by Scio Team | Mar 28, 2023 | Outsourced Engineering Team, Project Management, Successful Outsourcing
Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
Running an IT department is not an easy task. With a daily grind of patches, fixes, updates, and all sorts of technical hurdles, most IT professionals know that their workload can sometimes get too overwhelming, making a balancing act between short-term fixes necessary to keep systems running with long-term improvements to futureproof the network. And even with the best preparation, the job of IT can sometimes be challenging and unpredictable, usually with an impossibly long list of tasks that need to be completed. Nothing is ever easy; the person in charge has to navigate through a tangle of hardware and fix whatever problems are presented, while making sure their work will stand the test of time.
However, there are ways to avoid those bad days when everything seems wrong. Taking the time to ensure that all of your to-dos are in order, that essential files and documents are safe, and that data backups are running will go a long way in avoiding panic if something goes wrong. If at all possible, allocate time each week for software updates or checking on vulnerable systems to save you hours of headaches down the road if a potential issue is caught early on. Finally, establishing a rapport with your colleagues is critical, as it ensures that everyone remains on the same page and problems can be easily spotted early on. But even with safeguards like these, things can go sideways in unexpected ways, which can test every ounce of the skill, patience, and determination of an IT professional.
In other words, without the proper support, IT departments face a difficult job, often leading to days from hell for your employees. But with the right partner in IT support, this looming dread becomes a thing of the past — free from these worries, your team can efficiently eliminate many of these time-consuming tasks and have more energy to dedicate to other projects and initiatives within their organization. This shift in priorities allows them to focus on driving technological advances rather than simply running from one issue to the next. With an experienced partner in IT services at your side, you’re setting your team on a clear path for growth that allows everyone to focus on doing their best work.
Nobody wants days like these in IT, so it’s important to prepare and make a checklist of daily tasks to avoid spreading your attention too much. Keeping an eye on projects and deadlines, prioritizing tasks based on importance, blocking off time for large assignments, always saving work right away, and keeping the organization’s software up-to-date and running smoothly is a bit of standard advice that can save a lot of headaches in the long run. Nevertheless, in a mid-sized company, a crisis can still happen, and a fast and efficient resolution by the IT department is going to be pretty critical.
The first approach, then, should include gaining an understanding of the full scope of any issue by identifying affected systems and data, as well as any potential implications on the business operations of the whole organization. Once the breadth of the problem has been established, it’s important to consider what methodologies and resources will be needed to manage the crisis properly. For instance, if there are significant hardware issues or a technical outage that needs attention, engaging an IT vendor or specialized contractor ensures that all personnel has the appropriate skill sets and qualifications for remediation.
Moreover, creating a sound action plan for responding (for example) to customer questions and managing any legal repercussions from a breach can help minimize stress during such trying times. And while no one ever wants to deal with an IT crisis at their company, having a comprehensive plan that covers all possible angles ensures you can tackle it in an orderly fashion for smooth sailing throughout recovery. Time is always of the essence, so the best approach is developing a strategy that considers all stakeholders involved, with quick, proactive communication between departments and employees becoming essential for triaging the issue. It’s also important to be clear about the goals and expectations of the organization so everyone understands the urgency of addressing a problem before the situation gets worse. Having a good system in place to track progress will ensure rapid resolutions; if mistakes are made, acknowledging them quickly and openly with leadership sets the right tone to confront such issues. And seeking outside help when necessary is always a must.
“When a crisis strikes, I know it’s extremely tempting to try and tackle the issue yourself. After all, it’s often time-consuming and expensive to seek out external expertise, but the thing is, seeking an expert can result in a more efficient outcome than spending exhausting hours in front of a keyboard while tasks begin to accumulate”, says Rod Aburto, Service Delivery Manager and Partner at Scio. “External expertise can be fantastic for getting to the bottom of difficult problems quickly and thoroughly, allowing you to get back into business as soon as possible. Plus, with specialized knowledge on your side, you can keep glaring security risks at bay. Ultimately, when it comes to technology, outside assistance can make all the difference in staying ahead of an IT crisis.”
