The Silicon Review
A leading software development company based in Exeter, CodeFirst’s story dates back to 2012. Graham Church was working as a consultant helping companies to build out their development capability and deliver their projects. After doing this independently for some time, Graham set out to build his own company. Having a vast experience in project management and building development teams, Graham assembled a team of first-class developers and founded CodeFirst.
His ultimate goal was to offer premium software and web development services to UK companies. And since inception till date, CodeFirst is doing justice to his goal — providing organizations with access to top software developers and deliver second-to-none solutions that improve performance whilst increasing cost-efficiency.
The company started its journey with a project delivered to a small organization and it was a success. The stakeholders had less experience, so it was more of a one-sided partnership initially, as CodeFirst educated the customer on how the project delivery would work and how delivery acceptance would be achieved.
Today, CodeFirst works with a variety of clients from startups to Global 500 companies in many different industries. It has delivered projects for clients such as IBM, Dell, Medtronic, and FMI.
In-Conversation with the Leading Man of CodeFirst, Graham Church:
Q.What kind of mixed responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
Over the years, we have learned to be flexible in the approach we take when working with new clients. As no two clients are alike, we tailor our development process for each project. We at CodeFirst use different tools depending on what the client is used to and the level of technical expertise they have. We also provide different levels of information to stakeholders on the same project.
Q.What challenges did you face in the initial years of CodeFirst? What can your peers learn from it?
For almost every startup, challenges come as add-ons and we were no exception. Overcoming every single challenge, we have learned that it’s important to only take on projects that are a good fit for us. It’s always tempting to take on all work to grow the business at the initial stages. However, to ensure we have a happy workplace and everyone is motivated towards achieving an excellent result, it’s better to pass on some client projects and concentrate only on those projects which we are certain will have a successful outcome.
Q.A company’s behavior is as important as its economic performance or the quality of its products. How do you interpret this saying?
It’s our belief that if a software startup is outsourcing its software development then the chances of its success is low. Outsourcing a prototype or minimal viable product to raise funding and then building out an in-house team may work, but outsourcing a core competency like development for a software company is rarely successful.
Generally, if a software startup doesn’t have technical competency from the founders, it’s going to be an uphill struggle. At CodeFirst, we share this knowledge even if it’s not always in our commercial best interest.
Q.Is it true that striving for both ‘ethics’ and ‘success’ in a business is a tough feat?
The structure of an organization is an important factor. Investors are only focused on profit and growth. And a privately owned and managed company like CodeFirst probably has an advantage in this respect. We don’t have a board or shareholders monitoring our financial results each quarter which means no pressure to take shortcuts.
Q.Trust is a difficult attribute to measure and a delicate dynamic to maintain. How do you maintain this with your clients?
At CodeFirst, we always try to maintain complete transparency. Our in-house development systems are open to all our clients. Any client stakeholder can log in and see exactly what a team member is working on, at any given time. We even have alerts to automatically deliver any ‘bad news’ if a task is taking longer than expected, so it’s not possible for any issues to fester.
Q.Is CodeFirst a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower’? Do you formulate your own core values?
First and foremost, we are a group of software developers. CodeFirst was founded to bring together the best developers who want to work with the latest technologies and methodologies. So, we try to hire only the kind of people who code at home for fun.
Talking about our values, they are built around smart people collaborating and sharing knowledge. We encourage experimentation and offer flexibility in working practices. Our teams are encouraged to be self-organizing and share any improvements across the organization.
The Future Roadmap
Over the years, CodeFirst has gained the trust and respect of its clients through its world-class offerings. Clients even recommend CodeFirst internally and to other organizations.
Looking into the future, CodeFirst will shape its processes and create a roadmap for futureimprovements. With its best-of-breed software solutions, the company believes that it will continue to grow and firmly establish itself as the UK’s number one custom software development house.
Get in touch: www.codefirst.co.uk
Greet the Chief
Graham Church, Founder & CEO: Graham has over 20 years of experience in delivering and developing software solutions. Prior to founding CodeFirst, he was helping high-profile clients such as Pfizer, Sony Ericsson, Prudential, ABB, and Lycos with their software development.
“We are not in the industry to make a quick buck; we are here to be involved genuinely in successful projects, where we work as true partners with our clients.”