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By Mikel Lindsaar

2011-2012 reInteractive reTrospective

The past 12 months have been explosive, exciting and quite a management challenge for us here at reInteractive.

  • We changed our name from RubyX to reInteractive
  • We grew from a team of 5 to a team of 13
  • We relaunched the online store of one of Australia's most well known brands
  • We relaunched our online web service StillAlive
  • We delivered over 12,000 hours of development to our clients up from 4,000 in 2010-2011

But most importantly, we helped a large number of clients achieve their online goals or furthered their ability to improve their business operations.

Every time we turned on a TV or read a newspaper article I was told of how the end is nigh and the economic climate meant we should be battening down the hatches and stocking up on rations to survive the economic doom that was approaching. I decided to not take much notice of that, and instead, in the last 12 months we have tripled in size by every key measure. Our revenue tripled, hours delivered to our clients tripled and the number on our team went from 5 to 13. It has been a wild ride, but well worth it.

What have we done to achieve this?

Well, first and foremost, we did this because our clients believed in us enough to make it possible. Without our awesome clients, we wouldn't exist. Getting the right clients is something that every small business should strive to do. And the clients we have (and clients who are on our onramping runway) are some of the best in the game. Developing strong relations with our clients has been key to our growth, because when you are growing, there are always growing pains, processes that don't work, processes that don't exist yet and the 101 things that can and do go wrong with any business. But keeping really great customer relationships has meant that our customers are happy to give us feedback, good and bad. And when we do occasionally drop the ball, we are able to pick it up quickly and fix it to everyone's satisfaction.

The second thing is our team. We believe at reInteractive that our team members are responsible for the post they are on and the products they produce. We hire some of the best developers in the industry and we trust them to do their job. We avoid micro management like the plague and we encourage them to speak up when something doesn't work as well as it could. One of our company policies is that anyone in our team can originate company policy and get it approved through the right channels, and get it into action in the organisation as a whole. This creates a strong group of trustworthy, high performing individuals who are able to make decisions about how the operation runs. My team members are awesome.

But a great team and wonderful clients will not get you very far, if you don't have a structure in place that allows production to occur.

reInteractive is a distributed team. Our staff work from home in locations all over Australia. So we can't use traditional management methods employed by office-bound companies all over the world. Instead, we need to really trust our team to do the right thing, and give them guidance on what that right thing is. To do this, we write and make known company policy.

Policy exists to assist in expanding the organisation and sharing best practices. We create policy from the viewpoint of getting our team productive, moving in the same direction and removing the barriers that are stopping us from getting the job done. Any policy that is found to be hindering growth, or acting as TPS Reports gets altered and fixed as soon as it is known to be causing a problem. The policy is always available on our internal policy document site, and new team members go through the process of reading through the policy that relates to their post before they start. This means we can grow rapidly without having a new staff member bouncing off the walls and against the other productive team members while they find their feet.

With those three things, we have achieved a lot in the last year.

I'm very proud of the entire team at reInteractive, and they all deserve a huge shout out of thanks. Jason, Dave, Glenn, Chris, Ben, Rimian, Geoff, Warren, Sean, Tim, Tom and now Mika, our newest addition, are all in there working every day to make sure our clients get the best service possible. This team truly works their collective butts off to make sure we deliver what we promise to the best of our ability, and I love working with them every day.

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