The Web Gambit

Thoughts on Web Development

Monthly Archives: February 2009

Top 5 things I learned during my time at Telligent

I learned a lot about software development while I worked at Telligent, and I thought it was fitting to list my top 5 while they were still fresh in mind.

1. Short, focused iterations are not optional.  An iterative-based approach is a must in today’s competitive environment. Tight iterations allow you to nail down attainable estimates, effectively utilize your project’s budget, and create higher quality releases.

2. There is no substitute for a great team. Methodologies, Processes, and Technologies can only take you so far.  You need great talent to make these things work.

3. Tools should not create much friction. Everyday tools that a developer uses for things like Source Control, Build Management, and Task Management should not be painful to use.  Otherwise, a lot of time is wasted and the team is left feeling extremely frustrated.

4. Do what is really needed instead of what people think they want. This can apply to clients, leadership, and peers.  With a client, understand the problem they’re trying to solve and provide a solution rather than blindly implementing what they have proposed.  With your leadership, understand how the information they desire will help them make better decisions so that you can provide it accurately.  With your peers, help them analyze their approach instead of just helping them find their way around one technical issue after another.

5. If you see a problem, take steps to fix it rather than complain about it. If you think your project lacks documentation, start it.  If you think your team needs training on a technology, learn it and train them.  If an in-house tool lacks functionality that you need, download the source and add it.  If an internal process is inefficient, gather the stakeholders and work to improve it.

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My last day at Telligent

Yesterday, February 13, 2009 was my last day at Telligent. 

As announced on the official company blog, there was a Reduction In Force at Telligent yesterday that saw myself and many of my colleagues let go en masse. It was a tough day for everyone, including those who survived the RIF, as many of those affected had been with Telligent for a long time and watched the company grow from its relatively humble beginnings into the leader that it is today.

While I have my own reservations about the decisions that the company made, I understand that in these times of economic uncertainty, pragmatism and confidence are often pushed aside due to fear and doubt. Thus for me, the RIF was not completely unexpected. I hold no ill will toward Rob Howard or the remaining leadership at Telligent, and I wish them the best of luck and continued success in the industry.

What was unexpected however, was the emotional response I received from many of my colleagues as well as the Twitter community. Within hours of my tweeting my lay off, I saw hundreds of Retweets and gained a number of new followers over the course of a few hours. I got a lot of emails as well from members of the community offering job postings and condolences. The community response was overwhelming and I want to thank everyone that has helped get the word out for those of us who are now seeking new employment.

It was a very emotional day for a lot of us. I’ll always have fond memories of the random drawings on whiteboards, discussing tech in the hallways with my coworkers, the random banter in the hallways, and the regular office pranks that we all enjoyed. I think few people get to experience that kind of open culture at their jobs and I will always have fond memories of it. I doubt that I will ever get the chance to work with a more fun, smarter group of people who were as dedicated to their jobs as my former colleagues.

Just like Jason Alexander stated, I truly feel that the people of Telligent were like my extended family and I hope to having lasting relationships both professionally and socially with them for years to come. And I will always cherish the fact that I got to be part of something truly great.

As for myself, my job search officially begins next week after a weekend to reflect.  If you’re interested in speaking to me about any opportunities, drop me a line at kar dot hariharan at gmail dot com.