Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three Year Anniversary

We celebrated three year anniversary of our Company in BCDM, a rather serene place out of the city.


Thanks to Brac for building such a wonderful place for business meeting and recreation.


We cut cake, played tennis, ping pong, and volleyball, which was truly a team event and involved lot of fun. Timing was good, Syed was in the country.


There were some takeaways, too. We rediscovered our existing culture, identified the gap between ‘as is’ and ‘as should be’, analyzed product diversification possibilities, devised internet marketing plan and mulled over future business strategy. We recorded those all in the ScrumPad wiki. Thanks to Syed for ending it with the mesmerizing talk by Jill Bolte Taylor on TED.


So, we are three years old now. My three year old daughter talks a lot, imitates instantaneously anyone she thinks worth imitating, surprises everyone with her newly learned skills, and aspires to grow up faster than she possible can. There must be a lot of similarities in the learning process of a human mind and that of a modern organization. And there must be a lot of dissimilarities, too. An important dissimilarity probably is that a startup can hyperdrive a lot of stages that a human child cannot afford to. But to grow organically perhaps we have to go through many stages in years forward; and who knows we could learn one or two things by observing my toddler, too :).

Click for more pics.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Agilebd – Get Going!

Wow! AgileBD acquired 192 members and counting! About 50 posts in a month! We launched a web site. And we are planning to host an international Agile conference in early next year. What do you call it? The power of networking? Or, the power of passion?

So, that was the seed of a bigger dream, and now it is rolling. Thanks to Zaman, Syed, Fahim, Bas, Sohan, Tim, Hasan, Raisul and Nayeem for their continuous support and encouragement. And thanks to all who are worth mentioning, but let’s visit the group to know how they think and express!

We, Code71, is of course the proud and humble initiator of the group and the site. It really feels great to be part of something greater than yourself, doesn’t it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Implementation of Agile/Scrum, a seed of a bigger dream.

We got quite an overwhelming response for CSM training, but many found the price of the course to be high. But hey, CSM is an international certification, and there was not much we could do with the price! However, seeing a lot of interests in the course, we decided to offer a subsidized (subsidized by us) training to help spread the knowledge of Agile/Scrum in Bangladesh.

We partnered with BDJobs to bring this subsidized non-certification course. They agreed to take the responsibility of marketing. Priced under $100 we designed a two-day training titled “Implementation of Agile/Scrum.” This wasn't an international certification as such, but it was as good as it got with Syed, with his long international experience on Agile implementation, being the trainer. What I reckon, after the CSM training conducted by us, and an Agile training organized by BASIS, this was the third formal training on Agile/Scrum in the country.

Adaptive Enterprise must be pretty serious about Agile adoption. Two of them had just been certified as Scrum Masters, and they sent five students for the non-certification course! Other participating companies were Brain Station-23, Star Computer Systems, CSL Software, KAZ Software, M&H Informatics, Cention AB, AIUB, and Bdjobs Ltd itself.

In the classroom of "Implementation of Agile/Scrum in Practice"

All went well. The participants seemed energized , and found the course extremely educative and inspiring. We plan to continue to offer both certification and non-certification courses on Agile/Scrum. So, keep in touch with us for the announcement of the next course. We also plan to offer a course completely focusing on Agile engineering practices.

Fokhruz Zaman, CTO of Millennium IT, and an Agile enthusiast joined in on the last day. Syed with his US experience and Zaman with his local networking, found each other complementary to take Agile Bangladesh User group (AgielBD) group to the next level. Actually that's where AgileBD's recent momentum was seeded. Well, what about AgileBD?

Let's talk about it next time. Until then, Happy Agile-ing!

Monday, July 27, 2009

CSM training brought to you by Code71

It's been a while since we last wrote the blog. The obvious reason is one of two. There hadn’t been any activity, or there were too many activities to find time to write. Hmmm… it’s actually the second one for us.

To prove my point I’ll post a series of blogs about our past activities in next few days.

Recently (July15, 16) we had conducted the first CSM (Certified Scrum Master) training in Bangladesh. The place was Hotel Lake Shore, Gulshan, Dhaka. Bas Vodde and Syed H. Rayhan trained in the two-day training session.

Initially we were not sure whether we will get enough students for the class since Agile/Scrum is still in its early stage of adoption in Bangladesh. Grameenphone, the largest telco and probably the largest brand in Bangladesh showed its usual leadership by signing up with 12 of their IT professionals. Hats off to them, but well, let’s save it for the last.

