We recently met with Greg Nicastro, Executive Vice President, Product Strategy and Development here at Veracode. Greg is responsible for Veracode’s product and service offerings from market requirements through software development and SaaS delivery. He has more than 30 years of experience in the technology space, serving in executive leadership roles since 1997.

Question 1: What attracted you to Veracode?

Greg N: A couple things attracted me to Veracode. One, I love the information security space; I think it is a great space. It is a growing space, and I thought that for application security in particular the time had kind of come. I have managed a large scale software development organization at Iron Mountain and also ran a mid-sized security consulting practice, Predictive Systems Global Integrity (now part of British Telecom) which handled a gamut of services such as managed intrusion detection, Incident response and forensics, and ethical hacking.

I thought that the crossover between those two would be good background for the kind of role Veracode was looking for: someone to run what Bob Brennan – who is another reason I came here – calls the “IP Factory.” You know – how do we figure out what the market wants and convert that into the world’s best products and services. To me that is an exciting proposition in the information security space, particularly with this group at Veracode.

Question 2: You have managed teams for several decades now, can you share your leadership and team building philosophy?

Greg N: To me, when I think about leadership, we are a group until we become a team and the way we earn our way to being a team is the whole trust-based teaming model. It is pretty simple: if people attend a meeting and don’t speak their minds and don’t feel comfortable enough and vulnerable enough with each other to share what they really believe, they never exit that meeting with commitment or ultimately accountability for the result. What we’re shooting for as leaders is to get everybody aligned around something that they’re collectively accountable for. To me, trust-based teaming is an absolutely critical part of my leadership approach and that I am definitely going to be bringing to Veracode.

Question 3: What do you consider integral to building out a robust product development practice within an organization?

Greg N: To me, it all starts with being able to prioritize. What you see in a lot of development shops and product management shops is that you’ve got “peanut butter manifesto” – people have got a finger in a whole bunch of different priorities and you do a lot of different things and you do them all relatively poorly. My view is that you have to do forced choice prioritization at the front end of any kind of process. You fund those things that you have prioritized for success and you don’t move on to priority number two or three until the prior was funded for success. That doesn’t mean you fully fund it or spend everything on that one priority, just that you get it to a point where it can be successful in the marketplace before you move on to finance the others. When you run out of money, you have run out, and that is a process at the front-end that I believe in. Once you have gotten that it makes it so the development teams can demonstrate success because they’ve got what they need to be successful from a resourcing standpoint. Prioritization is absolutely critical to everything we do from a product development and evolution perspective.

Question 4: Can you tell us a bit about your interests outside work?

Greg N: I really have two things in my life: one is the work and the other is my family. My son Luca and my daughter Alessandra are 9 and 11 respectively, so pretty much any time that I am not spending working on Veracode stuff I am spending running around to baseball, soccer, and hockey. I am a hockey dad, and my wife and I have put in long, long hours in and around that sport. We are very heavily family-centric and if it’s not family I am doing stuff for Veracode. That’s really it.

Niru Raghavan joined the Veracode team in late 2011 as an Acquisition Marketing Manager. In this role, Niru is responsible for demand generation and program management primarily for online marketing programs. Prior to joining Veracode, Niru held positions of increasing responsibility at Liberty Mutual and Staples, successfully planning and implementing sophisticated online and offline marketing initiatives. She has managed product development efforts, launch activities and online marketing programs geared toward mid to large sized businesses in select vertical markets. Her specialties include product marketing, marketing strategy, and market research/analysis. She is also a keen web analytics enthusiast and Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik is her all time favorite blog.

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