From Berkeley to Startup Success

My time in a Berkeley Global Leadership Agility custom program

My name is Alejandro Ruiz, and I am a software engineer, project manager and now CEO and founder of my startup, CHECKTOBUILD.

I have always been in love with the idea of entrepreneurship. I studied software engineering and project management because I have always wanted to run my own IT business.

I was finishing my Project Management Master at EAE Business School (Madrid) when I first heard about UC Berkeley Global’s “Accelerating Leadership Agility” two-week custom program. I immediately signed up because I would be able to study in Silicon Valley. This was July 2019.

The program was about transforming, creating and/or implementing Agile values, culture and frameworks in companies. We were taught by an amazing Agile transformation expert, Pat Reed. Every morning, she taught very clear theory lessons about Agile values and their implementation. Everything was told by her own experience, which is wonderful because she has incredible expertise.

Photo of Alejandro Ruiz presenting during class

Every day, we also listened to experts from big companies who told us how in their professional lives they have implemented the things that we were learning. After that, we would apply the lessons to group projects. My project was working on what would become my startup.

We also attended networking events, which is a dream to an aspiring entrepreneur! But I have to say, I have never worked harder than in those two weeks at Berkeley.

I learned more than just theory. I learned about a new culture that I can implement in my business. To work in an Agile way is not to have daily meetings with your team. It is about growing your company; knowing the importance of the people who work with you; and always keeping in mind innovation, transparency and iterative growth.

The best company is not about developing the best product or service. The best company is ready to change in order to be the top of the market. The best company knows that innovation is in its DNA and learns every day by doing.

Photo of Alejandro Ruiz posing with UC Berkeley bear statue

The lessons I learned in the program are so powerful that I am implementing them at my own startup.

For example, we are now implementing a totally innovative management process that we call “Pair Leadership.” This is the adaptation of the Pair Programming tool of the XP Agile framework. I created this process after hearing this in one of my Berkeley Global classes: “Innovation is not to create a new product. It is to rethink the way that things are done in some area, to let them create more value.”

Proving that these Berkeley Global lessons work, CHECKTOBUILD was awarded the Best Young and Innovative Company of 2020 in Malaga.