In a small development company, be it software or hardware, there is a lot of ad hoc solutions, and in many cases sub systems that are not connected. Perhaps one engineer is working on a heater upgrade and another on a piece of code for a PLC. Each person has the responsibility of their part of the development. If questions arise, people just talk to each other. This is a fast and really enjoyable way to work - in small enough teams and simple enough projects. That was what I saw at LSS the first time I was here.
Now we are a much bigger company and what we do is vastly more complex. The knowledge at LSS, if I may brag a little, is unique. In order to put the growing team’s growing knowledge to good use we needed to change the way we work. We did - and we do so continuously.
Changes are happening on several levels. The most obvious one for me is in tools and methods to improve software quality. We no longer keep track of versions manually. We don’t have to remember backups and we don’t have to wonder what software is in what machine. We have systems and methods for that.
So what used to be manually managed bits and pieces of code for different parts of the machines we develop, is now a slick and modern code repository, with automatic, encrypted backups, and standardized methods to use it. The goal of this is easy to grasp, and to justify the burden of getting used to it. Making sure we have the right information in the right place.
That goal is equally important on other levels. Perhaps the hardest one is how people in the company share information. Going from the small, fast, with no overhead development team to the larger, more complex, geographically spread team takes some determination. But it’s as necessary as proper backups. This is also done with tools and agreed upon methods, and a willingness to change as we go.
One level that’s of special interest to me is the treasure of information that we have in the machines. Both hard data and meta data. What used to be dull log files used to troubleshoot a build and then forgotten about, is now a part of valuable data that we can draw more in-depth conclusions from. Both from a single machine but more importantly from many. We are building systems to harvest insights and knowledge. Now manually – soon using machine learning.
The changes we are going through to meet the demands of our growth are what makes me truly believe in LSS. Being on board and being a part of this growth, these changes are a challenge. But it’s also really fun and rewarding. I have to stay sharp, and that keeps LSS sharp.
It’s is what makes the impossible possible.