Delivering Continuous Value: Lessons Learned About Software Delivery In Our First 20 Years
For some, 20 years may seem like a very long time. For others, it may seem like just yesterday. Twenty years ago in 2002, the Euro became legal tender. Elon Musk founded SpaceX. Spider-Man became the first movie ever to make more than $100 million during its opening weekend. And, of course, Gorilla Logic was founded by Ed Schwarz and Stu Stern.
Our first 20 years have been filled with amazing partnerships with leading companies across dozens of industries. Together, we’ve built successful web, mobile, and enterprise applications that power next-generation business, and we’re so very proud of all that we’ve accomplished.
To celebrate, we’re sharing some lessons we’ve learned along the way about Agile software development, teamwork, creating an award-winning business, and building the applications that businesses need to thrive in our digital-first world.
What We’ve Learned About Agile
We eat, sleep, and breathe Agile because we know from experience that it increases quality, reduces rework, speeds delivery, and enables teams to deliver continuous value to the business. Whether what’s needed is a lightweight, pragmatic approach or a way to scale across an entire organization, we’ve learned that Agile adapts well to the unique environment and needs of each organization.
“At the heart of our Agile practice is always the customer. We prioritize working closely with the customer and listening closely to the conversation. By doing this, we ensure we understand exactly what’s needed, what can be improved on, and what might be needed in the future. This customer focus helps us go faster, whether it’s in envisioning the product, defining requirements, or delivering value.” —Pedro Araya, Agile Practice Lead
“As consultants, we not only need to be in love with our client’s problems and opportunities, but we need to make sure that everything we do impacts their business now and in the future. I recall working with one client to transition their development approach from waterfall to Agile. We applied the lead-by-example model to teach the cadence, the deliverables, and the workflow. They were reluctant at first, but quickly embraced Agile in a way that will sustain their development efforts for years to come. That was very rewarding work for me!” —Paula García, Senior Product Owner
“As a methodology, Agile wins. It has from the start and continues today to be the methodology that matters. It is how we are successful in software delivery. And Agile, essentially as an intellectual asset, is not the sole domain of onshore. In fact, Agile has turned out to be a common intellectual bridge between onshore and nearshore. Our incredible talent, located nearshore, speaks the Agile language and certainly understands, if not leads, the discussions and engagements we have with our clients. It has become and likely will continue to be common positive ground between our developers and our clients.” —Daniel Berg, CEO
“The most important lesson I’ve learned is to not let the process get in the way of succeeding. Just because we’ve done things a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t be changed for the better. I see all the time how much we are empowered to be flexible with Agile and make it work for each organization. We always coach our teams and clients, helping them on their Agile journey to becoming self-managed and high-performing teams.” —Alice Zárate, Lead Scrum Master
“One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is to keep a pragmatic view. Many people think that Agile is a checklist of things that must get done, but it’s much more complex and more useful than that—it’s a mindset that informs how we think about things and how we do things. In fact, the Agile approach itself has evolved to scale effectively beyond team-level processes and address the organization’s need for data-driven insights that inform marketing strategies, sales initiatives, and strategy development. At Gorilla Logic, we have the unique advantage of a large Agile community with hundreds of talented professionals from different countries and cultures. We are always learning from each other what works and how to continue evolving our Agile practices.” —Oscar Alfaro, Agile Practice Lead
What We’ve Learned About Software Delivery
What makes our team of skilled and experienced software delivery professionals the best in the business is our commitment to continuous learning. Over 20 years, we’ve had the privilege to partner with hundreds of leading businesses across different industries. Every client is unique, with different infrastructures, methodologies, team structures, business models, and project needs. We learn from every experience so that we can flex and adapt to meet client needs.
“We have to meet our clients where they are today, adapting what we know how to do very well to their unique situations. As a team, we respect and care for each other and for our clients. This attention is the key to how we deliver outstanding results and it’s why our clients stay with us for years.” —Dave Barr, VP of Global Service Delivery
“There’s no doubt that coffee helps (we have development hubs in some of the most important coffee-producing areas of the world), but to be successful in the tech world, you need to be trilingual: you have to speak code, client, and colleague. It’s the combination of great technical expertise, leadership, and collaboration that enables us to build strong relationships and deliver amazing results.” —Arianna Reyes, Delivery Manager and Agile Coach
“To create complex and quality solutions that deliver business value, you must have a team where each member can contribute fully. The most important word is ‘team.’ When there is high-quality talent, positive attitude, and proven experience, the team is much greater than any one individual. It’s that extra mile that everyone is willing to go, to brainstorm, propose, organize, collaborate, execute, accomplish, that enables us to deliver value to our clients every time.” —Marianna Santamaria, Director of Technology
What We’ve Learned About Nearshoring
How do you keep a continuous flow of value to the business when you can’t find enough qualified software professionals to do the work? At Gorilla Logic, we pioneered the adaptation of distributed Agile development to the wealth of skilled, talented software engineers available in Latin America. From this, we built a flexible and resilient nearshoring approach that can serve clients either as a primary software delivery model or as a complement to onshore and offshore resources. Nearshoring Agile software development through our development hubs in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico offers our clients the seamless collaboration between teams working within similar time zones, as well as the increased flexibility and reduced overhead that come with an experienced vendor partnership.
