And here we go again, 2 years ago I published a post about leaving ThoughtWorks to join Sourcesense, 1 year ago I wrote about my first year in Sourcesense UK, it's time to write about the second year.

I guess the biggest change over the last 12 months has to be me taking over as CEO of the entire group around May 2010 and starting to look after Sourcesense as a whole (London, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome) rather than just the UK operations.

It's been an incredibly intense time (and still is) but if I have to pin down the single best thing I did I'd say it was talking one to one, face to face, with every single colleague in every office the week of May 24th. Granted, doing London-Milan-Rome-Amsterdam-London in 5 days wasn't a walk in the park but I got so much energy out of the one to one conversations that it was well worth it. Being based in London means I can do regular monthly one to ones with all the UK colleagues but doing it with all the others takes a bit more time and coordination.

I won't go into too many details about everything that has happened since then, it's way too much! We've been focusing on what won’t change and we know it's a life long effort, it's not just an initiative with an end date.

We've also been busy building a European sales force rather than single sales people in their own little offices and to that extent we've not only hired new sales people but also had the first ever EU sales meeting this past January whereby all the sales people from the various offices flew to London for 2 days. Among the various goals of that meeting the top 2 were:

  1. get to know each other and start building a global sales team rather than a simple workgroup: sales people should help each other across countries and leverage each other experience.
  2. work on each country services offering, approach, marketing and sales strategy, pipeline and so forth so that we will eventually have a single, common approach. The Acid Test here is easy: if a sales person wants to move to another country, he/she would just keep working as he/she is used to.

To get to a common understanding of the drivers I developed a simple mantra that I hope is simple enough to be effective but also comprehensive enough to help everyone drive decisions:

1 - 10 - 100

but I'm not ready to publicly say what those 3 numbers mean since it requires a deep understanding of how we operate.

The mantra has left precedence (for the techies: think order of operations): 1 is more important than 10 that is more important than 100. Also it should not be dogmatic and followed mindlessly, it should be used as a compass and to help make decisions. If, after careful consideration, we decide to break the precedence that's fine but at least we will have done it knowing the impact and the consequences.

At the end of the day that's the real purpose of the mantra: making people stop and question whether they are going in the right direction and, if not, whether it's still a good idea or not (it could be, I just want people to consider the consequences before making decisions).

Other random bits:

More and more colleagues have been getting busy contributing to various Open Source projects, one of them (Tommaso) has also been elected Apache member, another Apache Member (Upayavira) has joined Sourcesense full-time while people like Simone, thanks to all their efforts, have been invited to become committers to numerous other projects.

We spun off a new company in Italy: the Orione Agile team that was part of Sourcesense Italy in the Milan office is now a company in its own right: XPeppers concentrating solely on Agile related services.

Along similar lines we have been working hard on reducing the number of active parternships we've got so that we can concentrate more on the ones we value the most (less is indeed more here, I have enough material for a series of rants/posts on the partnership topic alone!).

Sponsored and presented at a few conferences around the world like Apache Lucene EuroCon 2010, Atlassian Summit 2010 (BTW we were selected as Atlassian Premier Partners), TransferSummit/UK, Online Information 2010, Dev8D.

Organised a few events of our own like Sourcesense and Pentaho: Open Source BI: The Smart and Safe Alternative to Proprietary BI and Free Open Source Enterprise Search European Tour

Did a couple of webinars with partners like Scarlet, Scalable, Redundant, Cloud Enabled JIRA and Empower your audience with Hippo CMS and Enterprise Search (here the video of the session)

I mean, two colleagues have even published a book! Alfresco 3 Web Services

Last but not least we are finally working on a new website since the current one is nearly 5 years old and doesn't really communicate what we do today and as part of this effort we have been aggregating and publishing more and more:

  • Sourcesense on Vimeo: videos of presentations, interviews and talks we'd like to share with anyone interested
  • Sourcesense on GitHub:  started consolidating our Open Source project on GitHub (although the majority of our contributions go directly into existing projects)
  • Sourcesense on SlideShare: self explanatory, isn't it? but please look also at the 49 favorites down the page rather than the 3 at the top