We amplify startups with software
engineering & consultancy

Let our experts know your challenges, skip the trial-error and launch quickly

Book a free strategy session
01.
Design big

focus on the problem but keep the growth in genes.

Our experts you guide you through the process of analysis and the design of a solid foundation to support your growth.

02.
Launch quickly

and be the first to provide the perfect lean solution.

We can augment your team with the world's best professionals to help you with the heavy lifting and speed your launch up.

03.
Grow rapidly

Collect the feedback and improve based on it. Repeat.

Your product and business are young but you have the team the big enterprises use to develop their products. We amplify your success

How we do it?

We add value to your product at every step of its creation - from the rough idea till the support phase. It's never too early or late to get expert help and support.
As experts, we can solve your challenges by generating ideas & designs, plans and documentation or directly code your product.
Use our expertise and experience to do the most in every phase.

Where are you at the development road? What's your challenge?

Let's solve it together!

  • Planning

    Idea

    Why it matters?+

    Your idea can change the world when the solution based on it solves real-world problems in the best possible way.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • You do not have a list of people, waiting for the product to be completed.
    • There is no written definition of the problem you solve and the persona that needs the solution.
    • You have not conducted meetings with domain experts to validate the solution.
    • The solution is considered valuable because you or your team members need it.
    How we help +
    • Validate the idea by interviewing your prospects.
    • Define and validate the minimal functionality that a viable product implements.
    • Generate a list of leads and prospects that expect the launch and are ready to pay for the product right away.
  • Methodology and Processes

    Strategy

    Why it matters?+

    The processes and the right methodology help you get the most out of the current resources and be able to scale.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • You use an interpretation of scrum, but only conduct standup meetings and no other ceremonies.
    • In spite of the overtime, you're not likely to complete the product on time.
    • Adding engineers to the team does not work for you and has failed multiple times.
    • You have a considerable amount of technical debt and it continues piling up.
    How we help+
    • Analyze your current processes and suggest ways to improve the productivity.
    • Suggest the best methodology for your project and train you how to implement it.
    • Help you do more with the current resources by analyzing and addressing specific gaps in the process.
  • UX Design and Information Architecture

    Research

    Why it matters?+

    Even the early versions of the product need to be intuitive and solve the problem efficiently.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • The decisions about usability are based on the common team opinion about the already developed product.
    • There is no prototype of a click-dummy that simulates the product and is used for UX testing.
    • The user stories are written by the development team.
    • The site-map is generated mainly based on what the competitors do.
    • The developers prepare wireframes for the user interfaces.
    • The product failed the user acceptance testing (UAT) phase.
    How we help +
    • Prepare clickable prototypes of the product.
    • Design and document the UX flow and key decisions.
    • Conduct a workshop to refine the UX flows.
    • Audit your site or other assets and suggest a strategy for improvements.
    • Document a information architecture vision, personas, taxonomy, communication guidelines and full UX design.
  • Requirements Analysis and Definition

    Discovery

    Why it matters?+

    By properly defining structured, clear and complete requirements, the product manager has full control over the final result.
    The scope is clearly defined, a better estimation is possible and the team can focus on software engineering, not guessing what`s right or wrong.
    New team-members can be added quickly and efficiently.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • An average user story is usually estimated to more than a week.
    • A functionality that`s considered completed from the dev-team is improved and reworked for sprints.
    • There is no clearly defined acceptance criteria to each story.
    • Sometimes contradictory requirements raise long discussions and it`s hard to figure out their origins.
    • New functionalities are raised as bugs.
    How we help +
    • We can analyze, validate and document the requirements using storyboard and prototyping methodologies, use case diagrams etc
    • Conduct trainings about requirement gathering, validation and documenting.
    • Check the current backlog and convert the stories using the INVEST principles.
    • Prepare wireframes, style-guides and layouts.
    • Enhance the traceability, relations and cohesion of the requirements by generating and maintaining a traceability matrix.
  • Software Design and Architecture

