by Martin Mazur
I find that people are preoccupied with history. Always looking back and referencing the past to make decisions about the future. One important fact to remember is that it is just that – history. What I mean by this is that the events we are reflecting on occurred in a context which is very different from our current situation. The processes we wrote, the work we did, the technology we used has eventually become stale. Everything has a shelf life simply because time moves forward and the context changes.
Don’t get me wrong, we need to learn from our past, especially our past mistakes. You can learn from history and use it to come up with new ideas, not just re-apply the old ones. Even if something had a certain outcome a year ago, the context may be radically different today and that will make the outcome radically different. Basically you have to respect history when creating your future but you shouldn’t obsess about it.
Working like this is a scary idea for most. It’s scary because we are afraid of the unknown, and the future is unknown territory. I think this is one of the reasons we try to project the past onto the future. We try to minimize variations, completely ignoring that we have a huge variable called ‘the world’ which we can’t control.
Here at tretton37 we understand this, and that’s why it’s so important for us to continue questioning and re-evaluating our approach and ideas – not falling into the trap of “That’s how it’s always been”. With this in mind, we explicitly chose “Challenge the World” as one of our core values. By challenging notions of what we can and can’t do, we continue improving and innovating ourselves. It allows us to try new things and uncover new ways of nurturing people, teams, software and business.
I’m not saying that we should question everything all the time. I’m saying that we need to understand the “Why” and “Why not” of the things we do and ideas we have. If either of those reasons change or we don’t agree with them, we have justification in challenging that idea. Since we carefully evaluate the reasons behind our ideas, we feel secure with this type of controlled innovation.
We feel confident in calling our company tretton37 and ourselves ninjas. Because why shouldn’t we? Some may say we don’t take our work seriously but our opinion is that being serious and boring are two separate things. Historically they go hand in hand, but why not separate them? Can’t we have a bit of fun while developing serious software? We take our profession very seriously – we just don’t feel that we have to be boring in order to do so.
It was also quite a leap of faith for us to create a high quality and affordable conference. When we couldn’t see the reason for why there shouldn’t be one, we challenged the notion of the huge, classic conferences. Does it have to be expensive? Can we make it affordable, awesome and high quality? We thought we could and we think that we succeeded.
These are only some examples of how we’ve challenged historical notions in our industry and we are by no means intending to stop.
by Deniz Yildirim
I wrote a post a while ago on “why” expansion has become our strategic choice in the pursuit of Becoming the Most Admired Company.
The more important question remains though: “How” are we going to do it?
Let’s take a look at the key factors that make us stand out in an ocean of a million others:
1. tretton37 is a company of specialists. Our passion for knowledge-sharing, software development, and quality; combined with a fixed focus on a single platform, makes us unique.
2. We also have a powerful company culture that is built on our core values; it is an integral part of our offerings and complements our technical expertise.
These two factors are the source of our pride in tretton37, and the reason we’ve received so much love from our clients and the community. They constitute our core-business.
In such a company as tretton37, expansion runs the risk of threatening the very factors that have made it unique and successful – unless a well-planned strategy and careful execution are in place.
While expanding, we have to live up to our vision and these factors that make us unique. This brings me to our big question – “How”
Our expansion strategy is all about establishing new local offices in different regions with the same services and core values. Expanding up to a moderate, yet still a robust size in each office. A size that enables us not only to have a powerful delivery-capacity to handle local demand; but also to run our knowledge-sharing activities at the highest of standards and with the best results. Up to a size no larger than a magical number where people still know all their colleagues by name.
This way, we get to keep the best of both worlds: Keeping “the small” within “the large” and gaining these benefits:
• We retain all of the advantages of preserving our specialist profile of our local offices by focusing on what’s important to us; the quality of our work and our values.
• At the same time, we have the versatility to reach out to be a larger sized company, comprised of all our offices (inter-)nationally. Creating a greater network of like-hearted developers with a larger accumulated knowledge to share on the very same platform.
• And also a volume, which brings financial benefits that also help us in becoming the most admired company.
How are we going to stick to the plan?
Well, we’re going to let our clients, colleagues and the community be our judge. They will have their eyes on us and keep us on the right track; just as they have been doing since day one!
I’ve given you just a quick glimpse of our expansion strategy in this post. As for the details, they’re best expressed by hundreds of slides and I’m sure you’re not really up for that just right now. :)
Please drop me a line if you are wondering more about how we think!
Hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and thanks for reading.
by Peter Ekerot
We at tretton37 never do anything half arsed. We’re into SharePoint and we mean it. We are ninjas, even on SharePoint!
