Partnering with the government can sometimes mean being constrained by complex work environments that can limit someone from having a big impact. For civic technology company Nava, that is far from the truth.
As the only public benefit corporation to work directly with the government, Nava provides high-performing services to federal government agencies like the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services. Essentially, they strive to hold themselves accountable for delivering quality work that serves more than a fifth of the US population.
One of their biggest accomplishments to date was assisting President Obama and his administration in repairing HealthCare.gov after its rollout in winter 2013. Since then, Nava has expanded their offices to San Francisco and New York City, and are currently hiring engineers across the stack, designers and product and project managers to solve some of the government’s biggest systemic challenges.
Referring to themselves as “stewards of public service,” Nava employees say the tenacity and humility of their work makes them unique amongst their competitors. Tackling some of the nation’s toughest issues is never an easy feat, but Nava is dedicated to providing a modern, impactful approach toward continuous improvement.
“Nava has a really collaborative culture that we value and try to foster on a daily basis. We have a team culture that makes tackling difficult work more fun and less stressful, because we’re all working together.”Brendan Neutra Senior Development Operations Engineer
“Nava is my dream job. My personal goals for 2016 and beyond are: working to significantly improve the safety net with kind and smart humans, and having enough work/life balance to make art in my spare time. I’ve found exactly that at Nava.”Xena Ni Designer
What are Nava’s core values?
Be active stewards; pursue the root cause; think long-term; build together; inclusion is essential; progress takes work.
Nava is a mission-driven company with employees who aren’t just “engineering for engineering’s sake,” but actually trying to improve some of the most critical government services through holistic design and engineering. At Nava, team members are always willing to collaborate across disciplines in order to get the job done.
What is the Nava elevator pitch?
Nava is a public benefit corporation dedicated to making government simple, effective, and accessible for everyone. It partners with the government to bring human-centered design, agile software development, and product management to bear on some of our nation's toughest challenges.
Nava is a thoughtful team of people across engineering, design, product, and business that cares deeply about building government services that have a lasting impact on the lives of millions of people.
How has the company grown since it was founded in 2015?
Four years in, its original team of six is now nearly 100, with a growing cohort of distributed employees across the country.
Today, Nava represents 49% women and over 50% underrepresented backgrounds in tech, with leadership represented by majority women and 45% people of color.
What are the most exciting projects right now?
Nava began when a handful of us were brought together to fix HealthCare.gov after the initial rollout. Continuing its mission to improve the accessibility, effectiveness and simplicity of government services, it has:
● Partnered with Code for America and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to make it easier for people living at or below the poverty line to access state-administered benefits.
● Helped make the largest modern update to Medicare, improving the Quality Payment Program to change how providers are paid and rewarded.
● Iterated on the Scalable Login System (SLS) — initially built to fix scaling issues with HealthCare.gov — to improve identity management for MyMedicare.gov’s more than 34 million account holders.
● Worked with Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy to create plain language templates that help researchers easily honor participants’ right to privacy.
How do employees collaborate?
Google Drive and Slack are two communication tools that Nava team members use frequently. Slack is used to communicate internally, and Google Docs are used to create “Tech Specs,” a brainstorm document that encourages collaboration across all departments. Because Nava is bi-coastal and remote friendly, video conferencing via Google Hangouts between San Francisco, DC, NYC, and remote staff allows for connectivity in open spaces.
How does Nava celebrate big wins?
Expect sweet treats after big contract wins or special announcements. Trips to Medieval Times (a dinner and performance show that takes attendees back to medieval ages), "Paint Nite," or a "bubble ball tournament," where players wear huge, soft inflatable bubbles and run toward and bounce off of each other in an open field, are other bonus outings. This fall, the entire team will be meeting together for a week long offsite in the Poconos.
Any Nava traditions?
Every Friday, Nava hosts a weekly staff meeting called “Team Huddle.” Nava uses this time to promote their shared value of transparency by providing on projects are shared company-wide and employees have the opportunity to give one another “shout outs” to celebrate small victories achieved throughout the week.
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