    Design

    Why it matters?+

    The successful product is secure, fast, scalable, available and durable. To achieve such an architecture, a systemic and structured approach is required. Documented or not, there is always an architecture. The question is if it happened by chance or by intend, if you understood and planned it or will you figure out its imperfections when it fails.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • The non-functional requirements (NFR) are not documented and understood by the engineers (developers, QAs).
    • There are no quality attribute scenarios defined for the product.
    • The product experiences security, performance, availability or other issues.
    • There is no clear vision on how the product will scale under high load.
    • The changes in the product are hard to implement, time consuming or often break already completed functionalities.
    • The security is not explicitly tested using tools for penetration testing and code analysis.
    • There is no established process for static code analysis, gathering and analysis of the code quality metrics.
    How we help +
    • Analyze and document software quality attributes, define their business value & trade-offs and generate plan for achieving them.
    • Organize Quality attribute scenarios workshop to validate the currently defined attributes and communicate them to all stakeholders in a meaningful and understandable way.
    • Calculate the production, support and infrastructure cost of the product.
    • Calculate and analyze the product capacity and define ways to enhance it.
    • Document a full Software Architecture Vision.
    • Define code quality goals & metrics and analyze the current codebase.
    • Assess the current architecture and identify risks and propose improvements.
  • Planing and estimation

    Planing

    Why it matters?+

    The right planing makes the progress predictable and easy to track. The correct estimations are the difference between a success and failure in terms of time and resources.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • Your project is under a risk of not meeting the deadline.
    • You have almost spent the whole budget or more but the project is not completed.
    • Technical debt is constantly generated.
    • You "guestimated" the backlog without using any estimation methodology.
    • The estimation was not done by the dev team.
    How we help +
    • Train your leaders to use high level estimation methodologies.
    • Work with your team to make sure the estimation techniques are applied correctly.
    • Estimate your product using methodologies or validate your internal estimation.
    • Prepare Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for of your product and suggest the right team composition considering budget and schedule baselines.
  • Software Development and Quality Control

    Development

    Why it matters?+

    The development phase is the most exciting one - everything designed on previous stages is brought into life. Compared to the previous phases it`s usually longer and executed by larger teams, that's why the expert leadership and processes are vital.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • It`s not possible to easily boost the development by adding new team members.
    • Augmenting the team with external resources has failed in the past.
    • Fixing a defect is causing another issue in a hardly predictable way.
    • The fixed defects show up again and again.
    • Critical bugs are directly fixed on production.
    • The technical debt is huge and piles up on a constant basis.
    • There is a code-review procedure, but no checklists, code-smell catalogs or methodologies are used.
    • You do not have a QA role - some functional testing is done by support team or developers.
    • The quality control starts after everything is fully developed.
    • There are no written test-cases.
    • There is no certainty over percentage of test case coverage.
    • There has never been code-freeze and regression testing before release.
    How we help +
    • Review the code of the product and suggest list of improvements.
    • Augment your team in an efficient way, that boosts the development.
    • Train the technical leaders and senior staff to ensure best performance.
    • Develop the whole product or its components.
    • Organize the quality control process according to the best practices.
    • Cover with test cases or execute existing test cases to assure the quality.
  • DevOps and Automation

    Deployment

    Why it matters?+

    The automation leads to time gains. The operations can be automated so that the development team can focus on engineering. The code quality can automatically be validated and the health of the system can be monitored to avoid the team get blocked.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • The deployment to all environments is done manually.
    • There is no established build process.
    • The team does lots of repetitive manual tasks on a daily basis.
    • A cloud applications does not scale automatically.
    • The environments health is not monitored and the support is reactive.
    • The code quality is not automatically checked with each new build.
    How we help +
    • Automate the build processes.
    • Set up automatic code analysis.
    • Define and establish deployment procedure.
    • Set-up monitoring and reaction plan.
  • Digital Marketing and Customer Relations

