Age of Agility
Age of Agility

Episode 47 · 2 months ago

43. Automating Complex Systems

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Everyone has had a project grow too big too quickly. Even large companies struggle to stay innovative without overwhelming their staff and resources.

Justin Torrence, Founder of Jaybird Technologies, helps companies build applications to manage their complex problems by automating custom processes and streamlining systems of production.

In today’s episode we discuss:

  • Establishing a minimal viable project
  • Adapting while producing
  • Following achievable milestones  

Ready to rethink how complex projects are managed? Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.

You're listening to the age of agility, a quick bass podcast. This is the show for people facing unique challenges with an agility mindset. You're about to hear an interview with the leaders improving processes and using flexible technology to reshape our world for the better. Let's dive in. Hello, my name is nick la Fleur, and that means you're listening to the age of agility podcast by Quick Bass, the show where we talked about managing complex projects better, and this episode we're joined by technology strategist. He's the founder of Jaber Technologies, which helps companies improve their operations with scalable technology. He's here to talk with us about process and continues improvement, some of our favorite things, and he's going to share some insights from his experience working with these companies. Ay, Justin Welcome. Hi Nick, how's it going? Thanks for having me. Glad to have you here. I I'm really excited to talk about kind of what you do and and how you help companies do things just a little bit...

...better with smarter technology. Yeah, I've had a passion for technology since I was, you know, a little one, and it's kind of followed me throughout my career. Seven or eight years ago I was sap super user for a propaying company, and basically what that means is I worked as a liaison between like field operations and it during RP rollout and just kind of stumbled into that through my interest in technology. And then sometime later ended up taking a job at logical position in sales and heard they needed a database administrator. I didn't think I was qualified, but a good friend of mine kind of encouraged me and push me to take a leap of faith, and so I interviewed the director of it asked me to build an application. They were using quick bass and I learned it over the weekend and built an order entry out that...

...impressed the team and so they gave me a shot. I've been working in quick base ever since and still serve with logical position as their manager of enterprise applications, but I moonlight as the founder of jiber technologies and helping build their companies digitally. Well. So you know, what kind of companies do you work with when they trying to do a kind of problems the funds? Yeah, I mentioned logical position, their digital marketing company. They're trying to really deliver the best end end digital marketing experience to their customers. Basically, what that means is delivering insights to their employees about various advertising campaigns, and those insights are actionable. So you know, you might find a digital marketing specialist would get some information and then implement that change in that advertising campaign. I work with a telehealth provider who specializes in chronic care coordination and they need to keep track of hundreds of patient with unique care plans and they have to distribute...

...those care plans digitally and via paper as well through the mail, and they need to deliver that documentation for every one of those patients on a monthly basis. You don't you're about the man being kind of a typical thing these days. That's pretty cool. So you know, when you start working with these companies, what is it about these projects that gets you excited? They all sound pretty complex. Honestly, it's the people who I work with who are getting me excited about these projects when they tell you about their idea for an application or for a product that they're trying to launch. Usually we're doing these over a zoom call. You can almost see a sparkle in their eyes and and you can just tell that they're truly passionate about what they're trying to deliver to their customers, and I think that's really what gets me jazzed up about working with them, and so long as I can see the same vision that they can, that's typically a project that I'll take on. That's so cool.

It's like you. You're in it because you really like helping people kind of reach that. Yeah, I mean, I could create a bunch of applications, but if there's nobody to use those applications or consume those applications, then they're kind of just there. kind of going back to some of your clients and the people you work with, you know, and thinking about when we first met, you mentioned something about process. That really stuck with me and it's that competitive advantage. So I wanted to wonder if you could expand on that little bit. Yeah, I mean you can build all manner of applications in quick base and I've heard the phrase, you know, if you describe it, we can build it, and it's really inspiring. There's a lot of different things that you can build. I think sometimes it's really easy to get lost in that and building some complex functionality that that already exists in the market place. For instance, there's like lots of companies whose entire business model is delivering financial appplications. But I think that if you aren't in the...

...business of, like, selling financial applications building your own, it's easy to get lost in that. A simple financial application makes sense, but when you're building all of the functionality of something that already exists, it distracts from what you're truly delivering to your customers, which is, at the end of the day, as your process. In some cases it may take form of a physical product or an interaction or an experience, but the the process of delivering those experiences, delivering those products, is what makes you special as a company. Oftentimes it's not your financial application that makes you special, unless you sell financial applications. So I would encourage those who really really want to build out robust functionality for something that isn't core to their business to actually focus on what is court of their business and use technology to integrate with things that are already...

...out there. That's great advice. Basically, don't reinvent the wheel. Right. Yeah, I had a friend tell me that early, early on in my career. And it's stuck with me ever since and I try to remember it everywhere I go. It's funny how many kind of lessons, whether it's about work or about interacting with others, where it really like comes down to just that focus on what's important first. Yeah, that's where you can deliver your most value, is through the processes that nobody else knows about that only you can fulfill. So, thinking about kind of the same thing, like when you're talking to companies and you're figuring out what is that core process with them, what is the advice that you find yourself giving people often? Yeah, the first big thing is to have a goal and to sort of really at least an initial goal. Goals can expand and and change, and something that that I find companies can get caught up in is maybe they have a goal and they're trying to achieve that and maybe we're creating this application and we've...

