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How the Appian CS Guilds Fuel Growth and Foster Community

Headshot (5) Rogelio Cerrillo

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The Appian Customer Success (CS) team is truly one of a kind. From the product-centered culture, to the supportive and brilliant team members, to the Center of Funcellence, there are a long list of reasons why CS team members choose Appian for their careers.

Another one of the factors that makes the employee experience on the CS team here so unique are our CS Guilds. These Guilds give employees the chance to gain leadership experience, explore their passions, and connect with other team members who they might not otherwise interact with very often.

But to back things up for a moment, let’s cover what these Guilds are, how many exist, and what they focus on.

What are the Appian CS Guilds?

The Appian CS Guilds are groups that meet regularly to discuss different topics, work on projects that impact our product, and make our project delivery faster and better. CS team members often choose to join a Guild that aligns with a topic that they’re passionate about or that they want to gain more experience with.

How many Guilds are there and what do they focus on?

In total, there are four primary CS Guilds:

  • The Agile Guild
  • The Tech Guild
  • The UX Guild
  • The Success Management Guild

In addition, there are seven Subguilds, which are smaller sub-groups that exist underneath the primary Guilds, including:

  • The Database Subguild
  • The Shared Components Subguild
  • The Engineering Feedback Subguild
  • The Automation Subguild
  • The Cloud Subguild
  • The Quality Assurance Subguild
  • The Accessibility Subguild

To share more information about how these Guilds work and the value that they provide to employees and customers alike, we interviewed two CS team members to get their take. Here’s what they had to say:

Meet Director of Customer Success, Rogelio Cerrillo.

  • Located in McLean, Virginia
  • Joined the Appian team in 2004

Why the CS Guilds exist.

The main purpose of our CS Guilds is to generate ways to improve our delivery that will ultimately increase customer satisfaction. From creating artefacts that can be used by our department, to hosting workshops and organizing cross-departmental meetings, there is a lot of variety in the things we do. As a result, many people who participate in the Guilds contribute towards projects that help to enhance our knowledge base and the way we operate.

As the sponsor for the CS Guilds, I oversee all of them. And it’s truly amazing to see the wide range of projects and great work coming out of these groups! Almost every week there’s some new document or resource being published or new training being released.

Why CS team members join Guilds.

I think people join the Guilds because they’re really passionate about a certain topic and want to spend more time working in that area. Appian employees tend to want to go the extra mile in all that they do. I think this is why joining one or several Guilds has become so popular here! 

They’re also great for team members who are in between projects, since it still gives them a chance to interact with other team members, learn and test new things, and be a change agent within our CS organization.

How the CS Guilds help Appian team members to grow.

The CS Guilds provide a lot of knowledge sharing opportunities. They are a great chance for us all to learn from one another. They also provide leadership opportunities for anyone who wants to improve in this area. I have seen many cases where someone has grown from a member, to an initiative lead, and even become a Guild lead (i.e. responsible for managing a set of initiatives). This is just one example of the many ways the Guilds help our employees' careers.

What belonging to a CS Guild looks like.

The Guilds are a great opportunity to meet up regularly and talk about a topic you’re passionate about. Each Guild has their own rules in terms of how often they meet and what types of projects they focus on. People who join the UX Guild will attend monthly meetings to get general updates, talk about discussion topics, and see if people have information from the various projects that they’re working on.

From there, you can put your hand up to get more involved in any projects or initiatives that are of interest, contingent on your availability with client work.

One person is always assigned to oversee a new project — these are called the Initiative Leads. The Initiative Leads will organize bi-weekly meetings and really be the point person for that project.

How the Guilds impact our CS team culture.

The best part of belonging to a Guild is getting to meet and interact with people you wouldn’t necessarily be working with otherwise. The Guilds bring like-minded people, who are passionate about the same thing, together on a regular basis. I’ve met a lot of my good work friends through the UX Guild!

These are people who you can also turn to and pick their brains when you are heads down on something outside of Guild work too. We can pick each other’s brains for the best way to tackle different client problems too.

This has been even more important while working remotely [during the COVID-19 pandemic] over the past year. You don’t get to run into people in the kitchen or by the water cooler, so this provides a chance to make important connections and really get to feel like part of the community here!

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the Appian CS Guilds and hearing from Rogelio. If you’d like to find out more about our CS team, take a look at our Customer Success careers page for more info and to view open positions.

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Written by

Rogelio Cerrillo

Rogelio is the Director of Customer Success at Appian.