A partnership you can rely on
Having a small IT department often means limited access to technical resources, which is a challenge when you want to roll out new projects or solve an IT crisis. And the best way to get around this is to bring Nearshore development support to the table. Nearshore developers can provide expertise on any project your team may not be able to handle, while still allowing you to maintain control of the project efficiently. And by having more knowledgeable people on board who have had experience rolling out similar projects, you can complete work faster and more cost-effectively without sacrificing quality. In the case of the US, a Nearshore company such as Scio, which has some of the best software developers in Latin America, offers close proximity (both culturally and geographically) to their partners, making communication easier and more efficient.
All in all, by partnering with a specialist, any IT department can efficiently eliminate many time-consuming tasks and have more energy to dedicate to other projects and initiatives within their organization. This shift in priorities allows them to focus on driving technological advances rather than simply running from one issue to the next. In short, choosing an outsourcing partner is a great way for IT leaders to create order from chaos and avoid the feeling of a day from hell in the process, or for small or mid-sized IT departments that want better results without upgrading their existing workforce.
Ultimately, when you’re in the midst of an IT crisis, finding the right external expertise can often make or break a resolution, and recruiting well-qualified Nearshore professionals will offer an invaluable response to pressing difficulties facing an organization. Investing in this extra support when your company hits the wall can be a lifesaver and put your organization lightyears ahead in alleviating any IT challenge and ensuring maximum productivity, which is an absolute must if you want to stay ahead of the curve in the digital world.
- In the IT world, it’s not especially difficult to have a “day from hell” thanks to the demands and responsibilities an IT professional juggles daily.
- And for a small team, a huge project or a software crisis can be a lot more dangerous than expected, with quick responses as a must-have.
- For these reasons, having the correct expertise in the field is extremely important, and a development partner is always the right answer.
- In the case of Nearshore, which offers proximity and technical know-how, these crises can be easily tackled without sacrificing efficiency, or worrying about flexibility in the team.
by Scio Team | Feb 17, 2023 | Software Development, Successful Outsourcing
Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
It makes sense to say that a well-budgeted IT department with enough resources is critically important for any business, mid-level and beyond. If your IT people are equipped to do their job, everyone can take advantage of top-quality technologies like enterprise-level systems, expertly managed networks, and secure cloud computing that could push productivity and effectiveness through the roof. And obviously, these benefits flow right down to the bottom line. It’s hard to overestimate just how vital a fully staffed, adequately funded IT infrastructure is for improving your company’s performance. Yeah, we’ll say it: IT is the cornerstone of modern business, and ensuring it’s properly managed is your key to success.
However, for a lot of IT professionals out there, the reality is… different. Small IT departments often face some daunting challenges, ranging from the increased focus on personnel and operations to the escalating pressure of project management, trying to constantly do more with fewer resources. Things like juggling multiple tasks with limited staff can lead to a lot of frustration, and implementing new technologies and systems as quickly as possible can become quite Sisyphean. Tech advancements, after all, happen at such a breakneck speed that it can be hard for SMEs to stay on top of them all. That combined with a minimal budget for technology and limited training opportunities, these teams often find themselves struggling to leverage new software and solutions into their daily operations.
The result is a constant battle to work faster and smarter. The lack of resources (from a budget standpoint to personnel) can cause a lot of issues getting projects off the ground or implementing new approaches, and finding innovative ways to keep everyone on the same page is a challenge if the person responsible for IT wants operations to run smoothly. All this without mentioning the abundance of issues and complaints that plague the IT team working in this kind of environment—from dealing with printer malfunctions to handling user requests, this job might seem never-ending. So yeah, a lot of concerns need to be addressed if an IT department is going to remain effective at delivering services efficiently. So, what to do?
Convincing management to invest in software development partners and other resources can be tricky for a small IT department, considering the financial constraints they typically face. The key, however, is explaining the long-term value of bringing in some extra help. A team not only can save money by having development partners offload specific non-core tasks, but also will save time by utilizing that same expertise in areas with shortages in talent. To this end, outlining exactly how this support would impact the bottom line is of utmost importance when making your case before the correct people. If management sees there’s an immediate improvement to both resources and output, their support becomes easier to secure.
