Meet Your Team: Product Development
In our fourth installment of the “Meet Your Team” series we want to take you behind the scenes of Product Development. These are the folks that code, design, and test the fantastic tools that SirsiDynix libraries run on everyday. Our leader of the Product Management and Software Development team is Chief Technology Officer Sheridan Richey.
|Family||Five sons, ranging in age from 4 to 22 years old|
|Hobbies||Gaming is an important part of the family: board games, video games, role-playing games; you name it, they play it|
|Geography||Originally from St David in rural Arizona, moved around a few times before settling in Utah for the last 10 years|
|Bookshelf||Currently reading: The Big Short. Loves using his smartphone to read a variety of content|
|Education||Bachelor of Science in Information Systems|
Sheridan got started programming while working his way through school. He attributes his passion for coding to one of his early teachers who helped him understand the possibilities of coding and his own potential as an engineer.
Shortly after graduation Sheridan was recruited to join a medical software startup in Utah where he architected the world’s first commercial-grade, AJAX-style cloud application. When his team built their revolutionary application they were worried because they were not following existing best practices. “We thought we were hackers,” said Sheridan. But doing things differently turned out to be a smart move for his team; their AJAX-style application, released in 2000, is still in use today by thousands of medical professionals in the United States.
Sheridan joined the SirsiDynix team in 2011 as our VP of Software Development. Moving from the medical industry to the library industry might seem like an unusual change, Richey acknowledged. “I made the move,” he explained, “because I’ve always loved books. Just reading—learning—is something I have enjoyed from very early on. With libraries I saw an industry that was ready to make a transition into the digital age. I had done that in healthcare and leapt at the opportunity to help another industry… especially one that is aligned with my personal interests.” True to his goal, Sheridan has been a driving force behind the BLUEcloud vision, which is SirsiDynix’s next-generation cloud-based Library Services Platform. Recently, Sheridan’s dedication and contributions to BLUEcloud were recognized by his promotion to the position of Chief Technology Officer.
As the SirsiDynix technology leader, Sheridan is a big believer in the Agile software development methodology. Agile development places a major emphasis on trust and self-organizing teams. The engineering department consists of 9 teams and over 100 individuals. “I very much believe in hiring good people and then empowering them to do good work,” says Sheridan. The agile method is part of what Sheridan feels makes the SirsiDynix development team stand out in the industry. Sheridan’s teams make a concerted effort to “do things the right way,” and that includes doing as much as possible to involve customers in the designing process, via programs like the Strategic Partner Program (SPP).
The SPP is the product team’s formal program that allows direct customer input into Product Development. There are roughly 1000 individual users involved in the SPP, providing input on dozens of projects over the past five years. The program is an excellent opportunity for the Product Management team to gather critical user feedback during the process of building software. The dialogue about product development ensures SirsiDynix is able to meet the needs of all types of libraries.
Sheridan is deeply proud of his development team. “We’ve come a long way,” he said. “Our perception in the industry, our communication with our customers, the products we’ve created, and even the passion of the product teams has been exciting to witness.” The development department continues to work hard as a team to bring exciting new products to the customers they enjoy serving. Plus it never hurts to have a little fun along the way.