The issue with all this glorious software is someone has to write it and well… lets’ just say that’s no bueno. Greed, glory, power, and pride (GGPP) all get in the way of awesome software, so we create elaborate positions such as Delivery Manager, Project Manager, Officer in Charge, Scrum Master, Task Master, Circus Master, and CEO 😉 …you get the picture. They all attempt to control costs, meet deadlines, and make people happy. Good luck. The human factor always fails the equation; however, humans aren’t going anywhere, so what is to be done?
I was recently in Monterrey, MX with my partner in misconduct, Rick Stephenson, VP of Professional Services for Matrix. Our mission was to study and engage a company called Northware to see how they stack up in this world of over-hyped underpriced nonsensical companies that claim to be consultants, but actually can’t code ‘Hello World’ without ‘the Google’.
We were met at the airport by Northware’s CEO, Genaro J Rodriguez, and one of our associates Ruben Santana, VP or Delivery Services for Matrix. We were immediately handed a shrink wrapped notepad and pen with our 3-day agenda on the inside cover. Say what? I hate waste and wasting time is number 1, so this is starting well. However, a bit odd. Maybe it was the shrink wrap?
We got to Northware’s facility and began touring the various offices and ‘labs’ (please). Then I suddenly realized culture was making an appearance. Open workspaces with 3 different Kanban boards in a very collaborative environment. They had a sweet kitchen, small offices for private conversations, and a highly technical conference room. Nothing new, but good to see they understand how development gets done in the year 2016.
Then over the next two days they took us through GrupoOpen’s (who?) verticals where we engaged their top tier people along with most of the staffed developers, engineers, architects, designers, cooks, janitors, partners, and the CEO’s wife over Facetime. Wow. It was clear this company gets the human condition. Very cool and you now have my attention.
What other tricks do these nearshore nerds have stuffed in their sock? How are they going to solve this issue of humans jacking up software development, infrastructure, support, and staffing? Below is a bit of what I observed over the course of the 3 days and are frankly areas you should just go implement if you care to survive in this age of the “entitled millennial”.
1. Create Passion
To a person everyone we talked to loved their work. They were in the right place doing what they love to do. It was apparent in their presentations and attitude. You can’t fake love. If you don’t love what you do please stop and continue your search elsewhere. Life is short.
2. Be Fearless
Northshore I mean Northstar no Northwind damn it NORTHWARE puts their people first. Education is continual, ideas are expected, and growth is not optional. As they said ‘Not everyone can work here’. You must to bring your ‘A’ game every day or they will send you packing. No really. Don’t bother showing up as the ‘Borg’ will deny you access to the consortium.
3. Think of Others
Others means co-workers and then customers. Northware will turn down jobs that don’t fit their model. Did I say model in the world of IT? Yes, they have several models for all types of IT scenarios and if the model fails… sorry you’re out. What does this have to do with thinking of others? Well, they just saved the customer a boat load of cash (either way) and their co-workers the heartache of a failed project.
4. Team First
Seriously? Someone gives a rip that I think we should use a new technology for this solution? But we’ve never used it before. What if it fails? The team puts the technology to task and together they decide if it’s right for the given business problem. All ideas count and everyone is expected to contribute. No one is on an island and all will participate.
5. Tell the Truth
This one should be higher on the list, but make no mistake Northware will tell you the truth. If you’re a startup and your idea is trash. Take it to heart. If you think ‘x’ can be done in 3 months and they tell you 3 years. Listen. If you stroll into their ‘Think Tank’ (yes, they have a real-no-bullshit think tank with real doctors and super nerds) and want to know if ‘y’ will work they can tell you. It’s fo-real this time!
6. Have a Plan
From our shrink wrapped agenda to our University of Monterrey visit it was calculated and had purpose. Every presentation we observed was clear and concise. Each action they took had meaning and benefit. 60 to 70% of their time is spent on planning, organizing, and modeling the solution to ensure success. It’s not that they don’t fail, but they fail quickly and course correct.
I just realized I didn’t discuss our university visit, meeting with the mobile think tank gang-of-beautiful-geniuses, or their predictive support platform. No this isn’t ‘Silly-con’ Valley, glamorous Austin, or MIT dawg, but Monterrey, Mexico. Haven’t heard of them? You’re already behind and good luck catching up cause their foot is on the gas.
In my next blog we’ll discuss their tech stack, development processes, training, and products.