Cloud Migration Readiness Healthcheck

Cloud Migration Readiness Healthcheck

We have run systems in (and migrated systems to) all the major cloud providers;

Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Google Cloud Engine (GCE)

Microsoft Azure.

RackSpace

Ask us here about a three day Cloud Migration Readiness Health check assessment.

We’ll tell you what you will find easy, what you will find hard.

What you will be able leave unchanged and what you will need to change.

We no have loyalty to any particular cloud provider so we’ll also tell which provider would be optimum for you.

For a Cloud Migration Readiness Heathecheck assessment please give us a shout here

Case Study: Talent Tune Up

Case Study: Talent Tune Up

Talent Tune Up

A European online company was struggling to cope with the growth in demand for its’ service and mature its team capability.

 

It had kicked off a re-architecture project but was worried the project wasn’t on track.

 

An gro.teamer visited them on site and over two days conducted a series of interviews, informal coaching sessions and workshops .

 

Day three was spent writing up a report including recommendations that;

 

The new architecture was essential to the future success of the business. It wasn’t perfect or finished, but it was an important step in the right direction.

 

The appropriate risk control framework should be put around the new architecture and then it should be launched in a way that limited damage in the event of problems.

 

The launch and migration process wouldn’t be without incident..but then was the time to make the step and take the pain.

 

Making people more accountable in the team would raise overall performance levels. Bringing in carefully selected people with “battle scars” from the industry market leader would help.

 

The gro.teamer also quoted Ben Horowitz from “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”…”If you’re going to eat sh*t..don’t nibble”.

 

If any of this rings true please give us a shout for an informal and confidential chat.

Case Study: CTO Jump Start

Case Study: CTO Jump Start

Despite huge time and effort a successful comparison site had not been able to find the “perfect” CTO.

They couldn’t wait any longer so they brought a gro.teamer in to get things moving…

 The issues facing the IT Team are not atypical of a team at that stage of it’s development, and the first impression was that although currently being held back by over-commitment, immature processes and a relative lack of experience (in some areas) the IT team had huge potential – and was capable of taking things up to a much higher performance level.

Of course, an IT team always needs to be executing against an IT strategy that both informs and is informed by the business strategy. This needed to be created , maintained and evolved.

The current IT team structure had evolved organically, and needed to be modified in order to really drive higher company growth.

Although still in transition, the software development process  needed reviewing in order to ensure it is as productive, consistent and efficient as it should be.

Overall the IT team appeared to have a good culture and more than its fair share of talented people.

There were significant indicators to be optimistic that after some work and investment the team was more than capable of stepping up further and playing an even greater role in driving company growth and success.

The gro.team Interim CTO executed the changes he proposed and successfully led the team to higher performance levels before bringing in and handing over to an FTE CTO.

Please give us a shout here for an informal and confidential chat.

Case Study: Creating a pan european IT convergence strategy

Case Study: Creating a pan european IT convergence strategy

A private equity company bought a successful european technology company and wanted to converge and significantly enhance its technology capabilities.

 

Working with the new Group CTO two gro.teamers;

 

 

– Ran workshops with the country specific IT Teams to understand the opportunities and challenges given the new agenda.

 

 

– Highlighted the benefits of an API/message bus/micro services based solution for this business context.

 

 

– Created and proposed a “converge in the cloud” strategy to the teams to widespread acceptance.

 

 

– Prepared presentation collateral for use at the company board approval meeting.

 

gro.team were subsequently engaged to lead the execution of the proposed convergence strategy (working with third parties such as McKinsey and Company).

 

 

Give us a shout here for a discreet informal chat.

 

 

Case Study: Creating a new IT team and capability

Case Study: Creating a new IT team and capability

A London based start up had attracted significant Series A funding and needed to take things to the next level.

Their web site had been built by an external agency and they no internal technical people within the company.

An gro.teamer was brought in (part time) to act as Interim CTO and create an in-house technology capability.

During the first 90 days our gro.teamer:

– Clarified and documented the business strategy and KPIs (the “What”).

– Created a draft technology strategy (the “How”) and then created an API and Platform based Technology evolution strategy.

– Formed a strategic partnership with a recruitment agency.

– Hired a small but great team of in-house developers.

– Took ownership and control of the company’s web site and migrated it to GitHub and Google Cloud.

– Implemented task and product roadmap based workflow and reporting.

– Launched a workplace social collaboration system.

– Improved the web site download speed and took significant friction out of the web site customer experience.

– Initiated major product initiatives in both mobile and brand monetisation.

– Identified, hired and on-boarded a permanent CTO before handing over the baton and moving on to their next challenge.

 

As the CEO put it…”what a difference one year can make..”

If you need urgency clarity and delivery like this give us a shout and we’ll be there.

How To Select New Technologies

How To Select New Technologies

So…we have to do a 2.0 project and re-architect/re-platform how do you go about selecting new technologies?

