- Many incarnations, one Order Group
- Favorite projects? All the challenging ones
- The future of bespoke software development
- Knowledge sharing - Order Group meetups
- Responsibility - an essential thing for developers
When someone comes to work with us, their professional journey will include very different projects. We have created multiple projects, but it just doesn't happen that two of them would be remotely similar. The core of what we do is uniqueness. - says Michał Dżaman, co-founder of the Order Group.
Michał appreciates continuous challenges. And the best ones are those which turn into working solutions. This approach was his main motivation to create and run a company with a group of friends. And this is how Order Group has been run for over eight years now.
Many incarnations, one Order Group
Events, music, technology - it all comes together in Order Group. Several other founders were active in the Stodoła club, and Michał, in turn, had a love for music.
- From the age of 15, I played in skatepunk and hardcore bands for many years. We formed the first band in high school and kept it going until we all went to study in Warsaw. And this is where another adventure began because I joined Fast Forward. It was a different level. The band played regular concerts, the most memorable being when we supported the American band H2O in Progresja. Unfortunately, this stage had to end - my work and studies took me completely. Nevertheless, this experience has taught me that chasing your passion is the key to achieving great things.
Michał knew the other co-founders, directly or indirectly, from his studies. In the last year, the time has come to decide on the birth of the Order Group.
The beginnings of the company
- The beginnings were quite tricky and turbulent. It was the last year of my studies. There was a clash with the concept of creating a company and writing my master's degree thesis, which ended up in a year-long slippage in my case - but it was worth it.
Order Group, as we wrote in the story from the ExtraORDERnary series about Maciek Sułek, started one afternoon when Michał and Maciek were playing a shooter game, and Paweł Zieliński interrupted them and suggested setting up a company. They agreed for peace of mind and the chance to play on undisturbed. Do they regret it? It seems not. In fact, there would have been no better time to start. They had a lot of enthusiasm, a great team. Michał and other founders felt that something great would come out of it.
- I am a developer by education and passion. I had to learn all the things connected with running a business and managing the team, but it was worth it. I love my job.
In the beginning, the company was to be a group of several brands associated under one name Order Group. However, over time, the idea of brands has become obsolete, and now the company operates as one entity focused on delivering bespoke software solutions.
- My role in the organization has always been a bit of a jumble. Of the five of us is the least defined. In a way, I am both a Tech Lead, DevOps, Analyst, and Senior Developer.
Maciek Sułek was the only one to run projects as a tech lead manager at the first stage of the company's development. Back then, Michał was a developer, and then he started running projects himself, using Maciek's experience. Currently, Michał works as a Full-stack Developer/Analyst, as well as a co-CTO, supporting Maciek.
- At the very beginning, I mainly dealt with the back-end because this was the area I had the most experience in. Throughout the company development process, I also had to take responsibility for software testing, architecture, and DevOps. Now I also lead projects from the technical side - that's what I got into at some point.
Favorite projects? All the challenging ones
-I am mostly driven by complex challenges that can be carried out from start to finish until solved. Every time we had a big challenge that seemed impossible at first and still we managed to deliver it, the satisfaction was like a gem. After all, what is all the work for if something is to be put away? The greatest satisfaction comes when you can solve or improve something from the beginning to the end, and then you can see the effects and impact it has on real-life problems.
Which projects did Michał do with the greatest pleasure? Let's look into the three most prominent examples.
Ticket Club was the first project, which involved serious DevOps challenges The goal was interesting - creating scalable website selling tickets that could handle a huge amount of traffic while maintaining availability for the users. The first trial the website had to endure was when the platform was selling tickets for Lana Del Rey's show, and a lot of people wanted to make a purchase before they run out. And... the website proved its worth.
- It was a success, no doubt. Though it took us quite a while to work out the solution. Apart from back-end development, I was responsible for configuring it to handle thousands of concurrent users. It worked. The page did not go down. It was a breakthrough moment - in terms of outreach and the Order Group brand awareness.
Another amazing and challenging project was ATOS, IoT for aviation.
Order Group is no longer developing it, but what we managed to develop and configure at the time is still in use at the airport.
- I was responsible for preparing the system architecture to be fully functional regardless of potential failure through redundancy and clustering. If one of the servers in the cluster where the application supporting landing in low-visibility conditions is hosted failed, another would take over and maintain application availability. So it was both hardware and software-level protection against outages - a great challenge that we met with great success, especially considering that peoples' security depends on the system here.
There was also a website project for Spacestor, a furniture producing company based in London. We created software that enables users to move from custom furniture design through valuation to production fluently. The product literally goes from the generated 3D design of a cabinet to the customer's living room.
- We started here with a small thing, one or two features, but we were constantly expanding the possibilities within the project, which resulted in a widespread end-to-end software solution.
The future of bespoke software development
- We are really into bespoke projects that solve complex problems. We always look for challenges, which in effect makes the projects interesting. That is the most significant value for me. None of the projects we do are simple.
What will be the future of custom projects in the era of SaaS solutions? According to Michał, it looks promising.
-Clients usually come to us with problems that can not be solved immediately. Our role as a tech partner is to find and create efficient solutions from A to Z. We always do that in line with the client's specific business processes. It is almost always impossible with massive-scale solutions. And that makes our approach unique and lasting. I do not think that the demand for custom solutions will fade away because there are still many problems to be solved that way.
Knowledge sharing - Order Group meetups
Successful custom solutions are something to be proud of. That is why we shared our experiences and case studies at developer meetings or conferences. Unfortunately, it slowed down during the pandemic, but we will soon be back on track with regular knowledge-sharing events. We are especially pleased that this way, we can attract many valuable people to the organization (if you are one of them, go to the Careers page).
One of the first speakers at our meetups was Michał. He has proven to be a great presenter with his diverse background, although, as he says, he is not the biggest fan of public speaking.
- I don't really like giving presentations. But I approach it as a challenge. I struggle with perfectionism - I would like to share as much knowledge and experience as possible within the limited time, so I always have to plan the presentation thoroughly. I always struggle to make it full of valuable information but short enough to keep the listeners' attention. Eventually, it always turns out very well in the end.
Since meetups and our other conference talks turned out to be substantial and inspiring, we managed to attract a few great, independent devs to Order Group through them. And independence and taking responsibility are assets that are particularly important to us.
Responsibility - an essential thing for developers
Self-reliant teams are what we strive for. Since the introduction of Agile, developers' independence and decision-making power has increased greatly. Order Group aims to provide people with projects that require the development of new interesting features, not just maintaining support work and messing around with bugs.
- We want teams to solve problems on their own. Responsibility on the part of people creating software is an excellent opportunity for their development. So we are more into sharing knowledge than providing guidelines for devs. We value their initiative and ultimately want them to take over making the key decisions within their projects. After all, seeing self-reliant teams successfully resolving problems and delivering great solutions on their own is definitely worth the effort.
This is the end of this article, but no one said you couldn't read any further - go to the blog and pick the next engaging article on thrilling tech or inspiring people.