The Quest for an Agile Company: Eight Years tangly llc

2024 02 02 head

We are an agile and software technology boutique.

We often work as Scrum masters, product owners and technical agile coaches. Regularly we are involved in the architecture and development of software products.

Our collaborators love to coaching, mentoring, and training.

We regularly work at the customer site. We also more and more often work online with our international customers.

How do you organize such a company?

How do collaborators work together?

Should have permanent office spaces or opt for coworking space, and why?

Experience with Coworking Space

In the past, we rented dedicated office desks in a coworking space. The place was nice. The location was ideal for all collaborators. The people were friendly.

The coffee machine was reasonably good. During Summer, we could take a swim in the nearby lake. You only need to take a five-minute walk to reach the beach.

We found out we were often at customer locations and had few opportunities to discuss company business in the coworking space. The other attendees were working in different industries. We had seldom common interests, and regularly we helped them solve their computer problems.

Honestly, I prefer to develop software at home. The displays have higher resolution and quality.

Video calls are more relaxed at home and less expensive in time. No commute time is necessary.

So the coworking approach did not have a lot of advantages for us. We decided to stop renting the office space after one year. We do not see the purpose of having a rented office. The office will most often be empty. Internal meetings are seldom held in office space. We prefer to meet in a nice coffee shop or at a cool location.

Team communication is performed asynchronously using our company chat and synchronously using video calls. Slack is a wonderful platform for this purpose.

Support Various Working Models

You can work at customer site, at home, and at coworking spaces. The decision is based on the project needs and your preferences.

This flexibility requires high-quality notebooks. As a developer, I need a fast machine with a high-quality display. I also like to have my own keyboard and mouse when I connect to external displays. A programmer is more efficient with a US english keyboard and an ergonomic mouse.

When working at home, you should have a desk with adjustable height and a good chair.

We are specialized in the Java technology stack. Sometimes we need to work with C++.

Apple notebooks are an ideal choice for our needs [10]. Cool user interface and powerful command line tools.

Homebrew is a powerful package manager for macOS. We use it to install and update most software we are using. All required software packages for Java and C++ development are available through Homebrew.

As a digital nomad, I have my whole office in one traveling bag [1].

All our company processes are digital and described in our company documentation.

Nurture a Company Blog

The tangly blog exists since the inception of the company. We steadily published at least one article every month. The main themes are agile approaches, technical fluency, Java stack, and coaching experience.

Lately we wrote about our experiences as lecturers at technical universities and workshop facilitators.

2024 02 02 blogging

We had the privilege to work on more than twenty product developments since the inception of the company.

The experiences and insights gained through the interactions with our customers often provided the material for articles.

The blog is a showcase hinting the capabilities, experiences and interests of our collaborators.

Interested parties read articles and can decide if our ideas match the needs and expectations they have. The ideas expressed are cornerstones of our company culture and capabilities.

We are very satisfied with the technological stack used to create and maintain the company documentation site and blog [7] [8] [9].

The Docsy template had a major version upgrade last year. The migration was painless und performed in less than an hour.

The community is supportive and professional.

Company Culture

We are a small agile and Java boutique.

We love coaching, mentoring, and training. We are engineers and software craftsmen. We love developing digital products and writing software.

We are pragmatic and agile.

Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs. It is about deliberately choosing to be different.

The essence of strategy formulation is coping with competition.

— Michael Porter

All collaborators identify with these values and apply them in our daily work.

Alexandra Junghans is the new president of the management board since 2024.

Our company promotes female engineers to the highest leadership positions.

We are proud to have her as our leader. She is a great engineer, coach and mentor.

More subtle ethical values are discussed in company meetings or during coffee breaks. I am fascinated that we have a strong common understanding of ethical values.

It is fun to work at tangly.

Our digital and agile culture sometimes clashes with less progressive organizations.

We had a Kafkaesque experience with the commercial register department of Canton Zug. They have no digital process. Worst no checklist how you to add a chief executive officer to a limited liability company.

We needed five iterations to get the correct wording so that they accepted our request. Each request required the printout of a protocol, analog signing of the paper version, and personal delivery to their office.

You could implement the same process digitally and be through it in less than ten minutes. The state organization already has a certified process to deliver legal documents in both directions for years.

We just smiled and acknowledged we can provide a lot of consulting and implementation to improve such old-fashioned and inefficient processes.

1. I am a fan of the traveler bags from the company timbuk2. I owned their bags for the last twenty-five years and was always satisfied with the quality and look. I pack my notebook, a mouse, a keyboard, a headset, a power supply and some adapters in the bag. The USB-C standard is a powerful improvement. I can charge all my devices using one Apple 140 W adapter.