In part 1 we discussed this issue with humans having to be part of the software development equation and how they continually muck up the works by repeating mistakes that were solved years before, by creating their own glorious software kingdoms, and by introducing complexity in order to secure their position. Someone has got to get these self-absorbed humans something else to do!
Next we dove into Monterrey, Mexico’s Northware and how they go about taming these humans. We reviewed their hipster culture, people, and how they do business in a highly competitive and increasingly difficult international market.
Implementing a hipster culture is awesome (Silicon Valley would be proud, dude), but if your technology stack sucks, your processes blow, or you can’t spell buziness, no one is going to care about your culture.
Modern IT consulting firms must have highly skilled technicians using the right technologies to conquer the challenges of today’s complex business climate. Furthermore, it’s not enough to just understand technology. You must understand process and the business with which you deal in order to provide the best solution. Anything less is a paid hackathon.
With this in mind, let’s look at how Monterrey, Mexico’s Northware is tackling the issue of business, technology, and process using humans in this world of technology. Don’t be surprised if you learn something from these mad scientists from across the border.
This begins the initial engagement with the customer. They ask a series of questions, which includes the typical stuff I won’t bore you with. Their big questions are “Are you willing to allow us to perform a full discovery?”, “How much time can you dedicate?”, and “How much money do you have?”. As with employees, not every business can be a customer of Northware. They won’t take projects where failure is an option. Their reputation is at stake. If your business doesn’t have the time, money, or fit their model, Northware will take a pass.
At the heart of any consultancy is their technology stack and Northware has a bit. They have also created a model by which they can fold in new technologies as required. Very cool. The below table outlines their core competencies and yes I’m sure I missed a few:
Northware Technology Matrix
|DevOps||HTML5||Ruby on Rails||Lift and Shift||Web|
|PM||CSS3||Microsoft Azure||Data Science||Web API|
|Scrum Master||C#||Microsoft Dynamics AX||Cloud||Data Warehouse|
|Web Developer||Ruby||Microsoft .Net||App Dev||SaaS|
|Tech Writers||C\C++||Ruby on Rails|
There are some glaring omissions from the table including Git, React, React Native, Typescript, and Foundation to name a few, but not to worry these homies have a plan for ingestion and it doesn’t take long.
We talked earlier about how the team seems to love what they do and be on the same page (different). This stems from having solid internal methodologies for onboarding, training, and promoting their people. Employees have a clear understanding of what is required for advancement and success. No wonder people want to hang out at Northware.
These ideals follow them into software development. Yes, they’re “Agile” (over it), but they also understand to get better at development you must continually tweak your processes. It’s iterative. Reminded me a lot of W. Edwards Deming. He’s the genius that turned Japan into an ass kicking automobile making juggernaut. He figured out how to plug-and-play humans. Awesome.
What do you get when you stick a bunch of highly educated doctorial types and super nerd developers in a house in the middle of Monterrey, Mexico? You get patent pending models and processes, an environment that promotes radical thinking, innovation that happens daily, and award winning mobile applications. These folks are the bell of the ball and Northware’s secret weapon to make humans less necessary.
This ain’t your Uncle Bob’s house (no offense to the Bob’s). No one is over 35, the walls are a graffito of their successes, and on Friday’s you can bring your dog, eat BBQ, and drink beer. I’d hate that. Just more than a little bit jealous. Their products and business partners are impressive and the smartest of the group are female (no offence to my hombres) and trust me you do not want to technical two step with these ladies. They will eat you for almuerzo.
Universidad de Monterrey
From where do all these fabulous consultants, developers, and technicians hail? A bunch are home grown from the Universidad de Monterrey. Northware has figured it out. You take college graduates, give them a voice, culture, and a purpose and they will become loyal and perform beyond expectation. We had to go visit this nerd manufacturing facility.
Northware’s CEO, Genaro Joel Rodriguez Santoyo (that’s a lot of names), arranged for not only a tour of the campus, but asked us to teach a Software Architecture class (Do what?). At that point my counterpart, Rick Stephenson, VP of Professional Services for Matrix swung into action while I stood behind him ;-). He spent 1 hour showing these ‘comsci’ brats how communication can greatly affect application architecture and design. Rick’s Spanish was a bit lacking (good thing he was lecturing on communication), but they spoke perfect English, so it was all good.
As an employee I get Tech Thursday’s and Beer Friday’s. What more could a super nerd want. “You mean I get paid for learning new technologies and drinking beer?”. All in people! Let’s do this.
As a customer or partner you have got to love their systems, processes, people, and the way they conduct themselves in the international market. If they don’t know they will tell you so. Refreshing.
Does Northware have a lot to learn? Sure and they said as much, but are they poised to compete for the long haul? No question. Genaro (I call him ‘G-Man’) has them setup nicely for the future. They can easily integrate with international business and compete side-by-side with a lot of their American counterparts. Nice job Northware and look out all you who claim to be offshore, nearshore, farshore, notshore, and unshore. You’re going down foreshore!