“We’ve always believed that great engineering talent knows no borders. Access to great talent, cultural affinity, and time zone alignment make Latin America an ideal geography for complex software development by U.S. companies. So, in 2013, we hired our first nearshore engineers in Costa Rica. At that time, the industry was generally skeptical that development could be done effectively without onsite teams; however, by using the Agile methodology to facilitate high communication and team cohesion across our distributed teams, we were able to create a fantastic engineering experience that ultimately proved the skeptics wrong. Since then, we have opened two more nearshore hubs in Colombia and Mexico, and we’re excited to keep expanding our borders.” —Stu Stern, Co-founder and Board Member
“One secret to maintaining successful software delivery over 20 years is to continuously look for ways to improve. At Gorilla Logic, this is baked into our culture. For example, we always do retros on how we deliver, and it’s strengthened our internal and external feedback loops and honed our skills in adapting to constant change. As a team that works remotely and across geographical locations, this approach has helped us to find innovative ways to collaborate with each other and with our U.S.-based clients that fosters trust, promotes respect, and makes it possible for us to deliver products that delight our clients.” —Hector Gonzalez, Senior Delivery Manager
“Collaborative partnerships are a key factor for success. There will always be cultural differences that will add challenges, but if we look for similarities, we can always find the best ways to work and grow together.” —Gaby Zúñiga, Delivery Manager
“When you work together to deliver products that make happy clients, you also get a happy team of Gorilla Logic developers, making a virtuous cycle. Our teams work remotely and are dispersed, but everyone aligns on always wanting the best for each other and for our clients. A spirit of collaboration makes it all work.” —Gill Richard, VP of Sales
What We’ve Learned About Talent
We’ve learned that talent is much more than a checklist of skills and certifications. We work hard to assemble a best-of-the-best team of talented, experienced professionals—and we don’t stop there. We look for people who are energized by working with, learning from, and inspiring others to reach farther and dig deeper. When we assemble teams of people with this Agile mindset, we unleash more creative problem solving and more impactful value for our clients.
“What makes the difference for our team and our clients is a culture based on trust and our 100% focus on the employee experience all the time. We make sure that everyone feels valued and that no one ever feels like they are just a number. When our team is thriving, learning, and growing, they do amazing things.” —Melania Madriz, Director, Global Human Resources
“Great talent is hard to find. While there are lots of extremely qualified people out there, we look for a strong culture fit–that “Gorilla-ness,” as we like to call it. In fact, we have a lot of people that “boomerang,” leaving to take their next career step and then coming back because of the stability, culture, and support we give. One factor that benefits both our employees and clients is our dedication to keeping a strong core culture as we scale – and we have the history, infrastructure, and culture to make that possible.” —David Amott, VP of Global Talent Acquisition
“We support people in developing their careers and celebrate their successes, and one of the ways we do that is by encouraging people to work together across disciplines. Collaboration serves individuals, teams, practice areas, and clients.” —Sumi Carter, Design and UI/UX Practice Lead
Bring It All Together: Our Heart and Soul Is Culture
What brings everything together and elevates everything we do is our culture. Our “Gorilla-ness” (as you’ll sometimes hear us talk about it) weaves us all together, making us more resilient and adaptable as we grow. You can see it in how we work, how we think, and especially how we treat each other and our clients.
“An important lesson we’ve learned about culture is that it doesn’t grow or scale on its own. You have to build it with purpose into everything you do. You have to teach it. You have to show it. You have to continuously evolve the culture as the company grows.” —Josh Scott, Director, Solutions Architecture
“Surrounding yourself with people from all around the world helps you to expand your mind, to grow and learn, to be more receptive to changes and new ideas, and accept differences between each other. For me, that’s the real strength of the Gorilla Logic community: you feel welcome and accepted, you feel like your ideas count, and that you’re an important part of the team.” —Luz Escobar, Resource Management Coordinator
“A very special part of Gorilla Logic culture is that we genuinely care about people. Making each person feel heard is part of our commitment and key to our unique culture. This allows us to have a team truly committed to listening to our employees and our clients so that we can continue to improve and thrive. We care about and value each person; that’s something hard to find.” —Rut Ortiz, Senior Communications and Employer Brand Manager
Continuing our journey of learning and growth in the years ahead
We’re proud of all that we’ve accomplished so far with our clients, and we’re even more excited about the journey ahead. We see so many opportunities in all the talented people, amazing experiences, emerging technologies, and evolving approaches. Perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned is that we are so much greater together than any one of us individually. In working together and striving to always do our best, we deliver value to our clients that helps them meet their evolving needs and empowers them to compete and thrive.
Above all else, when we are Agile, we are Unstoppable. Now, let’s see what the next 20 years bring.