LDC Top 50 2022
Chris Roberts started technology consultancy Nimble Approach in 2016, initially working as a freelancer with “pop-up squads” of contractors for clients including the Home Office, Rentalcars.com and William Hill.
Roberts started to ramp up the business in 2020, moving to a bigger HQ in Sheffield and opening offices in Leeds, Manchester and, soon, Bristol. He now employs 120 people and has launched an academy, partnering with local coding bootcamps to bring in fresh talent from diverse backgrounds. “Our culture is really precious to us,” he says. “Nimble feels like a community, a family. We want to protect that as we scale the business.”
I try to set myself goals that are a bit ‘nirvana’ and difficult to reach. The ambition is to build Nimble to 500 people with 10 offices right across the UK.”
How do you protect the company’s culture as you grow?
When we’re recruiting, we look at cultural fit before we even start to vet on a technical level. We do interactive whiteboarding sessions with candidates and we give them real-life scenario tests; there’s no perfect gold-star answer but it gives us a feel for how people think and what makes them tick.
What’s your ambition?
I played a lot of sport as a kid so I have a competitive streak. I try to set myself goals that are a bit “nirvana” and difficult to reach. The ambition is to build Nimble to 500 people with 10 offices right across the UK. I think offices are really important for creating communities. Even if people only go in a couple of times a week, it’s an opportunity to be around like-minded people, have those accidental conversations, chat about new ideas over a coffee. It’s all the stuff you wouldn’t do or say on Slack.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A friend once said to me, “Stop and embrace success.” Instead of always focusing on the next challenge or the things that have gone wrong, try and celebrate the small wins. That’s the best way to stay motivated.