The finish line and intermediate goals are clear..the team is in place and ready to go…how do we go about selecting technologies to use for our re-architecture?

For Hailo 2.0 I started by sending out a blank grid like this to opinion holders and the smartest people I had ever worked with in the past asking them what they would look at for each layer.

Layer

What Became the Leading Candidates

JavaScript Framework

AngularJS

Protocol

JSON, protobuf

Above the API

Mashery

API

Google golang, Java

Message Queue

RabbitMQ, NSQ, ZeroMQ

Services

Google golang, Java, Scala

Framework

Spring

                  Data Store                          Cassandra, PostgresSQL

This allowed us to narrow down our consideration space and focus on the most likely contenders at each layer. There was a fair degree of consensus in the responses. Very few of the respondents would have not chosen Google golang or Java for the back end services for instance.

If there is one thing techies love arguing about it is which language/framework and so on is “best”. Of course there is no right or wrong answer so the debate can rage with almost religious fervour for far too long if it is left unchecked.

So how do you run an inclusive, exhaustive, collaborative and objective process selecting new technologies in a timely and effective way?

We put aside the first few two week sprints of our 2.0 project to prototype the various important technology options like this;

Sprint One – Message Queue

Sprint Two – Main Back End Language

Sprint Three – Data Store

Sprint Four – Protocol

This process worked well because it was fair and objective and we were staying true to the agile principle of valuing working software. Advocates of particular technologies had to show how much working software they could create in two weeks and we made a decision on demo day at the end of the sprint.

We learnt a lot during the sprints. Advocates of particular technologies changed their mind having tried to work with it and everyone in the team felt they had been given a fair “crack of the whip”.

It took six weeks but we learnt a lot, bonded as a team over friendly rivalries, built some useful prototypes we built on later and avoided lengthy and unproductive debates selecting new technologies.

So the team was in ready and now the “how” toolkit was decided..it was time to attack the first goal.

For the record the team chose protobuf to communicate with our mobile phone apps, Google golang for the API, RabbitMQ as the message broker, and NSQ as the event fire hose queue, Google golang and Java as the services language. (The H2.0 platform supports both but Google golang is definitely the “weapon of choice”). Cassandra is the back end data store.

How To Interview A Developer

How To Interview A Developer

OK so you have to interview a developer

Hiring developers is tricky because software development is a creative process and objective measures of the quality of a developer are difficult.

 

Like with any role, though, what you probably want is a developer with great attitude and great aptitude.

For a developer you need hire across these three dimensions;

 

1) Great technical ability – this is essential but don’t make the common mistake of thinking it’s the only important thing. It is necessary but not sufficient.

 

2) Ability to work in a team – there are enough good developers out there to make sure that you don’t need to compromise on this one. Don’t hire “brilliant jerks”. As The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, put it “Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high”.

 

3) An impact focus – presumably you’re hiring a developer because you want some kind of impact. Make sure you hire people who judge their effectiveness on the results of what they do – not the quality of their analysis, fullness of their investigations or whatever.

 

OK – so how do you interview a developer for these things?

 

We tend to do three “screens” looking at these three criteria before any face-to-face interviews are set up.

 

A) CV/Resume screen. Look at the CV/Resume with these three dimensions in mind.

 

B) A 15 minute “attitude” phone screen.

 

C) A 15 minute “aptitude” (technical skills) phone screen. (Ideally one of your existing developers would do this but services like HackerRank are emerging if that’s not possible).

 

During the attitude phone screen ask them these sort of questions..

 

i) If you were to interview a developer what would you look for? This checks 1) , 2) and 3) above. Do they aspire to having great technical skills? Do they relate value to impact? Do they understand that software development is a team sport?

 

ii) If you’ve had a good or bad day at work what kind of things might have happened that day? This checks 2), 3) and 1) indirectly.

 

iii) What has made you successful so far? 1) and 3) and implying 2) gets a bonus point.

 

If your potential developer passes these three filters then they are “good to go” for the face-to-face stage.

It’s not easy to interview a developer but this kind of approach has worked pretty well for us and enabled us to work with some truly great people.

 

At the end of the day there is nothing more motivating then that.

How To Get A Cool URL Like urgency.clarity.delivery

How To Get A Cool URL Like urgency.clarity.delivery

The whole of a new URL for https://gro.team is urgency.clarity.delivery …just type urgency.clarity.delivery into the address bar of your browser…pretty cool huh?

Recently, without huge publicity, ICANN released a slew of new generic top level domains such as .dentist . organic .delivery etc.

We registered clarity.delivery and set up urgency as a third level domain for that domain. (You can choose any valid word as a third level domain for a top level domain you own. You don’t need to register it). We then did a masked redirect to gro.team.

A good web site hosting provider like fasthosts should be able to everything you need.

Looking at the list (here) throws up lots of brand/marketing possibilities. Have fun!