A few software companies- Adaptive Enterprise, CodeMate, ValuePlus, and of course, we ( Code71) signed up for the class. Altogether there were 17 students registered for the first ever CSM training in Bangladesh. Not a bad show, after all, ha?

The software companies were excited about the course and showed even more enthusiasm about Scrum after the training. Couldn’t just wait to apply the learning to their work. Grameenphone, however, thought they would need some persuasion at the top level to take Scrum seriously company wide.

Now some thanks giving! Thanks to Syed, who had to jump in on the second day when Bas got sick (thanks to our famous Star Restaurant...:-)). Our new member of Code71 team, Bappy really pulled it all well together. Good job on your first assignment at Code71. And of course, thanks to Bas! He was really amazing with his animated presentation style – all were extremely inspiring and insightful to the students. Looking forward to work with him again… somewhere around, sometime around.

Here is the picture of the first CSM class in Bangladesh.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

SODEC 2009 and TiECon 2009

We participated in SODEC 2009 (the 19th Software Development Expo) in Tokyo this month. It is the only software development exhibition in Japan. The location was Tokyo Big Sight, a huge convention center beautifully built and located near the Tokyo Bay. The Expo itself was large and divided into 6 tracks (Software development, Embedded system, Datawarehouse and CRM, Information Security, Direct Marketing, and RFID). It attracted thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The opportunity for us came through BASIS and EPB (Export Promotion Bureau) with the help from JETRO and Bangladesh Embassy in Japan. This was first time for us. Our goal was to observe and learn about the Japanese IT outsourcing market. Visitors to our booth were surprised to learn that Bangladesh is an up and coming destination for IT outsourcing. We got some encouraging interests in our services, thanks to our interpreter Lokhnath. However, it seems our lack of physical presence in Japan (a.k.a, a bridge team) as well as lack of bilingual engineers on our team are going to be in the way (which we knew already) to our entry into the Japanese market. We also got a chance to meet with JISA and Fujitsu (one of the largest IT services provider in Japan). They shared very good insights into the IT outsourcing market in Japan. Here are some highlights of the Japanese IT outsourcing market,
  • Total size of software and IT services was $75B in 2007
  • Gap between supply and demand is 150,000 engineers
  • IT services outsourced in 2007 was 22,000 man years for $1B
  • Projected outsourcing in 2010 is 38,000 man years for $2B
  • Market share by countries- China 70%, India 20%, and the rest is shared primarily by Vietnam, and Philippines.
Japanese companies are most concerned about the communication and culture than anything else when selecting outsourcing service providers. It seems they are still following Waterfall methodology and value CMMi certification. Agile adoption is in infancy, mostly for in-house development.

We also attended TiECon 2009 at Santa Clara convention center in California. This was our first time at this conference. For those who do not know about TiE, you can find about it from here. It is the largest conference for entrepreneurs so they claim. The theme for this year was "The Bold Entrepreneur." One of the highlights of this event is the focused networking called PowerConnect. However, we did not find it effective (maybe because of our lack of networking ability...:-)). tiECon introduced TiECon 50 awards for the first time. There were some interesting companies on the list. One company needs a mention here is a Japanese company called "Tonchidot." They are working tools to create "Clickable World" using what they called "AirTag." There was also a good lineup of keynote speakers. Among them, I liked the presentation by Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO. He shared Zappos culture and how it came about. He also talked about his current interests in "Happiness." If you haven't heard about Zappos, its culture, and the man behind the success, we highly encourage you to read up following the above links. Zappos is the most transperent company I have ever seen. And they are sharing their learnings from their successes through Zappos Insights.

Although we at Code71 have been focused on building a culture that would allow us to build a sustainable business, we haven't articulated it yet. Look for updates on our culture in the coming weeks and months.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Brand Bangladesh in IT - Home of Agile IT Outsourcing

It's been a while since we last posted our blog. So, you might be wondering what's going on at Code71. Are we still alive? We don't blame you, specially the way the world economy has been going. Things are pretty good at Code71. We have been heads down working on our product ScrumPad as well as client projects. We also have had some changes in our team- couple people left, but also couple people (Arif and Shaer) joined us too.

