Anne, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Let’s look back at this momentous year. What are some of the highlights you’d like to share with us?
It’s been a rollercoaster of a year with good times and some hard times. All in all, I’m glad we’re still here, getting to do the things we do well.
It’s been 15 months since DevJam was acquired by cPrime. During that time, we’ve continued to work with companies large and small, helping them solve important and meaningful business problems. It’s our privilege to be a part of their extended teams and to work shoulder-to-shoulder with them, delivering impactful products to their customers.
We’ve also continued to create connections and conversations within our community by hosting events and Jam Sessions. That’s always been such a critical part of what DevJam is about, and I’m proud that we can partner with all of you to continue that tradition.
With regard to the integration with cPrime, how have things been going?
When I’m out and about, the number one question I get is, “How are things going with cPrime?” We feel fortunate. It’s been almost a year and a half, and I can still answer the question the way I’ve answered it all along, which is – it’s going well.
We’re functioning today as an integrated part of cPrime, but we’re also able to continue to do what we do in a manner we believe in. We’ve been extended the freedom to carry on what David Hussman spent so much energy building within our team and the community in Minnesota. So pretty much, we just get to keep all the good stuff but now have more resources to draw from for our team and our clients.
Personally, I didn’t know what to expect. Initially, I was told a bunch of stuff that people are always told when you are acquired. I was skeptical. Fifteen months later, I’m happy my skepticism was misplaced as every promise that was made to us has been kept.
When people ask how the integration has been, the one word that really comes to mind is “respectful.” Every step of the way the change has been respectful. There is more change ahead as change is one of the few constants in life, but I’m confident that will be respectful too.
How would you describe the current landscape of our industry, and what are clients looking for as they mature in their journey?
Most of the organizations we work with have the process part down. Teams get iterative delivery and have the mechanics and ceremonies in place. Now that they’ve established that, they’re starting to hit some of the bigger challenges or as I like to think of it – the fun stuff.
A lot of times they bring us in when they wish to be aligned more to product. By thinking about product agility and moving away from just constructing the product iteratively to discovering AND delivering iteratively, product teams can shift and change, adapting to user and market needs versus just constructing something linearly.
I don’t want to say this is a new thing because it certainly isn’t, but we are also seeing more emphasis on the importance of practices that drive technical agility. By technical agility, I mean building software in a manner that allows you to maneuver and pivot within your own codebase and development environments. This means having a degree of responsiveness and automation that allows you to quickly adjust, build, test, and deploy.
We’re seeing more product teams that have this strong desire to be more responsive but are anchored by a legacy codebase that doesn’t easily lend itself to automation. Our technical coaches are helping many of them iteratively progress towards a modern architecture and a higher degree of automation without triggering big-bang rewrites that are expensive, risky, and disruptive.
Any other exciting things happening this year?
We’ve seen tremendous excitement and success around our immersive learning experiences and dojos. We’re currently running various types of dojos for a bunch of clients, and it’s been an awesome way to accelerate learning beyond the traditional, embedded coaching model. Instead of touching maybe a handful of teams a year, we can touch 50 to 100 teams and maybe even more in some of the larger dojos. It’s revolutionizing how quickly large organizations can teach, apply, and scale practices that enable them to build products in a better way.
Can you tell us a little about some of the opportunities that are likely to arise in 2019, both from the industry perspective and internally within the company?
I’m super excited about us working more with product managers and others in similar roles. We’ve been dipping our toes in that the last couple of years and have had a blast working with and even helping to create a number of product management teams.
I’m a product manager by trade, so I appreciate how tough the job is. Traditionally, as an industry, we haven’t done a super awesome job of bringing the product (or business folks) into the team and working cadence with us. Above we were talking about blending discovery and delivery, but that isn’t something development (or IT) can do alone. We must do it together, and product managers have an impactful role to play in that equation. Until we get to the point where the separation between product and delivery is gone, we’re leaving a lot on the table.
After the holidays, we’ll also begin planning for Twin Cities Product Conference 2019. If you have product questions you’d like to explore during that event, please shoot your ideas over to me.
As we wind down with our last newsletter of the year, what are some of the things that you are grateful for? Anything special you would like to share?
We have so much to be grateful for this year; I don’t know where to start.
I’m thankful for our team – all of the DevJammers who have stayed together and kept moving forward even when things were uncertain. They are the best of the best, and they never wavered. So many people stepped up and offered to do more. Everyone’s effort was essential to us being here now.
We’re grateful for our clients so many of whom are more friends than just business partners. They continued to trust us even when things were uncertain.
And to everyone in the extended community, thank you as well! You have no idea how much your support has meant to us the past two years. From seeing smiling faces at events, to getting hugs on bad days, to the outpouring of support that came from you all after David’s passing, please know that you have greatly touched all of us. We are so thankful to get to work and to live alongside such amazing people.
We have a lot ahead of us and a bright future. We’re excited for what’s to come.
Bring on 2019!