So, if an IT department wants to get the attention of management and convince them to invest in the technology necessary to make this work, there are a few steps they can take to increase their chances. First, compiling a persuasive presentation highlighting the areas where you feel these new investments will bring the greatest return is a great start. Sharing any positive outcomes from similar projects you’ve seen in other organizations that demonstrate cost/benefit could also work. Finally, building relationships with stakeholders and discussing use cases within your organization so they can visualize how it will have real, tangible benefits for the company is your trump card. With a combination of proactive research, clever business reasoning, and solid data, any IT department can make a solid case for investing in the correct talent, and adequate resources.
However, what kind of help should you look for? Well, if you want to see an immediate change for the organization you work for, Nearshore partnerships can be an incredible option for small IT departments seeking software solutions done quickly and well. By hiring a Nearshore partner to build software for you, whether it’s custom-built or COTS, the development process can be much smoother and faster—no more worrying about the hassle of finding your own qualified engineers, who then have to learn systems from scratch. Nearshore partnerships also provide great access to outside talent, giving your team all the support they need while avoiding language barriers and closing the time zone gap to synchronize every effort during the project. And with cost-effectiveness being another major perk of Nearshoring, you’ll quickly see why it’s an unbeatable option when it comes time to revitalize your IT department and bring the solutions that your organization needs.
If you already decided to work with a Nearshore partner, and you need to convince management of what a good idea this is, making the right choice will be critical for success. Nearshoring can help scale operations and reduce the burden on your own team without sacrificing quality, that much is clear, but when looking for a partner, it’s important to align on culture, core values, and technical capabilities.
To that end, it’s important to do your research and make sure that you’re working with a team with a business culture that matches that of the organization you work for. Take some time to ask questions about their processes, their continuity plans, and what makes them stand out from other Nearshore contenders—this will help narrow down your list of potential candidates, but also make sure you know their approach to collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and how communication and trust are usually built between teams. You should also ascertain whether or not they have experience dealing with existing infrastructure and whether they are properly certified in every framework and tool that best suits your plans. ast but not least, it’s sensible to check that the individuals involved have the necessary skill sets needed by your company, if they are open to learning and growing their skills, and ensure that there is clear communication between them and you throughout the whole process. Letting this kind of effort into developing a strong relationship with a Nearshore provider will pay off when it’s time to make decisions and get results delivered.
“The benefit of connecting with a Nearshore development partner for a small IT department trying to implement a new software solution cannot be understated”, says Rod Aburto, Service Delivery Manager, and Partner, at Scio. “It’s more efficient, cost-effective, and hassle-free compared to hiring additional employees or plain outsourcing. By engaging in Nearshore development, you or your team will have direct access to experts who have infrastructure and resources right on hand, so you can trust that any implementations or changes will go smoothly, without worrying about time zone differences or language barriers. And you can be certain that the process won’t stretch out of control as it often does when using offshore solutions. Given their efficiency, working with Nearshore solutions means less stress on budget concerns allowing the Head of IT to find the best route forward for their company.”
In the case of the best software development in Mexico, Scio offers expertise and technical know-how to engage and deliver the best software solutions around, with a collaborative approach that can augment any project from the get-go. We know that finding the right software solutions for a small IT department can often be a daunting task, and limited resources and staff make it difficult to find solutions quickly and efficiently in an organization of any size. That’s why the Scio approach to Nearshore partnerships remains the best option to bridge this gap, providing efficient IT solutions developed with experienced developers ready to seamlessly integrate with any workflow. Legacy systems and other barriers to innovation in companies that traditionally don’t do software can build these partnerships to deliver a wealth of knowledge and experience, allowing for quick scalability and turnaround times—ideal for teams who are looking for solutions with minimal risk. By having dedicated back-end support, location flexibility, reasonable cost savings, and considerable expertise available at the same time, Nearshore partnerships are one of the best options for any small IT department that needs quality software fast. At Scio, help is on the way, with all the skills you need.
- IT is the cornerstone of many mid-sized companies and beyond, but if software is not the priority, budget, and resources might not be the best.
- Ideally, the IT department of any organization would have enough resources to implement any innovative solution that might make work and productivity more efficient, so alternatives should be considered.
