Business Irish

Thursday 8 December 2016

What I wish I’d known before I started: Jerry Kennelly, CEO of Tweak

Jerry Kennelly

Published 25/09/2016 | 02:30

Software development is often plagued by roadblocks and issues that require smart collaboration by engineers across multiple disciplines to resolve (Stock picture)
Software development is often plagued by roadblocks and issues that require smart collaboration by engineers across multiple disciplines to resolve (Stock picture)

About a year ago, we started whiteboarding some ideas for a brand new service that we would call Tweak Cloud. The vision was simple and clear - make it easier for print buyers to amend their own designs online.

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My colleagues in our research and development team spent months crafting a user experience that was world class - and back-end engineering simplified what really is a very complex process. Our target was to have a working product for the once-every-four-years Drupa world printing fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. This was a 10-day trade fair and it was a window we couldn't afford to miss.

Software development is often plagued by roadblocks and issues that require smart collaboration by engineers across multiple disciplines to resolve.

Thankfully, my colleagues are uber passionate and super-smart! By early May, we started planned heavy testing to ensure a perfect experience ready for our global announcement.

But as we tested about a thousand sample documents on our system, we realised we had set ourselves a bigger task than we'd thought.

We were having issues - and lots of them - that hadn't existed in our earlier test documents.

The heat was on and we were facing a hard deadline in just a few weeks.

What I really wish we knew before we started was how complex this was going to be. We thought there were hundreds of variables but it turned out there were tens of thousands. There was nothing for it but to put every available person we had - and a team of university students - testing the application to find the last bugs.

There were early mornings and late nights in our Killorglin, Dublin and Lisbon offices - to find, fix and retest the niggling issues that would make life tough for users. As the deadline grew closer, as my colleagues and I put the finishing touches to the Tweak booth at Drupa under a three-metre wide Tweak Cloud balloon, our first usable version of Tweak Cloud was shipped. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief as we downed a few beers to celebrate.

Software development never stops. What keeps us going is the real buzz of customers around the world deciding to use Tweak Cloud - a concept that was born on a whiteboard in Lower Bridge St, Killorglin, just a year ago.

Jerry Kennelly is Founder and CEO of tweak

Sunday Indo Business

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