Within any organisation, corporate culture is widely regarded as one of the most important guarantors of success. Although the term has existed for quite some time, bolstered by highly dynamic corporations such as Facebook and Google, it has only recently begun to be seen for its true potential. The reason behind this long-time dormant status boils down to its inherent nature — while a culture may be positive or negative, weak or strong, it is simply an innate part of every business, often making it nigh impossible to pinpoint.
For clarity’s sake, however, a corporate culture is the collective beliefs and ideas within an organisation which affect how a company does business and how employees behave. In spite of the concept’s newfound prominence in the media, a global 2016 study revealed that only 12 percent of respondents believed their company was driving the right culture. But this raises the all-important question: what exactly constitutes the “right culture” anyway?
An unnamed engineering professor at Yale once stated that if he had just one hour to solve a problem, he would first spend up to forty minutes trying to define what the actual problem is. While a variation of this quote is often falsely attributed to Albert Einstein, this only lends credit to the brilliance of the professor’s statement. Far too often, developers are quick to accept requirements without giving them a second thought, but what good is it to race to address the wrong problem?
Well aware of this practice, Software Planet Group believe developers should be primarily concerned with targeting the root cause of an issue. But this is a lot more complex than what meets the eye. Step into any organisation with a desire to build a software solution and you will hear a different story from every employee. While the lack of consensus may be daunting to some, in reality, it only takes place because everyone has different needs, and thus problems affecting them in unique ways.
What if on a casual sunny afternoon trip down the M25, the driver in a vehicle in front of you suddenly decided to hold his steering wheel tightly in place and ignore everything his eyes were telling him about the road ahead? If you were lucky enough to not be caught off guard, you would soon find yourself witnessing a senseless car crash. Albeit substantially less tragic, this is very similar to what happens when development teams go about their business without adequately paying heed to customer feedback. Eventually, they are bound to veer dramatically off course, and cause others to suffer the results of their recklessness.
Unfortunately, the same is often true even when software companies follow established development methods. The popular waterfall model, for example, scopes out requirements only at the start of a project. As a result, once initial feedback is received and a path has been determined, there is no turning back. Most software engineers will be either unable or unwilling to make any changes to a project.
While the quest to secure investments is a scene all too familiar to startup founders everywhere, every year, millions of people tune into BBC’s Dragons’ Den to catch but a glimpse of the oft-uncertain and thrillingly risky entrepreneurial world. Admittedly, most businesspeople could only ever dream of facing the callously tight-lipped Dragons, yet it remains hugely attractive to seek what is known as “smart money” — funds by investors that also bring their knowledge, experience and enviable contacts to the table.
At Software Planet Group, we strive to give customers a similarly advantageous experience by offering a combination of expert knowledge and a genuinely close business relationship. In fact, SPG put customer success at the heart of everything we do. Over the years, we have had the privilege of partnering with many startups that went on to become hugely lucrative businesses, but this is only half the story.
Our Ukrainian development centre recently took part in a very successful IT Career Day. Even though many of the attending youngsters remained undecided on their future career paths, our trusted mentors were there to share their experiences and give helpful advice. The event gave students a chance to learn all about how to start a career, which direction to take and the common mistakes that should be avoided.
On the western bank of the Dnieper River lies the beautiful city of Cherkasy, Ukraine. Seventeen years ago, at the start of the new millennium, seven visionary freelancers from the area came together to form what eventually became InterLink, Software Planet Group’s very first development centre in the country. Having observed the potential of the Java programming language, the young pioneers decided to invest their hours into learning the technology, as the industry possessed very few Java specialists at the time. As a result, they soon found themselves being flooded with requests to develop software solutions for American and Israeli firms.
Today, our development centre in Cherkasy employs more than 100 professionals split between two separate locations — each including departments of graphical design, quality assurance, technical support, HR and project management. While our main office concerns itself with enterprise development and serves major customers like Xerox and Nokia, our second building is devoted to smaller companies, including a range of Silicon Valley startups.
It all began last winter. We, a team of reckless youths, had somehow been chosen to take part in Software Planet Group’s inCamp internship. Well aware of our stroke of good luck, we set out to not only put our best foot forward, but also create something truly special :). And lo and behold, in the middle of our internship, along came KIOSK.
Now, we are all familiar with that pesky desire to nibble on something tasty throughout the day, but equally, we know how troublesome conventional refrigerators can be! For example, imagine that you’re feeling just peckish enough to grab a chocolate bar. You excitedly skip to the fridge and open the door of goodness only to have all your hopes and dreams dashed by whomever took the last Snickers!
KIOSK helps you avoid such unpleasant situations by mirroring the current availability of snacks in your fridge. The service notifies users when a product is no longer available and even tells employees how much money they have spent on snacks each month.
The global gaming business is at an all-time high. This year, the industry is expected to generate over $150 billion (£116.5bn) in revenue. To anyone truly paying attention, however, this should come as no surprise. Just in the United Kingdom, between console, smartphones, PC, VR headsets and the internet, half of the population plays video games today. Astoundingly, however, despite the industry’s rapid expansion, most software companies have been unable to cope with the unique needs of game creators.
At Software Planet Group, we have worked very hard to overcome this problem. Over the years, our experience with various gaming companies has led us to refine our development process and create an entirely separate system that strives to work for everyone. As a result of this assembled knowledge, however, we have also found that many aspiring game makers are unsure of where to begin. This is why for this blog post, SPG would like to highlight some of the invaluable lessons we picked up along the way.
Software Planet Group have a proud and thriving knowledge sharing culture. Throughout the year, we participate in several events with this very goal in mind. While our InCamp internships give young graduates the chance to practice their programming skills under the guidance of experienced mentors, our periodical Tech Talks allow the same instructors to take centre stage and share their wealth of knowledge among colleagues.
This year, at our Ukrainian development centre in beautiful Cherkasy, SPG’s latest Tech Talk started with a bang. The event was kicked off with complex mathematics — Machine Learning Algorithms, to be exact. As we heard, more and more businesses are scrambling to get hold of machine learning tools, as these are poised to be the next must-have technology to retain relevance in the coming market.