- In that sense, Nearshore development partners might be the answer for a small IT department, offering the flexibility and scalability necessary for any kind of budget and support.
- However, you should make sure that the business culture matches your organization, as this will guarantee that any partnership and collaboration effort will yield the best outcomes.
by Scio Team | Jul 5, 2022 | Nearshore, Successful Outsourcing
Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
When it comes to the Technology sector in most countries, one fact has been making itself clear since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: talent shortage is on the rise. In fact, according to a survey by the Harvey Nash Group, among 3000 tech leaders, 67% acknowledged a lack of availability of skilled software developers, and this gap will only increase as our demand for technological solutions (like platforms, applications, and programs) keeps growing as in the past couple years.
“The global events of the past two years have seen the appetite for emerging and innovative technologies, such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence, increase dramatically across all industries”, indicates an article by the Australian Financial Review. “But the current pipeline of talent simply cannot keep up with the pace at which jobs are being vacated or created.”
The projections about this talent gap are not very optimistic, at least when it comes to the local US developer pool. According to the blog Youteam.io, the US alone will face a shortage of 85.2 million competent tech workers by 2030, which means the loss of revenue opportunities totaling $8.452 trillion in less than a decade.
So to solve this problem, many companies have been turning to a myriad of solutions to try and mitigate this gap, like adopting “IA-generated software” or “no-code” platforms to ease development without depending too much on skilled talent, but the long-term success and viability of this strategy is still unknown, especially among smaller-sized organizations.
A different challenge for every organization
It’s also important to note that this talent gap is not the same across the software industry, and different organizations of different sizes face very different challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining skilled developers. The main one is that corporations like Google or Amazon drain the local talent pools, adding about 45,000 new tech jobs for the roughly 2000 new developers entering the workforce in 2022 alone, according to a report by the tech blog 8allocate.
What this means is that small and medium-sized companies, even with the advantages they offer in terms of culture and perks, have a more difficult time attracting talent to remain competitive, which only exacerbates the issue. However, the silver lining is that, as the software development industry becomes increasingly globalized, many companies are outsourcing their software development needs to countries with lower labor costs to remain competitive, one of many reasons the practice of outsourcing software development has become so popular in the US.
For one thing, it can be a great way to save money; development studios in countries like India and China often charge significantly less for their services than US-based companies, in addition to helping businesses tap into a global pool of talent. In many cases, it’s simply more efficient and cost-effective to collaborate with developers in other countries than it is to try to find and hire talented software developers locally, especially during a labor shortage like the one we are currently seeing.
“Outsourcing software development always had its place as a go-to solution for speeding up development, but with everyone working remotely, the playing field has been leveled. Incorporating outside development teams is now just as viable of an option.” However, the potential downsides to outsourcing software development to these countries, such as language barriers and cultural differences, are well known. So while this may bring a solution in the short term, it can also lead to problems in the long run. For example, when software developers are based in different time zones, it can be difficult to coordinate efforts and collaborate effectively, in many cases thanks to the cultural differences that are present between both territories, a challenge that Nearshore development easily solves.
Nearshore development: Talent in the same time zone
As the software development industry continues to face this talent shortage and the skill gaps they produce, tech companies will need to find ways to remain competitive. One possibility is a focus on Nearshore software development, which provides several advantages over traditional offshore outsourcing, including improved collaboration and a closer cultural fit, thanks to being located in time zones that are more favorable for communication. In the case of the US, for example, there exists the advantage of working with the talent available in Mexico and the rest of LATAM. According to Stack Overflow:
“Mexico is home to 223 thousand software developers, and with the constant rise in the count of IT specialists, the country provides access to a huge array of developers. It also holds expertise in Agile development, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, and Analytics. Among the many reasons to opt for Mexico to outsource your software is the perfectly aligned time-zone between the United States and Mexico due to the border it shares and the high number of English-speaking population, which makes the location even more ideal.”
As a result, Nearshoring can provide a more efficient and effective software development solution for US-based organizations, providing the same cost savings as outsourcing, reducing the risk of communication problems and other potential issues, without sacrificing anything in the way of skills or expertise, as Mexico and LATAM have a high technical base of talented developers, comparable (and even surpassing) those of Ukraine, China and India, with the added advantage of keeping close in the same time zone, and with similar culture and values.
