Mark Gilbert's Blog

Science and technology, served light and fluffy.

10 Years

My company, BlueGranite, turns 10 this year!  I have known one of the original founders since before the company was formed, and I’ve been extremely privileged to have spent the last 8 years as an employee.  It’s dramatic to see where we started out, and where we are today:

Then: We had the three active founders leading the company, and then the developers.  The only real distinction among the developers was “are you a programmer, or are you a graphic designer?”  A very flat organization, indeed.

Now: We have a matrix organization, with some people tasked with managing day to day operations and people, and others tasked with keeping the development team on the leading edge in technology.  The “development team” consists of a handful of smaller teams, each focused on a particular type of solution.

Then: We were a custom solution company.  As a result, we would take on any kind of software project for any company.

Now: We’ve focused our energies on solutions for what Microsoft calls the “Information Worker”, specifically helping companies  collaborate better, extract useful information (not just data) out of their existing systems, and helping to automate office activities.

Then: We would get a few requirements together, start writing code from scratch, and hope that the details worked themselves out through a lot of hard work.

Now: We are moving towards an agile requirements and development methodology, are leveraging platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint and frameworks such as Microfour StrataFrame to our benefit, and have a formal Project Management Office that formulates processes to make sure details aren’t lost.

The path from “then” to “now” hasn’t been an easy one.  In fact, BlueGranite has a track record of reinventing itself almost every year.  On the surface, it may seem that we can’t figure out what we want to do, or how we want to do it.  There is probably some truth in that, but I think there is more to it.  It shows that even after 10 years we aren’t content to rest on our laurels.  We want to find ways to do things more efficiently, and if we determine that drastic changes are necessary, we aren’t afraid to make them.  In the past, nothing has been considered sacred – company structure, our service offerings, our development processes – nothing..  Over the last 10 years, we’ve made countless changes to every aspect of the business – all with the goal of becoming a better company.

Have we made some mistakes along the way?  Absolutely. 

Have we had projects go bad in the past?  You bet.

Could we have gotten to where we are today by maintaining the structure, product offerings, and development processes that we had when we started?  Not a chance.

January 26, 2007 - Posted by | General

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