About Successful Engineering

It all started with a blog

In 2008 we, Dan Ackerson and Matthias Marschall, had the idea to start a blog. We considered all kinds of crazy topics and finally registered www.agileweboperations.com. Despite not having a single reader, we posted twice a week. Over 250 posts and a couple of years later, we started Successful Engineering providing products and services to help IT leaders focus their teams on successively delivering valuable software.

Matthias hiking in the rain

We joined forces in 2001

Fate dictated we meet at an Internet startup in Munich – starting on the very same day. It was a great beginning in a loft type office and we sat right next to the helpdesk. Talk about direct feedback ;-)

Our move to Agile started in 2004

Managing a development team in Wrocław, Poland with Gantt-Charts was the optimal breeding ground for agile ideas. It all started with “Uncle Bob” and his book “Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices“. After reading it, we transitioned our team from 6-month release cycles to continuous deployment introducing Scrum and Test Driven Development on the way.

Dan & kids hiking in the Alps

Teaching Agile Methodologies at the university

This was a funny coincidence. Because our CTO was unable to make a presentation, Matthias had to jump in on short notice. One of the audience members was impressed enough to ask him to teach an Agile course at his university. Since 2007, his classes about “Agile Methodologies” at the University of Augsburg, Germany are fully booked and receive very good feedback by the students.

We moved to build larger scale websites

As building web applications for business customers wasn’t such a challenge anymore, it was time to move on. We were both intrigued by websites that had to scale, so we parted paths in our day jobs. Being technically responsible for websites like www.netdoktor.de, www.autoplenum.de, www.helpster.de, and www.pointoo.de taught us a few important lessons about scalability and operations.

And joining start-ups with no processes, challenged us to introduce Agile from the ground up. This provided the mental fodder to keep us working together in the evenings, sharing our experiences by blogging with a growing community of like-minded developers and sysadmins which eventually got the name Devops.

Matthias delivering Devops keynote

The Devops keynote

In 2011, we were asked to deliver a keynote about Devops at the W-JAX 11 conference in Munich to over 900 participants. Matthias took up the challenge with a presentation, which has been described as “highly charged and memorable” on why developers and operation guys must overcome their differences and work together for the benefit of the business.

Delivering valuable software is our passion

We’ve seen too many great engineers suffer within dysfunctional organizations, wasting too much energy dealing with insufficient or bloated processes. However, trying to “fix” problem areas of the business (i.e. introducing Scrum to development) is a sub-optimization that quickly leads to disillusion and misunderstanding. We know that shipping great software requires optimizing the entire value stream from product marketing through system administration.

Dan swimming in the Gulf of Mexico

If you think your team or organization would benefit from a holistic approach to delivering valuable software, then sign up for our newsletter. To get you started, we’ll send you a free copy of our experience report “Transforming a six month release cycle into continuous releases” as a PDF e-booklet.

We look forward to hearing from you!

(Dan & Matthias)

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