So outsourcing software development to a Nearshore company like Scio, which has been a partner to over 200 US-based companies and projects since 2003, can be a great way to get the skills and expertise you need without having to hire full-time employees, offering a way to any organization keep competitive, even with a local shortage of technical talent.
So while the talent shortage might seem like a challenge going forward, especially in the increasingly tech-focused world of today, this gap can be sidestepped more easily than you imagine; within the same hours as your main offices, and with seamless communication across every team you partner with, Nearshore development has all the talent you need to keep marching onwards today.
- Since the pandemic began, our need for technological and software solutions skyrocketed.
- This, in turn, leads to a huge demand for skilled software and technology developers, creating a shortage of them that will only grow.
- Not only this could seriously impact the industry in the future, to the tune of billions of dollars lost, but has also created certain inequality among software development organizations.
- Big corporations drain the local talent pools, and solutions like IA and no-code platforms are imperfect for the current demands of the market.
- However, the wealth of technological and development skills in Mexico and the rest of LATAM present a solution for this in the shape of Nearshore collaboration, which has similar cultural values, and within the same time zones.
- Nearshore development offers the best talent available in these geographical locations, without some of the obstacles present in offshore development, becoming a win-win for both sides of the industry.
Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies to help you reach new heights. We have been developing since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – we’ll be happy to help you achieve your business goals.
by Scio Team | Apr 26, 2022 | Outsourced Engineering Team, Successful Outsourcing
By Scio Team
The way we conceptualize work is changing, first as a result of the pandemic, and second as a result of technology letting us do something unthinkable a mere five years ago. The result is a landscape where a lot of organizations are more willing than ever to adapt to their collaborators, offering ways to work that strike a better balance between their personal and professional lives.
However, what does this balance mean? Because the more we think about changing our actual practices, the more challenges and conundrums appear in the need of a solution. And the software industry, as one of the leaders in this evolution of the workplace, is experimenting with ideas more than ever to hit the specific balance between work, personal life, and the needs of a given project.
A right to disconnect
A lot of buzzes were heard when France, back in 2018, began to implement the so-called “Right to Disconnect”, a legal framework aimed at protecting workers from retaliation if they choose to not attend calls after their shifts. As proposed, this regulation showed that “work” as we knew it was starting to evolve, as more and more tasks in a company started to need a kind of specialization that sometimes could not be accomplished in the traditional 9-5 office hours.
This fostered a culture of being “always-on”, which could not be healthy or sustainable at all in the long run. After all, a good outcome for any project could come from an exhausted team that always had to be ready and reachable? The Right To Disconnect tried to solve this, with mixed results.
“We have our best ideas in unexpected places, at unexpected times. Excelling in today’s economy thus demands short bursts of intensive thought followed by seemingly unproductive – yet necessary – lulls. Nourishing such approaches requires workplace flexibility, not regulatory rigidity; depriving skilled professionals of these practices by telling them exactly when and how to work also deprives them of potential opportunities to create value”, says this article by the non-profit policy research organization R Street.
So, even if the intent of these legal frameworks is desirable and necessary, it could be argued that they also fail to solve many of the intricacies of working in industries like software, where different dynamics are at play. Programming, for example, is as much of creative activity as it is a technical one, trying to solve complex puzzles as efficiently and elegantly as possible in a given timeframe.
This means that, even if everyone obviously needs time to rest and relax, the idea of rigid boundaries to solve a programming challenge during a project is closer to the idea of “mandatory fun” than keeping a healthy boundary, with some companies even going as far as disabling emails and chat programs to ensure their workers comply.
“While some procedures, like taking the email server offline, will help to ensure that all employees are on equal footing, this approach may have unintended adverse consequences on employees with flexible work arrangements. Many caregivers, for instance, handle family responsibilities during the day and resume work after hours. IT departments will need to navigate these issues with human resources and user departments”, claims the HR blog First Reference in this article.
