May 6, 2022

The search for collaborative, purpose-driven and agile software development

In the eyes of software engineer Robin Meindersma, software shouldn’t be seen as an execution task, but rather a creative process. Successful software can, after all, best be built with the right culture and the right people—not code monkeys. To Robin’s frustration, however, this view is not yet widely held across the industry. Here is his journey of how he discovered and developed a passion for agile software development, and found an employer that aligns with his views.

It all started when Robin read the Phoenix Project – a critically-acclaimed book that details how the DevOps movement radically changed the way people thought about IT and interdepartmental communication in organizations. Robin realized that most successful software projects were accomplished with a team mindset, a clear, unified vision and a focus on continuous improvement and learning.  

He considers the Lean principles to be—in contrast to common belief—foundational for any development, but software in particular. Efficient development involves working in small steps (not falling deep into a rabbithole), getting regular feedback on your work (TDD 😍) and eliminating non-essential tasks to maximize efficiency (You Ain’t Gonna Need It #YAGNI). Being truly agile goes far beyond using Jira or working in sprints and having a retro every now and again. It requires a focus on the entire system, short feedback loops, continual experimentation, learning from failure and constant improvement – in other words DevOps! However, finding an employer that puts these principles into practice is not as easy as it may sound.

Focusing on what’s important

In his previous roles, Robin has seen how demoralizing it can be for the team to prioritize processes over outcomes. In the same way that a soccer team must work together, complement each individual’s skills and be unified in their goals, so too must a software team work in unison. At many companies, however, employees are so disincentivized to work as a team, they may even be playing in entirely different leagues. Robin wanted to find a team where every member is inspired to constantly learn and work together to ensure their collective goals are reached.

Two aspects were crucial for Robin in his search for a new software engineering role: 

  1. An agile and collaborative working environment where everyone’s voice is heard
  2. A clear ‘North Star’ of addressing climate change in a BIG way, using technology!

This search led Robin to gridX.

Robin Meindersma standing in a park
Robin Meindersma, Backend Developer at gridX

With an intrinsic drive to  – as Dave Farley would put it – “build better software faster”, Robin was immediately inspired by gridX’s motto of get.shit.done. More than just a phrase, this mantra embodies the gridX spirit and working process. During the hiring process, Robin was instantly inspired by the software team’s direct approach of addressing customer needs: break them down into small steps, validate assumptions and learn from failure. This allows them to constantly bring new features and products to life, which keeps both developers and customers satisfied. It was not a hard decision for Robin to jump on the opportunity, and become part of the gridX family.

Jumping aboard the gridX rocket 🚀

New joiners’ first impression often says a lot about a company. The onboarding process –getting your computer set up, gaining access to the required resources and integrating into the team – is almost always a pain. At gridX, however, Robin was impressed by the quick and structured onboarding process. He thinks the purpose-driven product vision, together with the comprehensive documentation of the infrastructure and processes and an inclusive team culture, enabled him to hit the ground running and start contributing. Rather than “Did you create a ticket for that…?”, he more often heard, “How do you think we can improve this?”  This is something that truly sets gridX apart. 

Lastly—but definitely not least—gridX works in a hybrid way, meaning that no matter if you are in one of the offices, working from home or remotely from anywhere in the EU, the team makes sure everyone is included and can contribute. Having the flexibility to return home and work from there helps to foster a healthy work-life balance and does wonders for team morale. gridX understands that by working together we can achieve great things from wherever you are. 

At gridX, Robin appreciates that building a positive team culture, particularly in such a stage of rapid growth, is seen as one of the most challenging tasks, but also the most valuable and fulfilling to get right. He genuinely feels that at gridX learning and collaboration come first – there is no place for heroics. There is a true sense that we’re all in this together, working towards a common goal and vision, a vision that is constantly reiterated by leadership. 

With an open-minded culture that encourages feedback, Robin sees that at gridX, everyone has the opportunity to develop in the way that suits them best. At gridX, everyone embraces the power of collaboration, inclusion, agility and purpose and uses this to keep pushing us further and advance the energy transition. 

Come join us at gridX, change the future of energy and get.shit.done!

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