Good CTO's don't grow on trees.....or do they?

CTO in a tree

The agile methodology is a cornerstone value of the Pendata business. In October this year, we completed a corporate restructuring, to give the development and R&D tasks an identity separate from the digital pen and product sales function, within the Pendata business. The results was Pendata Labs – a stand alone core R&D team built on the agile vision of teamwork as the essential ingredient in delivering great software within a great team.

To mark this event as a significant and historic milestone within the evolution of the Pendata Dev Team, CTO Gustaf packed up the MacBooks and surfboard, and relocated to Indonesia for a month of working away from home, Balinese style! With tools like JIRA, Slack and AWS, development continuity and process was the easy bit – the way the team responded to working away from home for a month, and the effect that had on the agile workflow, is the subject of this post from the Chief Travelling Officer.

Thank you for that introduction Tom. I was just checking out the 4G connection.

Pendata has worked out of Oneday co-working office in Phrom Phong since January. We have liked it there and the people are awesome, but we feel it is time for something new. We are looking for our own place which has a bit more space so that we can fit bean bags and other things that belongs in an inspirational office.

I was in Bali in October catching up with friends from Australia and after they went back home and I went to stay with a few other friends I know from before. They now stay in a huge villa just north of Sanur. An idea starting to grow that if we have no rent in Bangkok, what stops us from working from here for a while instead? I asked if they would be willing to rent half of their space to us which they thought would be fun as they are a small business as well. This would give the team a lot of time together and an experience and hopefully a great experience.

I asked the team and luckily everyone was able to go even though it was only two weeks away. We confirmed the villa and booked flights and we were almost on the way!

Side note: Our hosts are a company that delivers your content as interactive native magazine app on iOS and Android. Content could for example be your WordPress blog. Check it out, it is cool and is called MagLoft.

Accommodation and work area was both in the villa so we obviously spent a lot of time here. It is really nice place so I never thought this was a problem. One of the big reasons that I am going against what many other small software development companies do and go fully remote is that it is invaluable to be able to sit together. That we did sit together all the time this month also meant that we have been super productive. We will continue to “practise” to work remote a lot, but still have an office we love and like going to.

villa working

bbq

Being in Bali I took the opportunity for us to do some fun activities together and what do you in Bali? Surfing and snorkling of course! Here are some pictures from our activity days away from the villa.

snorkeling

We also went to the famous monkey inhabited Uluwatu Temple for sunset one night.

uluwatu

My friends here are part of a startup community called LiVit. They host startups in a sort of an incubator which is really inspiring. They provide everything needed such as living accommodation, food and every other little thing needed in daily life. They also organise some events around this, for example we have weekly games of futsal.

futsal

As we are an agile team we obviously need a retrospective on this trip. The general feeling was that it was a great experience and that it is something that we should do more of. Activities was great and we should do more of them. The guys liked that having to use English more for natural reasons and that is something we should bring back to Bangkok. They felt themselves (and I did as well) that the longer we were away they grew independent and did things by themselves which is great!

Things we will do better next is that we could be have been in a slightly better location for activities. Surfing for example was almost an hour drive away. We should also do more activities and I think that with better location that will naturally work better next time. I personally like the Indonesian cuisine (even if it doesn’t have anything against Thai cuisine, but nothing have), but it wasn’t that popular in the team. I wasn’t amazed first times in Bali in either, but it has really grown on me.

This is just another thing we are doing to be a company that attracts the best talent, but even more important, the right personality and mindset. Experience is a lot easier to develop than personality. I personally had an amazing month and I am so happy that I was able to give this experience to my team! I love my team and I am super excited about where we are going.

Gustaf Byström

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I am Gustaf and I am co-owner and CTO. I am very passionate about running highly efficient and agile development teams.

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