by Martin Mazur
For us tretton37 knowledge and knowledge sharing has always been top priority. Our business model hinges on sharing knowledge, not only with our clients but also with the community and each other. This makes experimenting with different ways of learning key to our success.
As we have grown we have also recognized that what once was easy — satisfying everyone’s knowledge thirst — has grown more complicated. We recognized that not everyone accumulates knowledge in the same way and what might work for a certain individual is pure hell for another.
This is why we decided to launch the Ninja Budget last year — simply put this is a part of the company’s knowledge budget distributed and put in every employees hands to leverage the knowledge activity that they think will give them the best personal growth.
Ninja Budget was a great step towards autonomy, and this year we wanted to see if we could take it even further. In January we complemented the budget with time meaning that not only does everyone have money to spend on knowledge they now also have paid time to use for developing themselves.
In order to facilitate this and still maintain a sense of us learning together we have a concept called Tribes. The simplest way to view a Tribe is as an internal user group or meet-up; it’s a way to create structure in the autonomy.
We have Tribes formed around single events such as such as JSConf, SharePoint Evolution and BuildStuff. We also have Tribes focusing on modern technology such as machine learning, virtual reality and not one but two different IoT tribes.
I myself recently started a Tribe focused on learning from other programming languages and we are currently exploring Elixir. I am really excited to see what other things can grow from this – the best things start at the grass roots.
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 Örjan Sjöholm
How can you introduce a new co-worker the first day at work, so that he or she will feel welcome and become a committed team member as soon as possible?
With recent experience from two well working start-ups, last month I’ve been thinking about what I appreciate during the first week. Things like trust, being dedicated and having fun are important to keep me healthy and happy, both at work and as a person in general. I think Antonovsky‘s three parts in “Sense of coherence” sums up my feelings pretty well:
- Comprehensibility: a belief that things happen in an orderly and predictable fashion and a sense that you can understand events in your life and reasonably predict what will happen in the future.
- Manageability: a belief that you have the skills or ability, the support, the help, or the resources necessary to take care of things, and that things are manageable and within your control.
- Meaningfulness: a belief that things in life are interesting and a source of satisfaction, that things are really worth it and that there is good reason or purpose to care about what happens.
The purpose of this post is not indented to act as guide for the perfect computer setup or routines for the co-workers. This is rather some thoughts and ideas on how to turn a new co-worker into a confident, independent part of the team with a “sense of coherence” and perhaps a friend for life.
Make sure that you are prepared for taking care of the new colleague before he or she arrives. There is some stuff that might take some time to fix. It might be necessary to order things – like a new computer, cell phone, a chair or a desk. Except from the hardware, verify that all needed software licenses are ordered beforehand. Make sure that the colleague will have access to all support systems that’s not under control by the team e.g. login to the AD, management systems for time reporting and salary. It’s also important that the colleague has access to the building.
Things that are controlled by the team and easy to fix are not that important, since the new colleague will become part of the team. The key is to get rid of all impediments that takes time to fix and are not controlled by the team.
Introduction to the company
A well-presented introduction that explains the vision and core values of the company acts as a foundation for the rest of the career and will make it easier for the new colleague to strive against the same goals as the rest of the organization. Give the new colleague a short introduction to the different divisions of the company, to make him or her feel safe, independent and aware of where to turn if problems occur.
Integration with the team
Make sure that another team member team-up with the new colleague during the first stand-up meeting. They should start on a new task with low complexity together. This is a brilliant opportunity for exploring the code base, interesting design choices, code standards, how we write tests, etc.
During this phase, take care of all necessary setup needed for a developer that’s within control of the team. This could be things like access control to the versioning control, issue tracking, continuous integration server and DB. This will add transparency, and give a good overview for the new colleague of what’s needed to get up and running.
Making a push
Work together on the task and make sure that you’re making a push to a new feature branch.
I don’t think that the preparations above will cause any overhead for the company, but rather a nice way to say to welcome.
Don’t forget about soft rules and fun stuff, like routines for lunch dates and after work arrangements.
How do you think the first day should be organized for a new co-worker?
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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