Hello! This is my first blog post at Web Courseworks. I am Mark Sehmer, Web Courseworks’ first Chief Technology Officer.

This is an exciting moment in Web Courseworks’ long story! Our people and organization are on a journey of transformation from a traditional project and hosting company to a modern SaaS (software as a service) business. 

What is SaaS?

Salesforce defines SaaS as “a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.”

How does SaaS benefit customers and their learners?

Successfully completing the transformation means that we can extend all the valuable benefits from the economies of scale in SaaS to our customers and their learners. The transformation touches every part of our business and people from culture to process, sales to operations, organizational design, relationships, technology, professional development, and product development.

Web Courseworks is currently working to build and transform our SaaS services and yield results such as reduced time to benefit, lower costs, faster upgrades, ease of use, and seamless integration. Our end goal is to provide a pleasant experience and fast results when working with our partners and their learners.

This week the Web Courseworks, the Product Development team took a major step forward towards our transformation goal during a three-day onsite event, cleverly named: 

Gettin’ SaaSy, also known as Yes We Kan-ban…

 

      • Water-Sprint-Fall and separate spreadsheets to Lean, Kanban, and Kaizen
      • Functional teams to autonomous cross-functional teams (Squads) bound to discreet missions and key results aligned with our organization’s objectives
      • Writing requirements at the beginning to testing the four product risks cheaply at the beginning
      • Push and delegation systems to pull systems
      • Hierarchy-based decision-making to distributed ownership
      • High fidelity estimating to low fidelity sizing and velocity
      • Deadlines and due dates to high integrity commitments
      • Understanding what’s happening through meetings or Slack to data in Jira that we can trust

Our Business Analyst team is skilled in Product Management, our Release Coordinator is skilled up to Delivery Management. 

This is all a BIG deal. What I’m most proud of are the empowered people at Web Courseworks who took full ownership of these changes.

Over the next four months, I plan to post something about every aspect of how we do Product Development from our foundation of culture to shipping code.  

Questions about product development?

Photo of a white male with glasses
Mark Sehmer

Chief Technology Officer

Web Courseworks

About the Author

Mark is a proven leader who brings a wealth of experience leading high-caliber teams and modernizing business through culture, organizational design, employee empowerment, and product innovation. He graduated with an Industrial Technology degree at a time in which the internet was evolving rapidly. Mark participated in early technology innovations such as Mosaic (first web browser) and email standards. His software industry experience taught him early on the inadequacies of traditional software development practices and antiquated organizational leadership styles. 

Since then, Mark has adopted modern software development practices (agile, lean, kanban, Spotify Squad Framework), and effective organizational leadership principles (Teal organization design), and emphasized the importance of cultivating a positive work culture to help transform organizations into high-performing, innovative teams.