...gotten ourselves eighty percent of the way there and the remaining twenty percent is the really difficult challenge. It's the the stuff that we need to evolve and learn over time. It's something that you if you tried to solve all of it all at once, you would spend too much time focusing on that and you'd never deliver value. Do you never deliver the application. And I feel like I say this all the time, but perfect is the enemy of good. If you can operate on something that's eighty percent of the way there, I think there are a lot of significant insights that you can gather just by using that application, even at eighty percent, that you wouldn't have been able to establish getting your application, trying to get your application to a hundred percent from the beginning. So if you launch it and then you learn from it what the pain points are, you learned the bottlenecks and sometimes you learn the things...

...that you thought were valuable aren't actually valuable, they don't serve the overall application. That's okay, you should take those things out. You should always be removing and adding things back in. Yeah, and it's funny because, like I think, as technology becomes bigger part of the world and how business gets done, you know, these concepts from the developing world start kind of becoming part of typical business practices. So like this idea of continuous improvements so important, but it's actually a really great way to approach things because it's like, you know, I don't exaust yourself trying to run the whole race at once. You know, it's a relays right, so like get to a certain point and then you check in and say, okay, well, we need to do finishness rates exactly. You should always be learning from from your past selves and and trying to use that to improve your capabilities. We talked a lot about kind of how you approach things with businesses and how you kind of...

...get these big projects off the ground. But you know, for somebody who's maybe the only tech savvy person at their company, or somebody WHO's trying to build better practices into that, how they do work. You know what, what's something that they could start doing today? Yeah, I would work on for this big project, establishing what your minimum viable product is, and that just means the core components of the application that contribute towards its success. Establish what you would need at a bare minimum to get this application off the ground, to get it in users hands, and then fill in the gaps from there. You'll learn from building the application, you'll learn from how people are using the application and you'll learn from the type of data that's added to the application, what you need to fill in those gaps with and what you need to expand as you move forward. That's great advice, because unless you know...

...what defines done, you know, or first stage of done, like, how can you improve from the right exactly? So I'm going to try out a new question with you, because we're all about helping organization solve complex projects and I feel like that's something that's pretty common with the work you do. To at what point does a project become complex for you? That's a good question. A project becomes complex when the number of roles and responsibilities that it is interfacing with or interacting with. I mean it's hard to put like an exact number on this. Like if you exceed ten different roles, you know this is a complex application. But there's a certain point, with a number of processes and rules that you're touching, that things start to become complex, and I think when you find yourself at this point where it's like man,...

I'm having a real hard time tracking all of the moving pieces that are that are happening with this, you're probably at a point where you need to reconsider the goals of that application or that project. Get back to core goals, but then you've established these new goals and added all of these components that have filled in the gaps. These components, well, they're probably complex enough to be broken out into their own applications. At this point. You probably have enough of a foundation there to warrant its own attention, assuming it serves the business. Of course. That deserves its own attention, its own development and it has its own gaps to fill. That makes sense. Yeah, I feel like what you were saying about like the number of roles and responsibilities rights, like it's totally you know when there's a lot of cooks in the kitchen and then you're like okay, it's really hard to quantify like at what stage that is. I don't know like how you would tell when something meets the conditions of complex, but I think you know it when you see it.

You know, we talked a lot about work and in some you know, kind of nerdy stuff, but like, how are you doing? What's going on in your world? What are you getting excited for it the next few months? Yeah, thanks a growing great I just bought my first house, which is a really, you know, exciting and also scary experience, specially in this market. That's kind of trazy and wild. Congratulations. Thank you. That's kind of what's top of mind right now and yeah, that's kind of consuming a lot of my world. You can only imagine you've been reading or watching or listening to anything lately. Yeah, I just finished up the most recent series of the witcher and stranger things. Actually just last night just finished the last episode of the most recent season. I haven't seen any, but then you're in good things. They really build the tension. They know how to build the tension now. So is this the final season of it?...

Oh No, they left it on a huge cliffhanger. Hopefully no spoilers there. I think that's expected at this yeah. So where can people follow your work and learn about what shops you so I'm pretty active on on Linkedin. You can follow me or Jaber Technologies. there. Could also visit my website, Jaber technologiescom. Thanks for joining us. I really appreciated your time today and it was really good come versation. A I enjoyed talking to I enjoyed talking here as well. Thanks so much, and to all of you out there, thanks for joining us. On Age of agility, you can find us on quick bascom, slash podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts, and will catch you in a couple more weeks to hear more stories and advice from people managing some of the world's most complex projects. Quick Bass helps organizations see, connect and control the complex projects that reshape our world. Building the future is going to take software as unique as your projects. Let Quick Base...

Show you how to improve your operations for your biggest projects with real time insights and automation. Learn more a quick bascom. You've been listening to the age of agility, a quick bass podcast. Stay connected with us by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player. Please give us a rating of the comment and share episodes you love. Until next time,.

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