work environments he’s seen effective at startups to those of complex bureaucracies and shares lessons he’s learned for maintaining an optimal engineering work culture at the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2017, after several years as the CTO of Buffer, a startup he helped grow to over 90 people, Sunil joined the Department of Veterans Affairs as a contractor to modernize the VA benefits appeals process. This process is difficult for veterans to navigate and can take years. The median time it takes to receive an appeals decision from the Board of Veterans is more than five years. While Sunil loves working with small tech startups, he has found the work fixing an arduous process at the VA incredibly challenging and rewarding as the scale of impact on the outcomes of human lives is broad. There are few projects where a single 500 error can ruin someone’s life; this is one of them.
Sunil Sadasivan is the former CTO at Buffer and now leads the modernization of VA Appeals at the Department of Veterans Affairs with Nava and the USDS.
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