Now what is this Brand Bangladesh and Agile IT all about? We attended SoftExpo 2009 in January this year. This was our first time. We had a booth where we showcased our ScrumPad product to the local companies. We also organized a seminar on Agile/Scrum project management. The turn out at the seminar was encouraging. At the seminar, we unveiled our vision of what Bangladesh should stand for when it comes to IT outsouricing in the minds of clients. In other words, what should the Brand Bangladesh represent to the buyers of the IT services? The reason we brought it up because we are always having to answer questions like why Bangladesh when we talk with prospective clients. The struggle that we have is whether we should try to "stand out" from India or "blend in?" We could very easily blend in since we are looked at as one of the Indian companies because of our location proximity and cultural likeness to India. The danger of that is becoming "just another Indian company," and as a result forgettable. We will never be able to create a sustainable IT outsorucing industry, if we try to blend in. We must stand out. Indian companies built their brand by building expertise in CMMI among other things, we must build our brand by building expertise in Agile service delivery. We know there are other Bangladeshi companies that are practicing Agile methodologies. We need to collaborate and help each other to improve our adoption of Agile practices as well as spread the adoption among other companies.

A couple of things that we plan to initiate in the coming months. We are organizing an official "Certified Scrum Master" (CSM) training class for the first time ever in Bangladesh to be held in June (15th/16th). The class will be taught by Bas Vodde and Syed Rayhan. If you want to signup for the class, please contact us at

We are also in the process of starting a local Agile/Scrum user group. The user group will provide the platform for us to share and learn how to effectively adopt and apply Agile practices in delivering IT services. The missions of the user group will be:

  1. Promote and help with adoption of Agile/Scrum through knowledge sharing
  2. Improve Bangladeshi companies' project delivery capability
  3. Increase Bangladesh's visibility in the global IT outsourcing industry
If you are working at any Bangladeshi company and using Agile/Scrum and interested to join us in our quest to promote Bangladesh as the "Home of Agile IT Outsourcing" through the Bangladesh Agile User Group, please contact us to

There is a similar effort going on at a cross industry level to define and promote Brand Bangladesh called "Bangladesh Brand Forum." Let's make an concerted effort to establish Bangladesh as the,
"Home of Agile IT Outsourcing"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Best Practices for Amazon Web Services (Amazon Cloud)

We run our ScrumPad (A Web-based project management tool) on Amazon cloud (AWS). We have been using Amazon cloud for last year and a half. We did not have any issue with it until recently, when we found out that we had lost shell connection to our production server. Although the application was working fine, we went into a panic mode realizing that we won't be able to do anything, should we encounter any problem. Once we calmed down from our initial panic attack, we quickly searched on the net to see if anyone experienced the same issue and how they recovered from it. We did not get any hit on it. There is always first time for everything. We thought to ourselves that the solution is easy with AWS. We would just bring up another EC2 instance and point to the new instance. Right? Not so fast. We found out that we were not using elastic IP. That means we need to make DNS change, which takes up to 24 hours to propagate and may result into some data loss and/or service downtime.

This incident helped us to think through how we should be using AWS and here is what we have come up with:

1. Always use elastic IP (behaves like a static ip) to point to your EC2 instance. You can then quickly swap instances without needing to make any DNS changes.

2. Always use EBS (elastic block storage) instead of the storage that comes with an EC2 instance to store your Database data . You can then quickly reattach your data store to a new instance as well as you will not loose your data in the event of EC2 instance failure and have your data automatically replicated.

3. Spread your EC2 instances to different availability zones and regions instead of putting them all in the same availability zone (a physical data center). You can then protect your application from single data center failure.

4. Backup (incremental snap shots) your database from EBS to S3 (Simple Storage Service), which is automatically replicated across multiple availability zones.

5. Create a custom AMI (Amazon Machine Image) for your application from a pre-configured public AMI. You can then bring up a new instance quickly (in less than 15 mins) on-demand and even completely automate server provisioning.

6. Rollout your new release to a new instance(s) when you need to change your AMI (i.e., when you upgrading your DB, OS, Application Server, etc.) and then reattach your elastic ip and EBS to this new instance. You can then quickly rollback to the old instance should you encounter any problem with the new release.
Figure: How to transparently switch to a new instance

7. If budget permits, use cloud management tool like RightScale.

With a few practices in place, you can have your own virtual data center (on Amazon cloud) that was only available to large corporations.