2016! The Year of Making an MVP
An extremely demanding but a super exciting year is behind us. It was also a difficult one because we have been executing a strategy set in 2014 – to make our own product, Netgen Layouts. The work started slowly in 2015, but we went full throttle in 2016. Trying to make a product and maintaining a service business is not simple at all. Yet, at the same time, it is very exciting with all new kinds of challenges.
In 2015 we invested a lot to set up the product development team and ensure the rest of the business runs more smoothly. In 2016 we were in the trenches with the main focus was on investing in making the product and starting to use it as soon as possible. The number of hours spent on making the product, showcasing the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and open sourcing parts of it was just enormous.
Nevertheless, we continued to develop our business, working with our international clients and partners on more than 85% of our projects.
Investment in our own product
Although we started the work in early 2015, the first actual lines of code for Netgen Layouts were written in September 2015. We dedicated our best engineers to implement the MVP. The task took them almost a year – we got to Netgen Layouts MVP version during the summer. The bootstrapping of the product went well and we already enjoy the projects’s benefits and positive effects. It is a great pleasure to have two of our partners, Keyteq and Prime, recognize that and support us in the endeavor.
We have shared the first information about Netgen Layouts back in July. We also started a couple of projects with it as soon as we were able to, so we could use it ourselves first and prove its value. The first site using Layouts went live in November. With the functioning MVP, we were able to show it off on many occasions and got positive reactions from all.
The people and the community
All this wouldn’t be possible without our great team. It didn’t grow as much as the previous year, but we still welcomed two youngsters this year, Borna and Randy, who were a welcome refreshment to our roster.
An important thing happened just at the beginning of 2016 – we moved to a new office at Savska 182 with two of our partnering companies: Effectiva and CJ Dizajn. Considering we work together on numerous projects, the move enabled a much better cooperation between the people and the teams.
Our community efforts were on par with the prior year. We covered most of the happenings in monthly reports in our News section and published 18 blog posts during the year. Additionally, Slack for eZ Community we initiated is still steadily growing, currently with over 500 users.
Aside from going to many events and conferences, we also organized several:
- Web Summer Camp in Rovinj, our biggest event of the year, with 137 people from 21 countries
- Netgen Business Day in Amsterdam, where Netgen Layouts debuted
- Netgen Winter Meetup iz Zagreb, where we presented Netgen Layouts to the local agencies
- The first Sylius meetup in Croatia, held in Zagreb and co-organized with Locastic and web.burza
The community is all about sharing, hence we did some open sourcing last year as well. Here are some of the projects we shared:
- eZ Platform Site API
- Social Connect for eZ Publish / eZ Platform
- Information Collection for eZ Publish / eZ Platform
- eZ Platform and Sylius 1.0 integration
Check out our Labs section for a complete list.
Since we always like to push the boundaries and try new things, we started a crowdfunding campaign to implement Tags support for eZ Platform UI. Although we didn’t reach the target we set, we still managed to gather a decent amount and decided to proceed with the implementation. We are currently working on the features.
So, what to expect from the upcoming year? A lot. Our focus will still be on Netgen Layouts but without neglecting the community efforts and doing quality work with our partners and for our clients.
These are our aims for 2017:
- Make Layouts available to the community (more info coming soon)
- Do more open sourcing (just wait and see :))
- Organize a few more great events
- Further engage in the eZ, Sylius, Symfony, and CMS communities
- Last but certainly not the least, focus on quality work. Creating great digital solutions and providing our clients and partners with top services remains the core offering Netgen provides.