I’ll dive right in: Eden Development ceased trading and closed its doors yesterday, 24th March 2011.

The reasons are many, but the principle one is the very challenging market conditions in the UK right now. We had a number of things in our favour: a great team, wonderful premises and good contacts. The reality is that I haven’t been able to find the right kind of projects for our setup at the right price.

It’s been a difficult road to travel for the last few months, and we thought that we’d make it through until quite recently. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case: our fixed costs were too high to adapt and readily compete in the market.

Ultimately Eden’s value was in the team members: we didn’t own any IP. I felt it was high time I stopped bleeding money away on fixed costs and allowed the team to reform as they wanted to as contractors, with individuals reaping the benefits. We managed to stay ahead of the game and close as best we can in a good financial position, without leaving it to the last minute.

Back in January I took a decision to take on two apprentices for six months to train them, advance their careers and help us fulfil client projects better. It is a big source of sadness for me that we haven’t been able to finish those apprenticeships, but I’m so glad to have had Alberto and Despo with us and to have had an opportunity to train them up until this point, and I know they’ll both do very well.

I’m sure some naysayers will jump on this as an excuse to say “craftsmanship doesn’t work”. Rubbish. This is emphatically not an indictment on software craftsmanship: doing things right is a key component of providing a valuable service to clients. I still truly believe in those values and principles, and I will stand by them and continue to do my work according to them. We did a damn good job for our clients, and they were happy and satisfied with the quality of our work. Most are still working with Edenites in one form or another.

One of the consequences of this is that you now have an opportunity to benefit from some fantastic people that we’ve been hoarding: experts in agile methods, ruby, rails, SQL, project managment, iOS, data modelling, you name it. Many of the team are going freelance in the next few weeks and months. Keep an eye on them all, and hire them if you get the chance: you won’t regret it. Eden as an entity may not be continuing, but the values are strong and bind us together, and I’m proud to call myself an Edenite. We are all looking forward to working together in the future in some capacity.

As for me personally? I am still attending the Scottish Ruby Conference, and delivering my talk with Steve. I’ll be at a few other events too. After that I’m not sure yet. I’m still passionate about writing great code and helping people achieve great things with software. I intend to blog more, write more, ponder more. I’m hopeful and excited for what’s next: watch this space.

It only remains for me to say thank you to our clients over the years, our contractors, our friends who have supported us and most of all our staff who have stuck with us through good times and difficult times. You guys are the greatest, and I look forward to working alongside you in the future.