Friday, December 08, 2006

[log] TenFold and the Universal Soldier

I have always felt very lucky that I joined TenFold right out of college. Sure, not everything came up roses, but I worked for a great manager, made life-long friends, and learned a heck lot.

TenFold's foundation product is a rapid software development platform called "Universal Application" -- It's the application that can be turned into any database-driven business app! The core product team meticulously abstracted, layered, and structured the code, so that any app could be run a any OS, any database, and multiple tiering configurations. An impressive vision, really.

But the more interesting vision, was that TenFold required everyone to be a "Universal Soldier" (Though, no, they never used that term). New hire bootcamp started with the TenFold Writing class -- Everyone must write well and write consistently. Everyone. And when you hired college grads who had no preconceived notion of this-is-not-my-job, anything was possible.

When I started I was a developer. What I didn't know, was that in other "traditional" software development organizations, there are many other titles like QA, Technical Writers, Product Manager, Project Manager, Release Manager, User Support, Trainer, UI Designer, Analyst, DBA, etc -- We were just a team full of developers. Since I didn't know, I thought that must be just how things were everywhere. And why not? We had to figure out how to do everything and I loved it.

Today I work in a traditional organization. We have people with all different titles and we have a great team. But I continue to promote the Universal Soldier philosophy. These days, I explain it as "growing Revenue per Employee" -- If we could to do more business with the talents we have, we will be able to give everyone a fatter bonus check, and look better on our financial report ...

... Ah ha! A win-win proposition.