I firmly believe that SharePoint is truly ninja. What other system is awesome for collaboration straight out of the box, useful as a content management tool, has document versioning and workflows, can calculate large spreadsheets, batch convert documents, or integrate with obscure backend systems? SharePoint can do all of that and much more.
SharePoint can exist on its own servers, be it real ones or virtual but it can also exist at Microsoft Data centers; courtesy of SharePoint Online.
SharePoint has evolved over the course of more than ten years. Many of the core concepts that where there from the beginning are still there. Some of the refinements in the latest installment are an enhanced enterprise search (especially with FAST), a rather impressive “My Site”, and a very useful taxonomy (tagging) system.
SharePoint is also a large and extensive development platform. It can solve business problems, and a rather full range of business problems at that.
However, there are some dark clouds in the otherwise blue skies of SharePoint. It does not excel as a content management platform for public-facing internet sites without some deep thinking and special implementation details. It is not very mobile or tablet friendly out of the box, although some of the recent cumulative updates have addressed some of the problems, among other things.
So, where is the ninja stuff?
SharePoint as a development platform is huge. The foundation is .NET Framework 3.5, which might not be the latest and greatest but does the job. There’s Business Connectivity Services (BCS) to connect to any other system imaginable, either using WCF services or custom code – giving great integration possibilities. With the Client Script Object Model (CSOM) and custom tools like SPServices, one can build really nice, productive and fluid user interfaces on top of SharePoint.
As with any platform one needs to work with the grain of the fabric when developing SharePoint. What’s different from other web technologies or frameworks like ASP.NET MVC is the sheer size of the fabric we have to work with and the rather steep learning curve. Building properly on top of SharePoint requires a very good understanding of how the platform works and what parts to use for what purpose, and believe me; there are many parts. Beyond that developer tooling may sometimes be tedious at best. For instance one needs a full server installation just for development, which makes development start-up time for new projects significantly longer than with other web technologies.
The ninja part comes with deep experience in developing for SharePoint, choosing the right approach for the problem, applying standard features or custom development. A problem can often be solved in one of many different ways, it takes a ninja to know the right one.
And this is just for developing solutions. There’s room for much more under the SharePoint flag; Configuration management, Infrastructure, Integration, Security and more.
On the topic of SharePoint and ninja or not, I think the following piece by Mark Rackley is explaining it rather well, especially the twitter quote:
“@mrackley: Here’s an interesting question. Is it possible to be a “Junior Architect” in SharePoint? I think by its nature it’s a senior position.”
“@cmcnulty2000: I once met a junior surgeon. Didnt use him though. (my favorite response)”
There are so many facets of SharePoint solutions and development that a single person can’t really know it all (except some people – but a select few have cleared that certification).
Want to know more? Send me an e-mail or leave a comment
by Deniz Yildirim
Our awesome company tretton37 has grown from only two developers to 23 within only 13 months. Yet, we still want to grow and some surely wonder why… Here is a quick insight to my thoughts.
I actually think that the “how” is more important than the “why”. Because executing this mission without compromising the quality of our offerings and our strong culture has to be planned and carried out very carefully. I’ll write about this in my next blog post, but for now let’s just focus on why I think expansion is the right strategy at this phase of our development.
First of all we’re very proud and happy to receive a great response from our clients and the community since our very first day on the market. We feel a strong responsibility to match the increasing demand for our services and this is of course one of the main reasons for expanding our operations.
Another reason, which is at least as important as the first one, is our passion for creating additional possibilities for both internal and external competence development activities to keep our developers the best and the sharpest professionals in the market. Even though we’ve already established a rich variety of knowledge sharing forums at tretton37, we believe that we still can do better! By expanding our operations, we aim to create major resources for boosting our knowledge even more and get one step closer to our vision.
Maintaining and improving our conditions and creative working environment where developers can always focus on their personal growth as much as delivering quality and state of the art software solutions is part of this ambition too. This also requires a set of reforms in our organization such as establishing larger and well-defined sales, delivery and support functions and trimming our processes.
Yes, our journey has just started but we’ve already reached a level where we need to plan our next step. In the pursuit of fulfilling our ambitious vision, “To Become the Most Admired Company in Our Region”, expansion is now our strategical choice.
I believe that almost everyone with a bit of smarts can handle an expansion; it’s not rocket science… But doing it without losing the feeling for reality and focus on what is important for the organization is what makes the difference. Our choice is basically a sane expansion by keeping our feet on the ground and focusing on the quality, our culture & core values as always.
I’ll write more about my view on the “HOW” question in my next blog post. Thank you for taking some time and reading my thoughts at the edge of a new phase of tretton37.
About this blog
We at tretton37 believe in having a strong company culture that promotes craftsmanship, professionalism and knowledge sharing.
We want to use this blog to share what we know and give everyone insight into our thoughts.
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