It’s Improving!

It’s Improving Enterprises, LLC.
Improving Enterprises

Thank you to everyone that participated in the recent contest. Since I keep getting pinged on IM over this. 😉 I’ll just say it. It’s Improving Enterprises! I’m really excited to be with a company the meets the criteria that I discussed here and here and the hints that I posted here.

Don’t believe me? Let’s review the hints:

Hint #1 – I am working for a company that is headquartered in Dallas

Lot’s of great companies are in Dallas, but this clue should have ruled out WinTillect and DevelopMenor (the two largest guesses before the contest)

Hint # 2 – The company is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner.

This is a significant accomplishment and recognition for any company. It’s one thing to be a CPLS (Certified Partner Learning Solution) it’s a whole other thing to be Gold Certified.

Hint #3 – If you search for “creating solutions mentoring” on Live.com they show up in the search results, but if you ask Google, “where does Caleb Jenkins work now?” they don’t.

Ok, if you just search for that phrase Improving Enterprises doesn’t come up until the 7th or 8th page (we’re working on that!), but if you combine that with the words Microsoft and gold, then they are number 1!

Hint # 4 One of the founders of the company is a Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA)

This announcement is list on the Improving site. This would have been pretty hard to track down by itself, but should have helped to solidify Improving in your mind if you had already found them. For some reason, I can’t find this on Jef’s blog. I thought that it was there as well. Anyways, go check out his blog – there is a lot of other great info.

Hint # 5 One of the founders of the company is speaking at one of the upcoming Vista / Office 2007 Launches.

That would be Jef Newsom. Go say hi at the Dallas Vista / Office 2007 Launch on February 21st. (I might be there somewhere too!)

Hint # 6 – As I said before, the new company is a Microsoft Gold Partner. I’ll add to that that they specialize in promoting agile methodologies, object oriented analysis and design (strong Java background) in .NET through training and mentoring development teams. They have a Microsoft Gold competency recognition for Learning Solutions and for SharePoint (Office Productivity)… in short they are a CPLS.

Not just a partner – a learning solutions partner

Hint # 7 – They are a training company (above), but they don’t believe in training. Here’s the thing, if you go to a traditional class, as soon as you leave the class you just lost 50% of what the instructor said. With this new company, we focus on a mixture of traditional learning combined with a project mentor for effective knowledge transfer.

Yep. A training company that doesn’t think that traditional training works. Remember in high school algebra how (most) everything would make sense when the teacher explained it in class, but then when you got home, none of it made sense? It’s the same concept. People learn by doing, and people learn best when they are doing something that they do every day… where they do it. You get the idea.

<img src=”http://www.calebjenkins.com/v2/Portals/0/dilbert_certified.gif” alt=”Dilbert Certification” border=”0″

Hint # 8 – A guy named Sean works there. More people work there, but that might give too much away.

Sean Godfrey is our marketing / web guy extraordinaire.

Hint # 9 – They believe that a company’s people are its most valuable asset and are happy to work themselves out of a job wherever they go – in other words… the role of true consultants.

The first part of this quote came straight off the website.

Hint # 10 – I work with a couple of SCRUM masters… it’s cool to see a company run (not just a project) using SCRUM techniques. Every day we have a SCRUM meeting. Once a month, there is a sprint planning meeting. It’s very flat and organic, yet effective and efficient!

This is true. That’s exactly what we do. It’s very refreshing.

Hint # 11 –  Oh yeah, Todd works there too.

Todd Girvin founded the company with Jef Newsom. I’ve know Todd and Jef since the days when I worked at Geniant (before Microsoft). In fact, Todd is the one that did my phone tech-screen for Geniant, go figure.

Hint #12 – The founders of the company met when they worked at Object Space (back in the day).

That was a long time ago… by the way, that’s also where most of the principals from Geniant
and ValTech came from… amazing history.

Hint #13 – I might be lying in this blog post title… maybe

The post title was “…So far, nobody has guessed it!…” that was, of course, a lie. Several people had already guessed Improving Enterprises.

Hint #14 – As I mentioned before, the company specializes in mentoring and training. They also do consulting, Microsoft technology briefings and seminars. Why is mentoring so important? For a couple of reasons. It’s been said that when you take a traditional training class, as soon as you leave the class room, you loose around 50% of the content that was just explained. Also, traditional training can help give you knowledge, but only doing the work with a strong mentor can truly pass on the skills. INMO

This is one of my favorite reasons for working with Improving. They actually care about knowledge transfer and don’t just sell classes. Mentoring is a proven way to pass on knowledge and skill.

Hint #15 – Someone named Jef works there.

Jef Newsom. He spells his name with one “f”. I figured that would narrow down the search!

Hint # 16 – After yesterday’s hints, someone pointed out to me that I’ve only mentioned some guys that work here. So here you go, a person named Rachel works here as well.

Rachel B. McKane. I think that Rachel is at Microsoft more that I was when I worked there. I’m serious, she is the networking queen (it says so on her card.)

Hint # 17 – When you think of someone that can help your team improve their business, you should think of us. We have a slogan, and it could be re-worded “Making things better, that’s how we roll.”

See it? See the play on words… “help your team improve” ha! Our slogan is Improving… It’s what we do. Personally, I want to have bowling shirts made that say “Improving… that’s how we roll.” Wouldn’t that be cool!?

Hint # 18 – No one in the company has a title on their business cards… instead each person has a favorite quote and or tag cloud that represents that person’s unique role and personality.

Yep. This is true.

Hint # 19 – Their website does not use any tables for layout. They use clean CSS the way that it should be used. Use the IE Developer Toolbar to check out Tables vs Div on websites that you visit. Yeah!

Go download the IE Dev Toolbar and check out the Improving site for yourself! This is one of those “attention to details” things that I like about working with Jef and Todd.

Hint #20 (Bonus Hint) – Their initials are the same as the browser that you should be running! 😉

Ok, this was the gimmie. So many people had already guessed Improving Enterprises LLC, that you had to know that IE was them… and I just knew that someone would make a FF comment. And (*ahem* giovanni) they did. 🙂

What about the drawing? Who is the winner?

Now I have 14 people that guessed it right and a total of 76 winning tickets. Wow… great job everyone!
Maybe we’ll do the drawing at tonight’s DemoCamp?

About Caleb Jenkins

Caleb Jenkins is an international speaker, author and 6 time Microsoft MVP award recipient, he currently works for Quicken Loans in Detroit (from his home in Texas). An entertaining and informative speaker who approaches software from a fresh perspective that spans UX, agile practices and technologies for enterprise customers from across the globe. Leading UX product design teams, coaching multi-team agile transformations and architecting and mentoring at some of the largest companies in the world, As a long time community leader and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Caleb is well known for his engaging speaking style, depth of knowledge and creative energy. Founder and Principal Mentor of Proaction Mentors, former UX Manager and Agile Coach, Senior Architect for Six Flags Corporation, Product Architect on a Cloud Marketing Platform, Caleb has made a career out of empowering others while building products and teams that delight customers and solve business needs. You can follow him on twitter (@calebjenkins) or his blog, DevelopingUX.com and if you're still reading this, then you could also subscribe to his blog RSS feed or sign up to receive updates by email