Sunday, November 29, 2009

Working at Jayway

This morning I woke up singing, like I do most mornings. :D There are so many things ahead of me and most of them I like to do. One of those things is going to work. I worked at Jayway, for five years, three years ago, and I recently came back.

The reason I left was that I wanted to work with one product and one team. I wanted to do everything right, I wanted to use pair-programming, domain-driven design and test-driven development. I had many plans. It didn't turn out that way, the people on the team I worked with did not want to use pair-programming, DDD or TDD! :(

After a few years I gave up and came back to Jayway and I love it. The company has grown quite a bit, while I was away, and that is a good thing. Three years ago I probably thought that it was a bad thing. It isn't! Three years ago we had to come into a company as resource consultants, but now we, many times, come in as a team or get to do the project in-house. This is a really good thing. Getting to work with other Jayway people is a real Joy. They are smart, motivated and pragmatic. If I leave the project for a week, someone steps into my role and, everything works out fine. People and interactions over processes and tools is very, very true!

There are a many reasons why I think it is so nice to work at Jayway.

Natural authority is a pattern from Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies that states:

The meaning of an authority is a person who knows a great deal about something. Another meaning, in authority, is a person who is in charge. If someone who is an authority also is in authority, this is a natural authority.

The person who knows best, gets to make the decisions. This is the way it is at Jayway. You are not assigned to a project, you are asked if you want to work on the project and, it is OK to say no.

Management. My wife recently told me about a danish entrepreneur, Lars Kolind. He is usually called in when a company is not doing as well as it should. He talked about something that he called Kolindkuren (the Kolind treatment). What he does in this treatment is that he turns things upside-down. And one specific thing he did was that instead of asking managers who they wanted as employees, he asked the employees who they wanted to have as managers. It turned out that no-one wanted many of the managers.

When I think about this and how this would work out if we did the same thing at Jayway, I don't think that anything would change. I am happy with my managers, I don't see them as managers, I see them as collegues who work to allow me to do the job I want to do. If I got to choose who I wanted to be my boss, I would choose exactly the people we have right now. And, I think we all feel the same way. An example of this came a few years ago.

Thomas, the president of Jayway was fired by the board. What happened then was amazing, one week after Thomas was fired, 90 percent of the employees had resigned. If Thomas can't work for you, then we wont work for you, was the clear message that was sent. And it had effect, Thomas is back, the board is gone, and we are all happy.

Competence is the driving factor of everyone at Jayway. We all have different interests, but the common denominator is that everyone loves programming and want to get better at it. Take a look at this weeks competence workshops, and remember that they are all voluntary!

Competence Calendar

Openness is very important to me. If I know why a decision has been made, I can understand why it was taken even though I may not agree with it. At Jayway all the managers write a short daily mail about what they are doing during the day. Every week Thomas updates the wiki with what is going on currently and what is planned for the future. Everything that does not have to be secret is open and available. If you want to find it, it is on the wiki.

If a doctor wants to chop of my leg I would be happier with the decision if I knew that he wants to do this because I have an incurable tumor in the leg, instead of him wanting to practice his amputation skills.

So, that is how it is to work at Jayway (at least in my mind). If you feel that competence and humbleness is more important than fancy titles, come and join us.


My Open Source Software Development Blog said...

Nice to have you back at Jayway!

Anders Janmyr said...

Thanks :)

Michael Nilsson said...

Awesome to read a post like this.
Hope more companies will learn from this.

Viva knowledge sharing :-)