Happy 15th Tasktop

Happy 15th, Tasktop! Happy 5th, Tasktop Hub!

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January 17, 2007: Dr. Mik Kersten, Dr. Gail Murphy and Robert Elves founded Tasktop. Here is the announcement about the founding of the company a couple months after the incorporation https://blog.tasktop.com/tasktop-technologies-launched/

Just to put it in context, here are some other highlights from 2007:

  • Apple iPhone was announced and launched
  • Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” was the best-performing single of the calendar year
  • The first Transformers movie came out
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was the top grossing movie worldwide that year
  • The Indianapolis Colts, led by MVP Peyton Manning, won Super Bowl XLI
  • In the World Series, the Boston Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies 

When Tasktop was founded, the Agile Manifesto was still in kindergarten and hadn’t even reached its sixth birthday. In the following years:

  • Tasktop was 4.5 years old when Marc Andreessen announced that Software is Eating the World
  • Tasktop turned six before Gene Kim, George Spafford and Kevin Behr published The Phoenix Project
  • Tasktop was in the middle of third grade as a nine year old before Rally and Atlassian went public 

Challenging work with a purpose

If there is one truth that has stood the test of time in all of the transitions during Tasktop’s 15 years, it has been our employees, the Tasktopians. Tasktop has been a truly special place to work during these 15 years. I have had the privilege of seeing the company in its formative years as a customer and advisor while at SpringSource before finally joining full-time in 2010. 

On our 15th birthday, I find myself appreciating the contributions from our current team, as well as the Tasktopians who have come and gone who helped us get to this milestone birthday. We’ve had some laughs and a lot of fun getting here. By the numbers, since 2007, Tasktop has had 517 different employees walk through our doors either as a full-time employee, a part-time employee, a coop or an intern. I’m grateful that we have built a business that currently employs more than 200 people. 

The responsibility that comes with a business of that size is one we take very seriously every single day. It is not enough that we provide jobs, but we want to provide challenging work that has purpose, as well. Are we providing opportunities for individual learning and growth? And are we making our customers’ lives better? I’ve always been proud of the fact that we’ve stayed true to our founding roots from academia and have had around 150 interns and coops come through Tasktop, helping students understand what it means to work in a company while making significant contributions to Tasktop’s journey. And some of those coops and interns are now full-time employees, helping us make a difference in a world where software is the basis for competitive differentiation. 

In those 15 years, Tasktop hasn’t been just one company either. Simply look at our taglines and the way we’ve described ourselves over the years:

“Less is More” complete with the “<=>” logo (truth be told, I loved the <=> logo) and “Offload your brain to code at the speed of thought”. 

The early years of the company were focused on building on top of Mik’s PhD thesis, supporting the open source Eclipse Mylyn project and our commercial Tasktop Dev offering. We focused on helping developers context switch less and drive productivity. Some of the services work done to help subsidize our open source development resulted in the SpringSource Tool Suite and the Code2Cloud open source initiative.

“Connecting the world of software delivery” and “Software Lifecycle Integration” and “Value Stream Integration”

In 2011, driven by customer demand in conjunction with Sales and Presales at Tasktop, an MVP of what would eventually become our initial integration technology, Tasktop Sync was created. As is often the case at Tasktop, we took those lessons from Tasktop Sync and innovated with model based integration to create what is widely known as the best integration technology for the software lifecycle with Tasktop Hub. Later this month, we will celebrate Hub’s 5th birthday. As the tools got more and more specialized to allow teams to be the most productive and vendor diversity grew, it became tantamount to be able to connect all of the tools in the software value chain.

“Project to Product” and the “Leading Value Stream Management platform”

I had been begging Mik to write a book for more than a decade, and he finally did over the course of 2017 and 2018. And what a book Mik authored. Project to Product has sold roughly 50,000 copies and is acknowledged as one of the seminal books for managing companies in the Age of Software – and it has been key to helping put legs under the value stream management movement for software. On the heels of that, Tasktop was named a leader in value stream management in important analyst reports in 2020 and 2021 and helped found the Value Stream Management Consortium

As we celebrate Tasktop’s 15th birthday, it is hard not to think about the people who placed bets on us over the years and be so grateful to them for taking a chance on us. Those who participated in our Friends and Family round, Mike and Eric from Yaletown, John from Austin Ventures, Chris from Elsewhere Partners and Jason and George from Sumeru, all invested in Tasktop at key moments in our history that allowed us to make step function moves forward in our journey. Over the past 15 years, we are truly grateful to our Flow partners and our OEM partners who have helped us get our game-changing technology into more hands than we would have on our own and helped us ensure that our customers were successful in using our software. Without our ecosystem, we would not be where we are today. And finally, we are truly thankful to our customers who have trusted us over the years to deliver outcomes that improve their productivity, their efficiency and their ability to deliver high quality software with speed and intention. 

My hope for our 16th birthday is to celebrate with my fellow Tasktopians in person with cake and with smiles.

Happy 15th birthday, Tasktop!

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