Our client is a 5-year startup located in Burlington, Vermont, approached TeamFound with a few goals:
- To develop a cross-platform consumer facing iOS and Android mobile application, in order to evolve the existing web-only offering.
- To transition from full-time allocated engineers to a project-based model, thereby lowering recurring costs, and placing the technology stack on a maintenance/monitoring plan.
- Improve quality standards for deployments
- Build a relationship with a provider whom they can trust to manage the technology platform end-to-end.
Similar to many startups we work with, our client grew into a new phase of their business, where technology needs stabilize and the business needs to focus more on sales and marketing. Often this new phase comes with operational changes. For a variety of reasons, a technology team “re-boot” was a necessary component of this change.
Our work began with a discovery phase in order to understand the scope of change needed, the current operational challenges, and the long-term goals. We then facilitated a collective risk assessment to surface existing and potential areas of concern to the business, and discuss mitigating options.
It was clear to us that a major component of the solution would be a technology agency with strong skills across Mobile, Elixir, and AWS, and who was able to offer flexible SLA terms enabling our client to (a) utilize a lower quantity of hours each month (than a full-time person), to fix bugs, tweak features, and maintain the system, plus (b) the ability to schedule and ramp-up development for larger chunks of work when the business needs to add features.
Our search for such a team began. The added complexity was that the backend was built using Elixir, a relatively new programming language built on the Erlang VM.
Key to the success of both our client and the provider was the agency business model. “Agency” in its true sense utilizes a pool of developers, testers, UX designers, and project managers to manage multiple clients and projects. This enables them to offer more flexible SLA’s. The focus on startups was critical too. Agencies who work with startups understand better their needs and are more effective in serving them. For example, often the client is a business person, not an engineer. So the ability to understand business needs, translate them into technology outcomes, and manage the whole technology roadmap are key skillsets.
Our effort involved researching providers in 4 different countries. We were able to bring-forward a few options. Our client ultimately chose an agency in Transylvania, Romanian, a major Eastern European technology hub, where TeamFound visits a few times/year.
Fast forwarding to the results… they were excellent! The climax was the release of our client’s first iOS and Android mobile apps built using React, enabling them to offer a more streamlined user experience and significantly expand their user base. Equally important, during the 3 months of the initial engagement, a lot of trust was built between our client and the agency. Although the agency is located in Romania, it feels as though they are local. Their communications and integrity are solid. Our client felt confident in enabling them to manage the technology platform.
We layered onto this solution a local east-coast managed services provider who would manage and monitor the AWS infrastructure and provide 24/7 emergency resolution.
TeamFound also timed an on-site visit to the agency during the first phase of work – how the photo of this article was taken.
Following the initial phase, our client significantly reduced its recurring costs, is working with a highly skilled agency, established a trust relationship, and most importantly, can set aside concerns about the technology and focus on the business!
Technology: React Native, Android, iOS, Elixir, AWS
Location of remote team: Transylvania, Romania