This same quote, however, points out a solution that can keep boundaries clear, without enforcing a total disconnect that can result in counterproductive outcomes: flexibility. As the pandemic rages on, and we rethink what work is, the idea of flexibility starts to become more than choosing to work from home or going to the office on a given day; is the ability, up to a point, to set our schedules, our times, or to select to collaborate with an organization that closely aligns with ourselves.
We’re here for you
Thanks to the rise of remote work, the possibility of working with clients abroad in tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Austin without having to lose boundaries or sleep is closer than ever thanks to Nearshore development companies like Scio. But what distinguishes a Nearshore, exactly?
Nearshore companies are getting popular lately, and it’s easy to see why: the whole idea is to offer outsourced development services within the time zone that matches the clients as closely as possible. Being located in Mexico, Scio works mainly with clients based in the US, collaborating with tech firms on projects with all kinds of challenges to solve, without needing the odd working hours that might result from working with a client in Europe or Asia.
This results in a close collaboration that still leaves room for boundaries, as the working hours of the team and the clients are the same; in fact, the schedules offered by Scio make sure there’s overlap in the middle of the day while leaving every developer to choose when to begin and stop working.
“Some of our clients realized that their developers not only can come from Wisconsin, Wyoming or Missouri; they are finding an enormous amount of talent available in Mexico and other LATAM countries that have no problem whatsoever connecting remotely to collaborate”,
“We can see that in our more recent applicants, who value these opportunities and are more than ready to join from anywhere in the world. Our focus is on certain time zones that are not too far apart from our clients, but Latin America as a whole has opened as a software development possibility like never before.”Tells Rodimiro Aburto, Service Delivery Manager at Scio.
This results in the possibility of expanding the scope of things you develop and learn from, while still maintaining real-time communication with clients in other countries entirely, and without having to adjust your working hours to maintain the same boundaries you are used to, because of the idea of a Nearshore company is to offer convenience in collaboration and communication for both clients and developers, giving you the space to work as you feel best, while maintaining the excellence in outcomes that’s expected in these projects.
“So, what Nearshore comes to offer is the flexibility in which a Development Lead can chat in real-time with a collaborator in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, or Honduras, for example, as a full member of their team while keeping the healthy boundaries in hours that having the same time zone brings”, finishes Rodimiro.
We hope that this article has helped to introduce you to the possibilities of Nearshore outsourcing and shown you how Scio can provide a valuable solution for your business needs. Our team is passionate about creating healthy boundaries for our collaborators while still providing the flexibility needed in the modern workplace. If you are interested in learning more, please send us a message. We would be happy to discuss our services with you and answer any questions you may have. Thank you for taking the time to read our article!
by Scio Team | Feb 2, 2022 | Customer Experience, Outsourced Engineering Team, Successful Outsourcing
The show must go on: Developing a venue booking app with UPick
As the year winds down, it’s time to look back and celebrate all of our achievements of 2021, the challenges and the goals we conquered, and the clients whose projects we helped to become reality.
This time, let’s take a look at the story behind the development of the UPick app, which had the goal of creating a useful and reliable booking tool for both venues and artists, and how we helped them bring that dream from concept to a product you can use today. Enjoy!
What goes into making a good idea into reality? For the creators of UPick, it meant finding a reliable team that could build upon their idea, understand the concept completely, and offers the best technical know-how to bring it from paper into every smart device you can imagine. The beginning was simple enough; back in 2020, a couple of friends were looking into an area of opportunity no one else seemed to be exploring yet: what if you could simplify the process to book a show for a venue through an app?
The pandemic gave them a wide-open window to implement a solution for an industry that felt the consequences of this crisis deeply. Live shows account for nearly 50% of the music industry’s revenue, so six months into the pandemic, according to the World Economic Forum, shutdowns had already cost venues around the world 10 billion dollars in sponsorships and ticket sales, with no end in sight.
But with vaccination rates increasing, it was probably a good time to try and bring shows back, and UPick’s creators thought that an app that offered a quick way to reconnect performers with venues had some fertile ground to grow.
So, in February 2021 they started considering Scio as a partner, looking for developers who could create this app from scratch, decide the full scope of the final product, and make important decisions about the direction of the platform.
