This month, Accesto turned 11 years old. Yes, 11 years since we started writing our first lines of code as a team. Yep… For us, it’s been a really intense time. Intense, but fun as well. And who are we today? After 250 projects, 8.5k Pull Requests and 850k comments in Code Review? After countless hours of coding and liters of coffee drank together? And what makes people stay with us for 7+ years? Let's see...
IT industry is a very fast-paced environment. From project to project, one framework to another. It is not surprising that software developers change their jobs every 2 years on average. But at Accesto, it is... different.
Developers at Accesto work together for 7, 8, or even 9 years. For some of them, it is their first job ever. Others joined us further in their career and stayed for longer. And only recently we started to ask ourselves how come? What makes our people stay with us for 7+ years? While there are plenty of other companies on the market, they choose to stay with us.
One day we were talking to a marketing agency about how to show the potential of our company. How to capture all that is happening at Accesto and draw out to the world why we are worth doing business and working with. Among the questions that were asked, there was one very important question that summed everything up:
Who are you really, from the inside?
We have always been craftsmen, that's for sure! Focusing on good code, like Boy Scouts, delivering meaningful features, clean code, SOLID, and all other principles related to delivering quality. Marketing, on the other hand, was not our strong suit. So we haven't asked ourselves questions on our core values, our mission, and other things that larger companies brag about. Don't get me wrong. It doesn't mean we don't have these. It means that we always preferred doing from talking and naming it.
So when a marketing agency asked us who we really are it took us a while to come to an answer. After some time we understood what was most important in all of this. Having conducted lots of conversations with each other and our employees, we now know what the answer is.
We are a group of professionals, that value the quality of our lives equally the quality of what we do. Truth is, that the best software is created by people who do what they love. And that’s why half of our team has been with us for over 7 years now. And that is why our customers stay with us that equally long.
Sprint retrospective in a hot thub? Why not!
Quality of life
The quality of code and quality of life matter. Yes, it may sound like yet another nice slogan. But this is something that was in us from the very beginning. Something that we had to discover in ourselves to realize how much it's the foundation of our business and has the greatest impact on all areas of our operation. Both qualities are intertwined, and in fact one is a result of the other. We believe that when people can find time and space for themselves at work to pursue their own goals, we are all happy, and our projects benefit greatly from the quality and engagement of the developers. Let's see some of the key aspects that make our lives better.
Owning your time
We all know that time spent at work is best when we feel our work is producing the right results. To get such a result, we need focus, inspiration, and the strength to act. At the same time, we realize that we are professionals who can manage our time wisely. Therefore, at Accesto everyone can arrange their time as they wish, in order to reconcile project work with daily life, health, family, and interests. Want to go out to the gym? Go ahead. Do you play sports during the day? Go ahead, and do it. Want to catch some sun on a beautiful sunny day? You know best when you are productive, and what will cause you to complete your tasks. Just make sure that other team members know when to expect you. Have a look at how it works in practice on our Slack:
Freedom of space
The world is an amazing place, and only freedom will allow you to see it as it really is. We love seeing each other in the office, however, freedom is more important. Do you like South America and have always dreamed of visiting it? Or do you feel Thailand is a better place because of the beaches, weather, and atmosphere there? These are examples of real stories from our developers who have chosen the right place for them. We know that if you decide for yourself where you will work from, you will create a comfortable working environment for yourself, which will be super beneficial for you and our projects.
Sports and well-being
Definitely. Accesto is a sports company. :) We run, swim, bike, and combine it all during a triathlon. We also go trekking and organize sports company trips. If you want to share your passion for a sport that we haven't done yet, we would definitely love to know what you like to do.
Becoming better every day
Someone once said that if a man does not move forward, he goes backward. That's why we pay a lot of attention to the fact that our developers have the opportunity to develop their skills. They also feel a real impact on the development of projects. We are open to technology, new ideas, and we like it when we can work together as a team to solve current problems. It gives you a sense of belonging and creates an opportunity to demonstrate your ideas within the team.
Friends and family
It is also important for us to be relaxed at work. We all want to create a friendly atmosphere that is conducive to well-being and produces super results at work. This makes it so that we don't have to pretend to be someone we don't want to be. At Accesto we all feel like a family, we simply like spending time together. That's why we organize all company events, initiatives, and trips with the idea that everyone can take their families with them. This way we can not only get to know our developers' loved ones better, but also provide them with more family time.
