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1 Year of Highgroove: A Retrospective


Daniel Rice

I am pleased to announce that this week is my 1 year anniversary as a Developer at Highgroove! Because of this important milestone, I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog post summarizing my experiences with Highgroove thus far. Highgroove centers everything around 4 Core Values (Personable, Optimistic, Trusting, and Craftsmanship) so what has the last year taught me about them?


I will admit, when I changed jobs a year ago I was pretty blunt with some clients. This was brought to my attention because we do retrospectives on projects every week where clients are asked a series of high level questions regarding the projects progress and client happiness. Prior to working for Highgroove, none of my other jobs asked customers about their thoughts in the way that Chris’ Retrospectives do, so I was a little surprised when CBQ approached me to talk about it. In a completely positive way, I was coached on how to deal with clients in a more friendly, less direct fashion, and here I am now a better Consultant because of Highgroove’s never ending open communication ethos.


I’ve always had an optimistic outlook on life in general, but I had a small seed of doubt about my Developer skills when I started Highgroove because I had never had a formal Development position before. My professional career has thrown all kinds of crazy, high stakes situations at me where millions of dollars were on the line. Handling those was really no problem for me. But Sitting in a quite room coding hearing the Espresso machine do its thing with Turntable.fm playing in the background?. A little daunting at first. What I learned very quickly at Highgroove that helped me get over my initial fear was how open and willing to help everyone on the Highgroove Team is. I learned that there are a lot of Ruby, Gems, Test Frameworks, development practices I absolutely did not know, but I was never harangued over my lack of knowledge. To the contrary, I was taught all the things that my cohorts know and caught up. It wasn’t easy, but if it hadn’t been for Highgroove’s rock star team, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as optimistic about my projects as I am now.


Trusting at Highgroove means to trust that Highgroove uses the best processes, employs the best people, and provides the best tools for all developers. For a new guy just joining, it takes trust to throw out everything you taught yourself and learn things the Highgroove way. Like the Trust Fall excersice, I had to dive into the way Highgroove does business and believe that it would lead me to project success. The end result: I don’t get called at night because software isn’t working. I don’t work on weekends because my software is tested before its deployed. I don’t worry about a server going down because we don’t manage servers manually. We use the best processes, the best tools, and we have the best people. One year later, I absolutely trust that the “Highgroove Way” is the way to deliver software.


I dislike things that don’t work. I hate bad software. I can’t stand being woken up at midnight because someone else’s bad code is crashing. One of the main reasons I came on board at Highgroove in the first place was Highgroove’s commitment to delivering working, well tested software. The quality of my code has increased significantly thanks to Highgroove’s weekly code reviews. I have taught myself the art of refactoring, so the code I write is easy to change, easy to understand, and also wrap my head around code I’ve inherited quicker than before joining Highgroove. Apart from these skills, Highgroove’s environment instills a feeling of pride in ones work. I write working code. I write great software. I write code that does not wake anyone up in the middle of the night. That is what Craftsmanship is all about to me.

With all of that said, the last year at Highgroove has been one of the most productive years of my professional life so far. I am very much so looking forward to what the next year will bring.


Daniel Rice

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