Retrospective: 2 years of F5 Works

Software Development consultancy business hiring company culture

YEAH !! F5 Works team just moved to new dedicated office ~ :muscle:

Here is our new office address, come visit us:
Flat T, 1O/F, Everest Industrial Centre, 396 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong
觀塘毅力工業中心 10樓T
Google Map

Why this post ?

Before we made this decision, we also took this chance to evaluate and plan ahead for near future how we want F5 Works to become. (.. yes, we are that type of executors that think a lot how to improve everyday ...)

In this post, we wanna share about our current state, considerations and decisions recently made, for other business owners in Hong Kong as reference. Hope that we can grow together and learn from each others.

You may want to check out the retrospective post that I wrote around a year ago Retrospective: F5 Works history and future

Office relocation

We had been staying in Co-Working space for around 21 months:

  1. The Loft @ San Po Kong (changed rooms 3 times)
  2. NDNX @ Kwun Tong

We preferred Co-Working space because of the following reasons:

  1. able to adapt business and financial uncertainty
  2. flexibility contract period
  3. flexibility in team expansion rate

Now we are moving to a dedicated office which is binding to "1 year + 1 year" contract, because we are now at a different stage:

  1. more stable in terms of business direction and financial situation
  2. no more Co-Working space can fit 10+ of us
  3. we are determined to grow faster

Company Vision

There was a candidate asking our company direction and also once in an NDNX interview. What is F5 Works company vision ?

We don't really have one defined. We don't have those kind of big dream vision like "Saving the World" or "Saving the Planet". We don't have a solid solution to solve a critical issue in humanity.

The one have in my mind is a very simple one:

Provide everyone a Happy working place

It is a simple statement, but it means a lot to us.

1. Financially Okay

First and foremost criteria to achieve Happiness is salary package and other compensation.

Several of us have family and kids, certain level of financial stability is needed. Provided that everyone loves to work in this company and this business nature (consultancy as main service) for long time, regular pay raise is also needed. That's why we have to keep the company performing better and better.

2. Interesting Tasks

Everyone is keen on working on non-repetitive and challenging tasks. Everyone wants to learn and improve from time to time, we want to a better man everyday.

In order to keep everyone motivated, we need to maintain an attitude throughout branding, sales, marketing, hiring, PM, QA, development to operations. Picking the right projects, hiring the appropriate candidates, applying the correct tech solutions, delivery the best quality of services, managing the efficient communication channels, providing fair opportunities to everyone, etc.

We are trying hard to differentiate ourselves from other local tech companies and make it clear the benefits of working in F5 Works team.

3. Enjoy staying together

We see teammates more than seeing our family. For sure a joyful environment and friendly teammates are mandatory input for us.

It is difficult to quantify/document down the actions we did to achieve that. hmm ... The only actionable item in this sense is hiring the right people. It is not about the working capability dimension. It is about are you willing to stay with this person 8 hours a day, everyday. Do you respect each other ? Do you appreciate other's input ?

Other than hiring, it is more like facilitating cultural fit and spiritual linkage. Any common interest that helps daily interaction ? Any uncommon interest that can inspire other people ? Any non-company related relationship ?

Team Formation

We are currently team of 11:

company operation like sales and marketing, office admin, accounting are mainly handled by 1 of us.

Target formation by late 2018:

If you are interested in joining us, email us enquiry@f5.works

Advices for other new business owners

Advice 1

Have right co-founder(s)

In the past 2 years (actually we have been knowing each other years before forming this company), there were occasions that we needed more than 1 person to make critical decisions, bare responsibilities and take actions without asking every shareholders every time. It requires 100% trust plus 90% vision aligned.

Another reason I personally be so glad to have this founding team is that we can freely commenting on each other's decisions. Nobody is offending others and just purely for each other's good and company's good.

No verbal or contractual commitment was made, however everyone is contributing 100% to get things done. There were lots of frustrations while running this business as well. We hold our hands together and gone through tough situations together.

I :heart: my team.

Advice 2

Scale business by defining Process

In order to scale a business (not necessarily software development), Setting Up a Good Process is the most important step 1.

Everything in business has a Process. For example:

The main point of having a Process on these daily operation is for handing over the responsibilities to others, so the owners and more experienced teammates can focus on stuff that only they are capable to do.

Good Process means:

  1. easy to communicate, understand and follow
  2. repeatable by others
  3. documented down !
  4. adapt changes and improve regularly

Having a Good Process or not determines how scalable and efficient your team can solve problems. And very often better Process means higher profit margin.