We like our customers
Our clients are similar to us. They share the same values, have a great atmosphere, and want to combine business with inspiration. This allows us to enjoy working together and moments when we spend time together chatting over a beer. That may surprise you, but our clients are at the same time our team members. No matter if you are a developer, client, or CEO. We are all equal, working in one team. Want to blame a CEO or a customer for slowing you down? Feel free and do it! At Accesto we love working on meaningful products that are led by nice and sincere people. That is why we choose our projects and customers wisely.
Workshops with our Irish customer in Dublin
My personal goal, as a CEO, is to make sure that Accesto is a place where everyone works because they want to, not because they have to. Recent feedback we got from Krzysiek ensures me I also do my job well 😉
Working in Accesto is not only a friendly atmosphere but also development opportunities. It is also well-managed and interesting projects, common pursuit of objectives and team support. And what is most important for me is the freedom of managing my own time. The possibility to get out of work in the middle of the day for a workout is a huge plus. ;) ~Krzysiek
Quality of code
The essence of working in IT is to create things that produce specific results under specific circumstances. Developers want to work on interesting projects that are technically challenging and are delivered in the right way and at the right level. For us, the quality of the solution we build is extremely important. Nothing is more remarkable than our client’s feedback. It proves that what we do really works. I love getting emails like that one:
Getting emails like this one... hudge motivation boost 💪
Of course, nothing happens without action. We've developed some very important things that go a long way toward putting our name on the quality we deliver to the clients. Let's see some of them.
Code review? Of course!
Clean Code and SOLID are integral parts of our everyday lives. We approach it in a very detailed yet pragmatic way. Why? Because we know that with some strict rules onboard it’s much easier to find bugs, and the code itself is easier to maintain. Code review is the best way to master software craftsmanship and we are serious about it. So far there have been over 850k Code Review comments on our GitLab. That means 10 comments on the average per pull request. At Accesto it is not enough to write the code, you have to defend it later on!
Learning and sharing knowledge
Have we met before? Recently we’ve had the pleasure of speaking at PHPCon Poland, 4Developers, Boiling Frogs, PHPers Summit and PHPers Day. In 2020 we paired up with the University of Lower Silesia to offer a tailored engineering undergraduate study programme for PHP developers. We do workshops, meetups, and a lot of blogging. Our blog posts are frequently shared on symfony.com
Real SCRUM and meaningful retrospective
An interesting fact is that in some companies there is a lot of talk about SCRUM, but in fact there is no well-structured process followed by teams. In such companies, you also don't work directly with a Scrum Master, who would lead it all solidly. At Accesto, we set ourselves the task of getting this process right because we believe very strongly in the values of agile. As a result, there is a Scrum Master on the team who makes sure that we benefit from the best practices from the Scrum Guide. This way, developers can be sure that the whole project runs smoothly, and they can focus on what is important: working on the code. But do we need a Scrum Master? Just check our post on Do we need Scrum Master in the Project?.
Recent retrospective session with customer
Through Code Review, workshops and trainings, we learn how to write better code every day. But we also learn how to work better together. We do a strong and frequent retro to get an idea of what might have gone wrong. It's a great way for us to make the right adjustments to our processes, so we pay attention to that. Yes, we were skeptical at the beginning, but that was a real game-changer. You can read more about our approach here: Improve your team by retro, not by the rules.
So why people stay with us for 7+ years?
I think it is enough of the CEO talking. It actually doesn’t matter what I say or what we claim. What matters most is what our people think about it. So let's listen to Amadeusz instead, who is with us for 8 years so far:
Working with Accesto, I spread my wings. No one has ever imposed on me the only right way, so I could experiment (I still do). I appreciate the fact that I have direct contact with the clients, that others consider my opinion, that I can share my experience with others, smile under my breath and save my colleagues time when they encounter a problem that I also faced in the past. ~Amadeusz
Or Irek, who just joined us couple of months ago:
Working at Accesto allows me to develop a frontend developer career - interesting and challenging projects and valuable feedback positively affect my development. Moreover, there is a great atmosphere in the company, and a great advantage is flexible working hours - you can leave at any time. ~Irek
No matter where we operate from, when we operate, or how long we work, the important thing is that we can grow and follow what we have the most fun doing. Come in and check it yourself: https://accesto.com/career/