This was the first time our clients worked with Nearshore developers, and the advantages of having a fully experienced team equipped and ready to roll inside your own time zone became invaluable, keeping the costs of development down without sacrificing quality.
Since our clients had never been involved in a project of this size, constant communication to decide the specifics of UPick was critical, going from things like how to monetize the service, to the best hosting platforms to use.
Typically, development at Scio consists of a 5-step plan designed to arrive at a solution in the most productive way possible. Understanding users and their needs, as well as the objectives and constraints of the app itself, was Step 1. Step 2 involved analyzing the requirements of the app in order to trace a plan for the UX/UI and architecture of the platform. Then, Step 3 is pure Agile Development, up to the official launch, which was Step 4. And after the kick-off, is a matter of support to ensure the quality of the app, giving ongoing maintenance and adding features as a Step 5.
The Scioneers chosen were a Programming Lead who developed the architecture of the app, a UI designer tasked with creating a comfortable and stylish interface, another one assigned to create a search bar and review functions within the app, and a QA lead who would make sure everything worked perfectly.
Communication was key. Thanks to daily scrums, a core pillar of our process, we walked our client through the progress of the project, needing nothing more than 15 minutes every day to discuss the changes and challenges that surfaced, as well as what we accomplished, every week.
Here, we solved tons of questions born during development, like “how will a band schedule a show?”, “how will refunds work?”, and “how will the venues and bands make deals?” to more technical matters, like choosing a cost-effective hosting solution (AWS in our case), implementing login credentials from Apple, Spotify, and social media (including some necessary workarounds), to selecting the best payment processor.
Also, as we briefly mentioned, the business plan of the app had to be revised entirely once the booking process was decided, as Upick could easily be cut out from the deal between venue and performer, and our team took care of that.
The biggest breakthrough was deciding to make UPick a “progressive application”, where a web portal could function as an app with consistency across devices, like desktops and smartphones, making it as convenient as possible.
Then features were added, like the ability to share photos, videos, setlists, and even playlists from Spotify, and we had to rethink the way bands could contact venues as our understanding of these deals grew.
Progress went smoothly until finally reaching our Minimum Viable Product, where one of UPick’s users, whom the client showed a preview, managed to run all of their bands through the platform before it was 100% finished, which not only showcases the talent of our team but also made the customer base excited about the final product.
All in all, by September the app was ready to be launched, a whole project contained within the chaotic year of 2021, where Scio was able to offer the exact solutions UPick was looking for. A learning experience for both our team and our clients, we celebrate the effectiveness of Nearshore development, which can deliver no matter the circumstances.
The Key Takeaways:
- Since communication is crucial to make a product succeed, choose a development option that can communicate with you at the best time possible.
- It doesn’t matter if the details of your idea haven’t been ironed out yet, a good team will help you with those decisions.
- Development time of an app, depending on scope, doesn’t have to be too long. It took us around nine months to bring UPick from concept to reality.
- Some APIs are not very friendly, but there are always workarounds to any obstacle.
- If better ideas surge during development, it’s good to always voice them. The schedule might need to be reworked, but the final product is always going to be better.
by Scio Team | Jan 24, 2022 | Entrepreneurship, Nearshore, Outsourced Engineering Team, Project Management, Successful Outsourcing
The importance of soft skills in the workplace cannot be overstated, and doubly so for remote work, when coordinating a team you may not know in person is the core of a successful project. But how to apply those skills?
It’s no secret that managing an effective team requires a special kind of talent, one able to bring the best of every individual in the team, while also keeping everyone on the same page, looking at the same goals. In the old days, you could achieve it by having close proximity with your collaborators, keeping an eye on their needs and difficulties, and doing your best to lessen them to create an effective working environment.
But yeah, that was when the office environment was a given, and managing was a face-to-face affair. However, in the New Normal, where remote work is becoming commonplace, probably with coworkers living in entirely different continents, the skill set necessary to complete a well-done project is changing.
How do you communicate an effective company culture remotely? What do you need to manage talent through a screen? Here at Scio, where working remotely has been the norm since the very beginning (both with clients and collaborators), we know how important these skills are, and how they will become more sought after as this organization model becomes more commonplace.
