An Interview With: Zubin Irani, CEO of Cprime and Anne Steiner, VP Product Agility at Cprime



Over two years ago, Cprime acquired DevJam, a group of collaborative agilists based in Minneapolis who teach, coach, and practice a pragmatic blend of processes and technologies to consistently deliver value to customers and clients around the world. With DevJam fully rebranding to Cprime in very near future, I sat with Zubin Irani, CEO at Cprime, and Anne Steiner, now VP of Product Agility at Cprime, to reflect on the impact of the acquisition on both companies and how the transition has evolved other time, bringing its challenges and rewards along the way.

So, welcome to both of you and thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Let me start with a question that takes us to the heart of the matter: Zubin, why did Cprime acquire DevJam, over two years ago now? Zubin: I think the DevJam values and their go-to market strategy was very consistent with Cprime’s. As thought leaders, both companies believe in Agile, pragmatic thinking and doing what’s right and what’s practical, but they also understand that technology is a big component for addressing organizational needs. It’s bringing the Agile and the technology components together, which is the path Cprime was going down. In DevJam we saw a great team and culture that was driven around that mission to improve the way organizations build software, but do it in a way that’s very Agile minded, product focused as well as technology based.

And when you first started thinking of acquiring DevJam, Zubin, did you think it would fit like peanut butter and grape Jam?

Zubin: Did I think DevJam would “fit” us? Yes. I thought culturally, a little bit of rebellious, very pragmatic, kind of process-and-tech tied together, but also very much a “people first” company. The DevJam group was all about high quality and their coaches are thought leaders. So, from that perspective, very much like-minded, and probably a little more so rebellious than we were, which I actually appreciate and really enjoy. I definitely thought it would be a natural fit. Obviously anytime you integrate two companies, there’s always risks and fears involved, but ultimately we were open to it and we worked through it together to figure it out. And we did.

And what surprised or excited you most coming out of the acquisition?

Zubin: The strong community they had. I didn’t realize how strong that really was. It’s a powerful brand. It’s a powerful business and their clients were extremely loyal to DevJam. A lot of this success comes from the capabilities and problems DevJam was able to solve. Honestly, we got a lot more than we had hoped for. We were very happy and thrilled to merge with DevJam.

“Yes, I thought DevJam would “fit” us. I thought culturally: a little bit of rebellious, very pragmatic, kind of process-and-tech tied together, but also very much a “people first” company.”

Anne, back to you: Can you provide us with a perspective on why DevJam felt it was a good idea to be acquired by Cprime?


Well, we can see that a lot of positive things came out of the acquisition. But we’re now coming off of 2 years post-acquisition. Anne and Zubin, would you say that the integration with Cprime has been smooth sailing and a “walk in the park”?

Anne: No integration is ever easy!

 

So, Anne, question for you. With any acquisition often comes fear that the acquired company will lose some of the original characteristics that made it unique. How have you been able to retain the spark that made DevJam so special?

Anne: I think we’ve really been given the space to continue working as we always worked. And you know, today looking back, I think we’re stronger with respect to our ethos, our brand promise, all of that stuff, than we probably were two years ago. And we also can do a lot more. That’s super cool because we all want the same thing. We just want to help clients build awesome products that impact their customers. And now with Cprime we have more capabilities to draw on. So how have we kept it together, and “kept the spark”, as you say Myriam? It’s the same people doing the same kind of work and working their butts off. Some of us, myself in particular, have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder to say: Hey, we can still do this; we got this. And so, we work really hard and that’s been the key to it and then also, we’ve been really well supported.

Anne and Zubin, DevJam has been an active part of the local community for years and people really appreciate all that the company does and does for the community. How do you see the future of those activities and how will you integrate that philosophy from the Cprime perspective?



So, Anne, question for you. With any acquisition often comes fear that the acquired company will lose some of its the original characteristics that made it unique. How have you been able to retain the spark that made DevJam so special? Thanks!

 

From the perspective of DevJam customers, Anne, what are some of the value elements that Cprime brings to the table?



What’s next for Cprime, as a longer term vision, and how does DevJam fit into that overall strategy, Zubin?

Zubin: As the market continues to evolve and with the increasing pace of 24/7 globalization, the competitive pressure is only going to keep growing exponentially and our clients are looking for help. They are looking for help from consulting companies like ours to help react to the needs of their customers, react to the needs of their business, to be successful. And, as we look to the future, as an organization, we have the big pieces that help organizations transform and respond to the market needs. And then as the market evolves, we will continue to evolve and we’ll make sure we are at the cutting edge of solutions that are really going to help our customers thrive and be successful. And that’s kind of our big mission.

I think DevJam brings a strong culture to Cprime and it’s very much our intent and our mission to continue what David started and build upon that. So, the pragmatist, the rebellious, the thought leaders and doing what’s right for our customers in the space of Product Agility. We will also aim to be closer to the community and everything that DevJam has done, and done very successfully. Cprime is looking to incorporate it all and continue on that journey and vision that David created and built on that strong foundation of what DevJam is and will live on. Live on within Cprime.

Thank you Zubin and Anne for sharing your thoughts on the Cprime acquisition of DevJam, as DevJam moves to finalize its integration.

Read the full interview transcript

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