“That is the way it is at Axxess. The best ideas win,” says Howard, who joined the company three years ago as a junior-level developer. “Our CTO is always acknowledging how great our software is but at the same time challenging us to make it better.”
Innovation days, built into the firm’s yearly schedule, give developers time to work on new technologies that they don’t use – yet, anyway — in their day-to-day jobs. And Axxess now sponsors MVP MIX Dallas, a two-day local software development conference. “This came about because a group of developers expressed interest in the conference. Axxess looked into to it, and took it a whole step forward by becoming a sponsor,” says Howard.
Beyond that, Howard and his co-workers feel free to volunteer to take on new tasks as a way to build skills and stay engaged. “You’re in control of your own destiny here. You have a lot of options to try different things and see where you can fit in best,” he says. As an example, Howard knows a PHP developer who wanted to strengthen his C# Express skills and was able to work with another team to accomplish that goal.
Sumido, the web engineer, likewise appreciates a culture where technologists can choose their tools, and cites two examples of times when he was given permission to do just that.
At one point, his team wanted to bring in a technology stack called ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana), which the team thought would give it the ability to easily query application log information to troubleshoot issues and visualize critical events occurring in the company’s system. (Previously, the team had had to dig through logs on a file system to investigate issues.)
Another time, Sumido and his colleagues wanted to move to TeamCity and Octopus Deploy deployment tools to replace an older technology and hand-written deployment scripts with an eye to automating the build and deployment process, making it quicker and more efficient.
In both cases, Sumido credits Olowu and technology director Biki Raghubansh for their support, as they gave Sumido’s team the green light to try the new tools out and, when they proved successful, to go full steam ahead.
“If I have an idea that would make our processes better or something we can implement that I think would improve our software or the company, I can bring that up to Andrew [Olowu] and talk freely about that idea,” Sumido says. “He’ll talk frankly about it and support me in what I want to do.”
Trischia Khouri, 45, an engineering product manager, says she was drawn to Axxess in part because of its commitment to delivering top-quality products. But she says she came —and stays —for other reasons, too, including the company’s warm and welcoming environment along with its open, bright and varied workspaces. “You feel like you contribute to a larger purpose and bigger vision,” she says. “I feel this is somewhere I want to be and somewhere where I can make a difference.”
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.