There are many who ask what TarkaLabs is all about. Here are a few things that we stand for.
Tarka – science of dialectics, logic and reasoning, and art of debate that analyzes the nature and source of knowledge (Wikipedia)
Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake. — Richard Sennett
After several years of building software, we have come to understand that software building is a craft that one needs to master. This is true for both design and and development and an individual’s skill has an unfair advantage over well structured processes. As an organization, we are looking forward to work with some of the best craftsmen in the industry. Just to note, when I refer to developers and designers as craftsmen or artists I mean it in the same sense as Seth Godin’s uses the term “Artist” in his book “Linchpin”.
The wisest course of action is to take your best shot with a prototype, immediately get it to market, and iterate quickly. — Guy Kawasaki (Art of the Start)
We will work with clients who value our relationship. In turn, we will place our client’s success as our foremost importance while we deliver our services. Many of our practices will revolve around the principles of Agile. While Agile is not a doctrine for us it is most definitely provides us with tools and techniques that help us organize our communication and reduce risk to you. Practices like daily standups, iterative deliverables, weekly “show and tell” and retrospectives helps build relationship of trust and ensures successful delivery.
Here are the key services that we offer.
The goal of every startup experiment is to discover how to build a sustainable business around that vision.- Eric Ries (The Lean Startup)
Many clients may not have the entire vision figured out or they may tend to boil the ocean. We would engage with them to figure out what would the product be and get all the key stakeholders to agree on the product vision. We can organize the discovery as workshop with a few exercises like Product in a Box or using tools like the business model canvas to iterate and validate various business models and then arrive on the shared product vision. The deliverables of this service would be a broken down list of epics, story cards and list for the MVP. This exercise will be done for both internal and external products.
Just Ship, Baby — Kent Beck
Once the product discovery is done either by us or by the client, we then kick off the formal development cycle. We will set ourselves a very high bar in terms of the quality of the deliverable in terms of unit tests, a regression test suite, clean and beautiful code, a CI server test on every check-in and automated deployment scripts. Brennan Dunn, the author of “The Blueprint”, states that the money that client pays the consultant is usually the value he gets divided by the risk that the consultant brings. Thus having an uncomprimising attitude towards quality is a mutual win.
Consulting – Review and Coaching
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.- Albert Einstein
We would like to share our expertise and learnings from our practice to other organizations. We are looking forward to engage with clients for coaching teams on specific practices such as TDD or specific technologies like Clojure or Datomic.
We are also making a concerted effort in producing books and info-products like screencasts on tools that we use.
We will work in a sustainable pace. The time we have will be split into the time we sell and the time we invest on ourselves. The time we sell will be for clients and we invest fridays into making ourselves better. Here are a few things that we focus on Fridays.
- Contribute to an Open Source project
- Build out our info products (books, how to guides and screencasts)
- Write blog posts on our official blog (or help with the editorial)
- Perform technical research on one of our exploration topics
- Work on conference talks or for meetups
- Invite members from other organizations to pair on the stuff we are working on.
In thirty years’ time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed. —Richard Branson
Although we have a cushy office space, we work remotely whenever possible. We would like to work with smart people whereever they are. We use tools like Hipchat, Skype, Webex, Screenhero, tmux and vim to stay connected.
We are a team of “T” shaped individuals. Not only are we good and passionate developers/designers but are also be self driven and communicate well. This is essential for the 20% model to work. We do everything we can to become better craftsmen.