The ins and outs of 12 months at Maldaba

By Thomas 29th April, 2015

Application Framework, Coding, PHP, Software

It’s been a little over a year since I joined Maldaba as a developer. My previous employer was a sizeable publishing house with a large web presence. My tasks are much the same here but while Maldaba has some very large clients, the company itself is rather small. The transition from a large company to a smaller one presented me with some challenges but also with a more efficient and more enjoyable work environment.

One of the more challenging aspects of moving into a smaller, and slightly less formal, environment was that the boundaries of responsibility were less clearly defined. In a larger organisation everyone’s role is clearly mapped out, and you will know who is in charge of what. In a smaller outfit it might not be as clear, and there is a very good chance that what you would expect someone else to be responsible for would be expected by someone else to be done by you. A dedicated QA department, for instance, is something you will likely miss if you have grown accustomed to having one.

Another challenge was getting used to new and different tools and methods for tracking work and projects. While the tools and the methodology are similar, using different tools can significantly impact your work flow. Surprisingly it took me much longer to get used to the new tools for tracking and planning projects and work, than it took to getting used to the new coding standard.

One of the many positive aspects of a smaller environment is that the agility of Agile seems to be a lot more agile. In a smaller company it is a lot quicker to change an element in a project, since most people involved are closer both in space and time. In theory the Agile methodology would mean that the difference would be negligible, but my experience is that the process is much slower in a larger environment. That said, I think that going from one Agile environment to another will do a lot to make the new environment feel a lot more familiar, and thus ease the transition.

Lastly I would like to mention the added bonus of moving from one code base to another, and especially when you go from one in-house framework to another. I found that, while it was a bit frustrating in the beginning having to find and learn all the new methods for accomplishing whatever task I wanted to undertake, it also gave me the opportunity to find and learn all those new methods, and that has taught me a lot. Not a remarkable discovery perhaps, that new experiences add to your knowledge, but also quite easy to forget in the midst of the frustration of having to re-learn the basic procedures and methods.