News & Insights

25 Business Lessons from 25 Years in Business

Connamara was founded in the summer of 1998. Here we are, twenty-five years later, at our Silver Anniversary. And what better time to look back over a quarter of a century than now after serving more than 200 clients? But numbers don’t tell the whole or only story. The lessons we learned along the way shaped us into the innovative company we are today so we can continue to provide custom software solutions to our global client base.

To gain a deeper understanding, we reached out to our team members and encouraged them to reflect on their experiences working at our software solutions company. Their insights offer a collective perspective on the knowledge we have gained throughout our remarkable journey.

Lessons Learned

About Our Values…

  1. “Treat your employees like adults, give them challenging and rewarding work, and always have their backs.” – Jim Downs, Founder & CEO
  1. “To create a positive company culture, actually doing the work to create one is more effective and efficient than trying to force it.” – Rohith Amruthur, Business Analyst
  1. “Build an employee-centric culture.” – Amanda Peterson, CPA Director of Finance

About Business…

  1. “When making a decision, a bad decision is better than no decision.” – Jim Downs, Founder & CEO
  1. “Do not underestimate the ability of a job well-done to bring in repeated business, rather than forcing your way into new sales.”  – Rohith Amruthur, Business Analyst
  1. “Adaptability is essential.” – Trevor Bush, Senior Software Engineer
  1. “The right people are the key. Whether that is your people, or 3rd parties, work with people who display integrity, drive, and humility.” – Kirk Kozel, Advisor, 15 years.
  1. “While there’s definitely something to be said for sticking with the tried and true, the real game-changers are the ones who boldly step away from the crowd, willing to try what others wouldn’t even consider. That’s where true innovation takes flight.” – Jackson Blankenship, Full Stack Developer
  1. “Differentiate by domain expertise.” – Dan Curry, Chief Revenue Officer, 7 years

On Project Management…

  1. “Don’t take it all upon yourself to make every decision. Give management/the client the information and tools they need to make the decision.” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years
  1. Agile provides a framework to expose relevant information. It’s important to focus on value. If Agile is just a buzzword, forget it. But, if you use Agile methodologies to generate information in real-time, it’s worth it.” John Vatianou, CISO, 17 years
  1. “Projects are undertaken by people. People are complex. When dealing with people, assume positive intent and avoid black-and-white thinking.” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years
  1.  “A favorite Alan Kay quote: ‘Is it really Complex? Or did we just make it Complicated?’” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years

About Software Development…

  1. “There are two hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors. This idea has been attributed to various people.” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years
  1. “Give your engineering team the flexibility to work on what they want, how they want, will ensure your goals and milestones are achieved! Let them play to their strengths!” – Michael Ackley, Senior Software Engineer
  1. “During development, deploy early and often.” – Trevor Bush, Senior Software Engineer
  1. “Your software is only as good as your tests.” – Kirk Kozel, Advisor, 15 years
  1. “Estimates are indeed estimates, and can take longer, can take shorter depending on the project.” – Kevin Siamis, Vice President & Director of Engineering, 5 years
  1. “In UI systems, the first question you should ask yourself is ‘What is the first thing the user sees when they log in?’ Don’t overlook website navigation as a first-class user story.” – Grant Birchmeier, Senior Software Engineer, 15 years

About Our Clients…

  1. “Treat your customers with honesty, respect, and professionalism.” – Jim Downs, Founder & CEO
  1. “Always tell the client the truth. Even when it is difficult, and the news is bad–especially then.” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years
  1. “As a consultant, you look good by helping your client look good to their stakeholders and customers. Not by trying to make yourself look good.” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years

On Hiring Talent

  1. “Have a recruiting process that is repeatable and highly selective. The process should be tailored to give you the best talent that allows you to serve your clients.” – Jim Downs, Founder & CEO
  1. “When hiring someone on the more junior side, go with the person with superior instincts vs. the person with superior skill but bad instincts. Skills can be taught and acquired. It is difficult or impossible to steer someone with bad instincts.” – Mike Gatny, COO, 17 years
  1. “If you are a founder or CEO, hire people to do the day-to-day tasks that you either are not trained for or do not like to do. It is well worth the cost.” – Jim Downs, Founder & CEO

Making it to our Silver Anniversary was no easy feat. We are thankful, indebted, grateful, humble, appreciative and amazed. Here’s to another 25 more!

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