1. Communicating through a Zoom call: More difficult than you think!
Hey, raise your hand if this situation is a tiny bit familiar to you:
Trying to make a joke on zoom – YouTube
Yeah. As we all know very well, conducting a videoconference is tough, as reading your coworker’s body language, emotions and predispositions are nearly impossible at a distance. Humans are social creatures, designed to pick up on gestures and the tiniest social cues while talking, and doing so through the barrier of a Zoom call is an important skill to attain.
That’s why implementing clear communication rules, and enforcing them effectively is so important. Simple etiquette rules (like turning the mic off when not speaking, giving space to questions and answers, or RVSP any invitation), assigning a person the specific task of conducting the call, as well as being clear if the call is more formal (i.e. presentations with clients) or informal (like a brainstorming session) can make a world of difference in the way a team functions.
Once your collaborators internalize these rules, further strategies will be easier to implement, and you will avoid awkward scenarios like that one.
2. The importance of choosing the right tools
“An artisan is as good as his tools”, the shared wisdom says. And that’s true whether you are talking about making a vase or developing a software app; selecting your tools well is just as important as the technical knowledge applied behind.
Zoom is a good example of the pros and cons of these tools. There are plenty of reasons why Zoom became the choice to work remotely during the pandemic (it’s friendly to use and offers a good range of basic options), but that doesn’t mean this software lacks drawbacks (like its lax security) you need to take into account.
The same is true for any tool you have at your disposal to manage teams and projects, and learning to choose and use them effectively is a valuable ability in any remote team. There are plenty of options to try and decide, but also don’t be afraid to discard anything that is not helping the team to reach their objectives.
Here at Scio, for example, beyond the usual suspects (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Trello, etc.) we developed some internal tools, like an internal guide with the names and positions of everyone in the company, or a proprietary clocking-in page, that we continually improve and tailor to fill the needs of our clients and developers, making sure all of our developers and collaborators have any piece of information they might need.
3. Remote company culture is possible
As we mentioned, certain skills are needed to do remote work well, and these will grow in importance as more projects realize the potential of Nearshore development. The importance of soft skills has grown in recent times, as being able to communicate with your team is just as important as the technical talent you have behind. So what do you need?
- Have clear expectations: For anyone joining an organization remotely, knowing exactly what’s required of them helps build boundaries and focus efforts on things that matter. Lay them out at the beginning, and should have no problems making everyone work towards the same goal.
- Create working structures: For remote teams, lack of structure on a given day can be an obstacle to productivity. That’s why good team leaders establish a clear schedule of deadlines and meetings and explain in certain terms where a particular collaborator fits into the workflow.
- Determine delivery: In a traditional office, the time in front of the computer seemed to be just as important as the work being delivered, which of course is unsustainable in a remote environment. This is why an effective manager keeps track of the actual output every review (let’s say, once a week), to determine the effectiveness of the collaborator, who can set their rhythm with flexibility. As long as the project delivers by the agreed deadline, everything else becomes unnecessary.
- Encourage social interactions: The best teams have chemistry and rapport behind their collaboration, and managing that remotely is truly a challenge. That’s why social interactions are important; celebrating important holidays, giving them channels to communicate freely, and organizing activities for fun help a lot and creates familiarity between co-workers that otherwise will never happen.
- Give ongoing feedback: Good feedback is the lifeblood of any team, and for remote teams, doubly so. Being gentle with it, but also effective and certain, is an important skill for everyone on a team (not only leaders), and learning how to give and receive feedback is critical to delivering better and better projects.
4. The Key Takeaways
So, what does this all mean? That the best remote teams are those with strong structural support behind that lets their talent be used to its maximum potential. So we can have these few takeaways of the soft skills behind an effective remote working environment
- Pure technical knowledge can only get you so far. Managing with a wide range of skills helps everyone feel part of a team in order to achieve objectives.
- Remote working needs certain flexibility to function, but firm boundaries keep the team focused and productive, from a simple call to delivering a whole project.
- A good company culture needs to be clear and well communicated, and implementing it effectively means the difference between a good team and a so-so one.
This is clear for us in Scio, as our Nearshore model is designed to use these methods to their fullest, and guarantee that any project you have in mind has the right team for you.