The sponsor interviews – 3months

In the first of interviews with Webstock 2010 sponsors, we chatted with James Robertson from 3months.

1) How would you describe what it is 3months does and the philosophy behind your work?

3months is an Agile consulting and web software development company.

We don’t just “do websites”, we use open source technologies to develop, custom web applications. Our focus is on the robustness and functionality of the application although we back this up with top class web integration (JavaScript/CSS) and great design/UX.

Our mantra is “Agile excellence”. We use Agile methodologies, particularly Scrum, to manage our projects and Agile techniques, especially from XP, to develop our web applications. Our highly regarded Agile PMs use their pragmatic day-to-day experience of Agile in their consulting engagements.

2) 3months is one of the more established web companies in Wellington. How has the industry changed over the time you’ve been around?

The internet is for everyone. Even only 10 years ago it was still considered optional to have your business online. Now everybody, from grandmothers to teens, expects to be able to access information, interact and publish online. As a result Content Management Systems (CMS) customisation work, once our bread and butter, is now a much smaller part of our business. Our main focus now is to help our clients “break the mould” and truly innovate, with fully bespoke applications.

The internet is (almost) the desktop. The web isn’t just about publishing or even Web 2.0-style interaction any more. Using Software as a Service (SaaS) it’s also the place you you go to create, manage and store content – all the things you used to have to do through the desktop. This means that we can build a much wider variety of sophisticated software that just “happens to have” a great web front-end.

The internet is everywhere. Apple’s iPhone, Google Android and others mean that the web is accessible anywhere, any time. This opens up a whole new way for business and individuals to access, create and interact with information and each other. We’re also working on mobile web apps that make use of the unique features of these devices, such as GPS and accelerometers.

3) You’re associated with Esther Derby as your Webstock speaker. Tell us why you’re excited about that association.

Esther is a world-renown Agile practitioner and expert on Agile retrospectives. Other than straight out hero worship, we’re excited because her appearance at Webstock heralds a gradual maturing of the New Zealand Agile community.

When well implemented, Agile methodologies (such as Scrum) hugely increase project success. This is not only great for us and our clients, but also New Zealand’s industry and economy. We look forward to spreading the word still further after Webstock.

4) What other speakers are you most looking [forward] to seeing at Webstock?

Hmmm … *most* looking forward to you say? That’s a tricky one … OK let’s say: John Resig, because we <3 JQuery (yes, we're nerds); Jeff Atwood, because who hasn’t used; Brian Fling because we’re lapping up everything mobile at the moment; and Toby Segaran, because data visualisation is cool, not to mention practical.

5) Crystal ball-gazing – what trends do you think will have the most impact on the web industry in the next 5 years?

Easy: SaaS/the rise of the web-browser as OS and the “mobile web”.

What were once only desktop or corporate-server applications now run happily “in the cloud” and over the web. And, where once only corporate executives had fancy PIMs for organising their golf schedule, in the next five years nearly everyone will have an always-connected, internet smart-phone.

That’s why we’re putting our energies into learning about, and crafting, great solutions in these two emerging areas. Keep an eye on our portfolio over the next year!

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