Consultants Should Augment Your Roadmap, Not Just Your Headcount

People tend to think of "team augmentation" as staffing up. But shouldn't consultants augment your roadmap, not just your headcount? We think so.

Written by
Bill Brock
on
July 27, 2017
Filed under:

People tend to think of "team augmentation" as staffing up: bringing in temporary employees for a specific project or a set period of time. And sometimes, that's how it works — but not at Very.

We aren't a staffing company because technically, we aren't augmenting your headcount: we're augmenting your roadmap. We realize that may seem like a nuance, but for us, it's an incredibly important distinction.

When we augment your team, Very employees integrate seamlessly with your in-house team, spending four days a week, seven hours a day, exclusively committed to your project. But ultimately, they're held to our standards, and they're an active part of our team and culture.

This approach is good for our firm: it maintains unity and alignment across the team, even when we’re working on completely separate projects. And it’s also great for our clients — because when there’s unity and alignment on our end, that means we’re sharing our skills, resources and expertise, so you’re always getting the best that Very has to offer.

We build on platforms that seamlessly fit into your current infrastructure. We have deep expertise in the following technology stacks:

  • Ruby / Ruby on Rails
  • Javascript / React
  • Elixir / the Phoenix Framework
  • Python
  • Native iOS: Objective C and Swift
  • Heroku
  • AWS
  • AWS Lambda

Augmenting the Shopkeep Team

After 9 years in business, Shopkeep needed a code rescue. Their legacy server was built years ago to sync merchants’ financial data from their backend service, BackOffice, to Intuit's QuickBooks via API. Simply put, the server wasn’t up to Shopkeep’s standards, and they decided it was time to fix the root cause.

The company has a talented team of engineers in New York and Belfast, but like most teams, they had a backlog of projects and competing priorities. So they decided to augment their team with Very. Fortunately, their process, tools, and collaborative methods already were well established and mirrored those we have in place here at Very. In fact, it felt as if we were working with an extension of our own team.

During their augmentation, Shopkeep had a highly experienced pair of Very programmers and a Very project advisor, a member of our leadership team focused on driving the project forward. The project advisor ensured that best practices were followed and that the right questions are asked and answered. Shopkeep had access to the project advisor for one-on-one consulting and guidance throughout the project.   

Before we engaged, we worked with Shopkeep to understand their roadmap and determine where we could deliver the most value. Then, we applied the tools and processes that have brought our clients meaningful, powerful results, including:

  • Agile project management
  • Pair programming
  • Test driven development
  • Continuous integration
  • Continuous deployment

As with any successful software development, an important part of this process is the active engagement of the end customer. We invite (and encourage) every customer to participate in daily standups, demos, retrospectives, and planning sessions.

“With 60-70% of the cost being to maintain the code after development, Very has always been great working within our existing infrastructure and tooling, which makes for an easy handoff,” says Andrew Budd, VP of Engineering at Shopkeep.

In the end, our solution provided a clear path forward for Shopkeep's legacy merchants who are using the old service — because the new service is built to migrate and accommodate all users, old and new. What's more, Shopkeep's customers can manage everything themselves — so the power is in the users' hands, as it should be.

If you’d like to learn more about how we approach augmentation, drop us a line.

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