Posts

We’re Launching a Sabbatical Program to Help DevFactonians Grow

When David, Ransel and I set out to design a different type of company over twelve years ago, we were all young and naive. We knew what we liked and disliked about our past employers, and we were driven to create a different kind of work environment: one with a great, constantly evolving culture and a lot of flexibility. As our first joint decision at DevFacto, we came up with a simple mission statement, or rather a simple mathematical equation (since the three of us are geeks): “Happy Employees = Happy Customers”. This equation has stood the test of time and has been our guiding beacon ever since.

Years later, it isn’t just a nice-sounding catch phrase. It’s how we work. In fact, we continuously measure employee happiness and client happiness. We take this so seriously that our executive team’s compensation is closely tied to these two metrics.

To keep our employees happy, we look after their well-being in many different ways. And while the list of our perks and benefits is vast and fairly unique, we felt it lacked something to reward our longest-serving staff. The ones who have been with us for many years, doing great work for our clients and pushing us to get better along the way. The smart, talented and loyal employees that most CEOs dream about. The kind of people that recruiters call me about to express how frustrating it is to try to “poach” them from DevFacto. We owe our success to them. Although we don’t believe in rewarding roles based on tenure, we wanted to celebrate and honour employees who have been with us for a long time. So, after some conversations with our amazing staff we came up with the concept of “Discovery Days”.

“Discovery Days” is a two- or four-week fully paid sabbatical, duration of which depends on the length of service with the company. It’s main purpose? Expand the employee’s horizons as a human being. Employees that qualify, apply for the program by sharing what they will do with the time and how it will take them outside of their comfort zone. It doesn’t need to be extreme, although it very well could be. Anything goes, as long as it meets the following criteria:

  1. You will do something that will help you grow as a person.
  2. You will document the journey and share it with the team via a Pecha Kucha talk.

The program has launched, and the initial reception has been great. I can’t wait to learn about our employees’ adventures and if you’re as curious as I am, be sure to keep an eye on our social media profiles where our marketing team will be sharing these journeys in the upcoming weeks/months. After all, personal growth and self discovery enrich the entire community and not just the individual.

And who knows, maybe we will end up rewriting that simple equation to “Happy Employees + Discovery Days = Delighted Customers.”

 

Everyday IA – The Search for Hot Sauce

Today, I was tasked with picking up a bottle of Frank’s RedHot Sauce for supper. Once I entered the grocery store, I began scanning the large hanging boards that list the 6-8 types of items found in each aisle. My previous shopping experience lead me to look for the hot sauce near the ketchup and I know that ketchup is usually classified as a condiment. Unfortunately, I could not see “Condiments” on any of those large hanging boards. I did, however, see “Mexican” on one of the signs and thinking that perhaps hot sauce wasn’t far from salsa (they are both spicy), I ventured down that aisle. Alas, no hot sauce. Read more

Thinking in the New World of Technology

Technology is constantly changing not just the way we do business, but also the way we think about doing business. It is no longer enough to simply “keep up” with technology or maintain the status quo. What worked in the past, what works now, may not be what sets you apart from competition in the future. Read more

QualityConf 2015

I had an amazing time at QUALITYCONF. I will jump at any chance to sketchnote some great topics from engaging speakers, and QUALITYCONF did not disappoint. This DevFacto event happened from March 27 to 29 at Stone Ridge Mountain Resort in Canmore Alberta. Read more

Effective Business Analysis Pt 1: Why and Who

Business analysis (BA) is key to delivering quality software–not just something reliable with a low defect count, but fit-for-purpose, valuable software. Effective BA results in a functional design that incorporates business improvement that goes beyond stakeholders’ requests. In this two-part blog post, we’ll look at what makes BA effective. Read more

Avoid Trying to Predict the Future with Cloud Scaling

In software development, we’re often required to make predictions about the future with little information. Read more

ECM Governance – Part Five

In this post, I will finish off the definitions of the different principles and then we can move on from there to venture more in-depth about ECM governance. Read more

The Value in Speaking the Right Language

It can take professionals a few years to find their voice. Younger developers often don’t have the experience or the confidence to speak at a conference, let alone guide a room of stakeholders through the complex process of building an application. Read more

Software is Meant to Evolve

Software is meant to evolve. As a consultant, I see many organizations that don’t fully consider this when planning and building systems. This has a negative effect on the quality of a solution and can even hold us back, leaving process stagnant and the business vulnerable for competition to disrupt. Read more

Live Sketchnoting @ UX Camp YEG

I was asked to live sketchnote UX Camp, a day of user experience presentations put on by UX Edmonton. Having sketchnoted UX Camp last year, as well as events like ‘Reimagining Shaw Conference Centre’ recently, my acceptance of invitations like this is pretty quick now. It is fast becoming something I love doing, regardless of the stress involved in drawing at speed in front of a large group of people. Read more