What an incredible 2019 it has been for WebDevStudios (WDS). It has been a year of great growth, expansion, and strategic change. We have attained some new exciting clients, launched a plethora of projects, expanded our remote team beyond international borders, hosted another successful company retreat, and by the end of 2019, we will have donated almost 1300 hours to Five for the Future. Here are some highlights we are proud to share from our 2019 year in review.
19 New Employees
Nineteen new employees in 2019, how perfect is that? Our 100% distributed force is now not only based in the US, but we also have team members in Canada, Philippines, and Costa Rica. One of our newest teammates is also WDS’ first-ever Employee Experience Coordinator, which, according to WDS Director of Operations, April Williams, was one of our hiring goals for 2019.
“Our Employee Experience Coordinator, Julie Sarnik, has come into the company with three primary goals, and she has already made huge improvements in just a few months,” says April. “First, she is assisting with the increasing HR duties of our growing company. Second, she is creating a better and more cohesive experience for WDS employees throughout their tenure here by being the point of contact for their performance, career growth, and their wellness and mental health initiatives. Third, Julie also improves our employee-related processes from hiring to exiting the company.”
Additionally, our engineering department went on a hiring frenzy. “There were two major hiring crunches, one in the spring and another this fall,” explains Greg Rickaby, Director of Engineering. “I conducted nearly 50 interviews and reviewed hundreds of applications. Not only did we bring on 15 engineers, we also added new disciplines, like UI and data engineers. Plus, to help me lead the department, I elevated Will Schmierer to Engineering Manager.”
Looking back at the year in review, Will agrees with Greg’s assessment of our recent engineering new hires, saying, “We’ve added a tremendous group of talented engineers to an already amazing group. The additions have been seamless, like we’ve all been working together for years.”
When asked about goals for next year, Greg says, “We’re looking forward to tackling new technical challenges with Gutenberg, Docker, and pushing the boundaries in the headless WordPress space in 2020.”
Over 150 Proposals Written, 18 New Clients Attained
After seeing the impressive solutions our team can build for our clients in two very specific industries, we altered our strategies to focus on these categories and increased our portfolio of clients.
“As I look back at our year in review, one of the things that stands out is we learned a lot about business development,” says Jodie Riccelli, Director of Business Development. “I had the pleasure of attending the Bureau of Digital Business Development Camp where I got the chance to meet many people in the industry. I also went to DrupalCon and spoke on web trends. We forged new relationships with Big Commerce, Gatsby, Hubspot and Fly Wheel, too.”
Increased the Size of PMO, Moved to New PM Software
“One of the biggest goals this year was to focus on client satisfaction and retention. We did this by extending our client relationships into partnerships by providing excellent client service, improving communications and ensuring quality work,” reports Cristina Holt, Director of Project Management.
Another goal that our project management department set for 2019 was to improve their internal tool set for project managers by making a big shift from Basecamp and Github over to Jira and Confluence. “This has improved task creation and planning, task management, risk management and overall transparency with our clients throughout the project,” Cristina says. “Plus it has made our project managers’ lives easier day to day.”
Additionally, we nearly doubled the size of PMO by adding two new project managers, Jessica Lujan and Christine Dixon. “Jessica is a stellar communicator, someone who connect with all levels in every way, while Christine always knows how to make tough decisions on challenging projects,” Cristina describes her new team members.
The Biggest Year for Maintainn
The WordPress support and maintenance division of our company, Maintainn, experienced its biggest year ever with the addition of small business website design services and hosting. Additionally, Maintainn maintained over 200 websites for 170 clients, launched five new small business websites, and rolled out two new hosting plans drawing interest from new and existing clients daily.
“Client success was our primary mission for 2019, and with every opportunity or despite any challenge, the team at Maintainn rose to the occasion,” states Jim Byrom, Director of Client Services. He goes on to say about our year in review, Maintainn increased its marketing efforts of the new and already-existing services, thus solidifying Maintainn’s position as a trusted WordPress partners.
“Knowing that an expansion of services could also bring an even larger client-base, another key to success this year was identifying gaps in operations and building redundancy wherever possible,” Jim explains. “Everyone at Maintainn understands their primary, secondary and sometimes even their tertiary roles, who they back up, and vice versa. This enables us to be a lean, yet highly efficient team. We are also very thankful to our counterparts on the new implementations side of the house and the collaboration we have with them on a daily basis.”
1,292 Hours for Five for the Future, 26 Team Members at WDS Camp
Since 2014, WDS has been contributing to the WordPress initiative known as Five for the Future. By the end of 2019, we expect to have contributed 1,292 hours by donating time to core and plugin development, WordCamps, and WordPress meetups. And now, there is an official Pledges landing page at WordPress.org where all organizations donating their time to Five for the Future are featured. Giving back is an important part of our values and something that will always be integrated into our company culture.
As a 100% distributed team, our annual company retreats play a big role in our endeavors to sustain a connected and cohesive team. This year’s retreat, known as WDS Camp, was held at Lake Lanier, Georgia.
5 WordCamps Organized, 11 WordCamp Talks Given
WDS can’t stop giving back to WordPress. That’s why our team has spoken at 11 WordCamps, organized five, and volunteered at two.
“WordCamp is one of the biggest reasons WordPress has the market share that it does,” expresses Justin Foell, Senior Backend Engineer. “It is an opportunity to share ideas, meet new people, and spread the love. The diverse WordPress community is fully the reason I’ve staked my name and employment on it. If you haven’t been to a WordCamp, you need to go. If you have been going and you feel like you’re getting diminishing returns, it’s time to step up and speak or volunteer. WordCamp gives back whatever you put into it, and more.”
Looking Back, Looking Forward
2019 has been one of our best years yet at WebDevStudios. One of our primary goals this year was analyzing our entire project processes and identifying areas for improvement. Keeping the focus on client success, it’s important that our tools and processes are optimized towards our client goals.
With the help from our team, we migrated our project management tool to Jira, an enterprise-grade solution. We revamped our discovery process and created a formal strategy department to help translate our client ideas and needs into action and deliver creative solutions that meet, or exceed, their goals. We on-boarded some amazing new clients and continued to grow and strengthen our partnership with existing clients.
As always, our team is the reason we’ve had such a successful year and we couldn’t have done it without each and every one of them. We are very excited for 2020 and continuing to create amazing WordPress powered web experiences for our incredible clients!