This year marks our 5th year anniversary of being a software development company! There have been many proud accomplishments as well as lots of challenges we faced. So, to celebrate this milestone, we’re reflecting on a few lessons that we learned along the way of being a 2muchcoffee team!
1. Establish a business methodology early on
When 2muchcoffee just started its development, planning and decisions happened in a fairly ad-hoc way. And we had a reason for that 😁
Back in the days, it was a few Angular-enthusiasts who decided to follow their passion in mobile and web app development. That’s how the idea of the 2muchcoffee team was born. Sometime later, from a few people team, we grew into a strong like-minded team with the aim to become a tech partner for startups. The changes in the number of people and widening our spheres of influence made us rethink our business model.
So, we started adopting the Rockefeller Habits. It helped us to establish a framework for the business. We worked on a value proposition and developed a planning routine that eventually helps us to make long-term decisions.
The lesson here? Without business methodology in mind, it’s difficult to provide unique value and make long-term decisions. For a strong foundation of the business, it has to start early.
“Establishing our business methodology in the second or third year would have helped us keep the right perspective when making daily decisions.” – Michael Clark, COO of Marketcircle
2. People around you matter a lot
A huge part of self-improvement is with whom you surround yourself. And while we spend more time with our colleagues than with family members, this statement couldn’t be more true.
From the very beginning, mentorship and collaborative learning were and still are huge parts of our corporate culture. The horizontal structure we had at 2muchcoffee helps to keep communication as a top priority and encourages mentorship opportunities.
The people by working together can learn from one another to develop their skills and knowledge. At 2muchcoffee, we believe that it helps to achieve a common goal, whether that’s completing a task, solving a client’s problem, or designing an application. That is why our devs think of code review not only as a must-do for external codes but also as a great practice in terms of collaborative learning.
3. Be a problem solver, not just a programmer
The 5 years in software development taught us that ability to write code is simply a tool in a toolbox as a problem solver. Solving a problem is a predominant task and how you can solve it depends on the tools you choose.
The most difficult task in outsource for founders is to find a reliable team. A team that can not only build a robust web application but gives a piece of advice. Professionals that come up with a unique solution for a particular client’s problem. We faced several cases when a client nearly developed an app, realized that the solution was not working for the targeted audience -- simply because it was a wrong solution.
Our approach in app development is to start with fundamentals. During the introductory call with a client, we try to collect as much information as possible to come up with the best solution for the particular case. We believe, that learning to recognize the most important problems in front of you work on them are crucial skills in this highly competitive industry.
4. Test and adjust
One of the mistakes we’ve made is allowing projects/ideas to turn into huge things that take a long time to execute. For example, some marketing campaigns and strategies took way longer than they should have. As a solution, we applied the concept of “firing bullets before cannonballs” from Jim Collin’s book Great By Choice. It’s similar to the idea of doing a pilot before filming an entire series.
We’ve learned that it’s much more effective to start small than test and adjust until we will be satisfied with the results. Whether it’s a new idea, a new process, or a new strategy, we ask ourselves how can we test it out on a small scale first and what time and resources we’re willing to invest. This approach is great to avoid investing too much time in something that doesn’t work and to keep the scope of projects/ideas tight.
5. Corporate culture inspires your team to do better
Eight hours per day, five days a week we want to be surrounded by like-minded people. That is why shared attitudes, practices, and values are important to build a dream-team. Think of the corporate culture as a personality of the company. The right approach will attract the right candidates for the job and keep them engaged as employees.
2muchcoffee, for example, has a clan culture where the primary focus is on teamwork. “We’re all in this together” -- the motto we follow (or more like “Part of the Crew, Part of the Ship” from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Ha!). Within the team, we have a highly collaborative work environment where everyone became part of one big family. We tend to work all together on the common goal and do our best to provide unique solutions based on our expertise. The team-building activities unite our team even more. So, corporate celebrations or team milestones and Friday nights out are the best way to build, appreciate and motivate the team.
So, this is our humble list of lessons we’ve learned over the past 5 years. Perhaps for someone, it might sound too obvious, but that’s what we’ve been through. To realize these lessons on the practice and work on them gave us a position where we are now.
The recent five years were a rollercoaster of achievements and challenges. And we can’t wait for more in the future!