    Marketing

    Why it matters?+

    Ideally the marketing should start even before the planning phase. It should root in the early phases of the idea validation and continues along with the product development. This way, once the earliest version of the product is ready, you will directly generate income.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • The digital communication is designed to inform the user about the product`s properties.
    • No split testing is conducted and the conversion-rate is not optimized.
    • You do not have a list of prospects that expect the product launch and are ready to buy as early adopters.
    • The communication to the clients, prospects and leads is not designed and no sales funnel is defined.
    How we help +
    • Conduct A/B split testing for your marketing materials.
    • Define and execute a list-building marketing strategy.
    • Optimize the web-site and e-mail marketing conversions.
    • Set up sales funnels and define the proper ways for communication.
  • ProdOps and Support

    Integration & Maintenance

    Why it matters?+

    The product maintenance is often neglected but the resources and energy it requires can be significant. If automated and proper data-collection is setup, proactive reaction procedures can be established.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • The system health is not monitored.
    • The support is reactive - an action is taken after a problem is reported by a client.
    • No data about production errors from all application components and tiers is collected and analyzed.
    • There is no capacity in the team to cover 24/7 support.
    • The security is not monitored.
    • There is no automated backup strategy.
    How we help +
    • Set-up monitoring system and error data collection.
    • Analyze the monitoring data in real time and establish reaction procedures.
    • Augment your support team.
    • Establish security monitoring and design & integrate backup solutions.
  • Analytics and Improvements

    Iterative Evolution

    Why it matters?+

    The value of your product needs to constantly be increased and the user experience can always be enriched. To do it in a meaningful way, you need to understand the users and listen to their opinion and needs.

    Symptoms for gaps+
    • Decisions for new features and improvements are made without surveying real users.
    • The product usage data is not collected or not analyzed.
    • You do not interview the prospects that fell down from later stages of the sales funnel or do not act accordingly.
    How we help +
    • Collect and analyze data about the product usage.
    • Conduct interviews with prospects and real clients to reveal ways to improve the product.
    • Analyze usage and define strategies for further development of the product.

“You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don't decide, others will decide for you.”

Book a free strategy session
~~Tony Morgan

Our Clients

The three latest client logos we work with:
Rankalyst
Knowo
Gosu

Case studies

or how our expertise and methodology help our clients be successful.
How to Run a Project

Too busy to specify

We received a inquiry to augment a startup`s team. They were about to miss the deadline and fail to get funding.

We jumped right in with a drastically shortened discovery phase and the team we staffed literally started burning scope from the first day. But the developers were surprised by an interesting responsibility - they had to sketch and send for approval UI wireframes before starting coding. This already was an indicator so our experts analyzed the situation.

A quick assessment revealed there hardly were any requirements. The user stories did not have a form of such, there were no acceptance criteria. The vaguely outlined functionalities were huge, but the description was tiny. We also noticed there was no single story completed since the very beginning of the project. The stories were dragged from sprint to sprint and there was nothing accepted.

After we interviewed the client`s leadership and figured out their main issue - there was no Product Owner and nobody from the leadership had the time to define requirements due to the fact they were half-time busy with other projects. They expected the developers to present them an early indication of the final result and be in touch with them throughout the development process.

There was another issue as well - nobody had realized and specified the non-functional requirements. The developed functionality never was accepted due to usability, performance and testability issues. With a complete lack of cross-cutting infrastructure in the application, the same problem was solved by each developer in a different ways, which was harming the consistency and was piling similar, but no 100% repeated logic. The application had gone non-maintainable.

After sharing our findings, the best practices and a quick plan for improvement with the client, we substituted 3/4 of the dev augmentation team we had deployed with experts - requirement managers, business analysts, an architect and a designer. We interviewed the client`s development team too and figured out the gaps in the process from their point of view. Knowing these and having our earlier analysis, together with the client we set better processes up, that were mainly built around the time-shortage of the leadership on the startup.

Soon we had a short Architecture vision put together, all the Requirements and the business insights, a design style-guide and all important UIs sketched and fed into a click dummy. The client`s dev-team with a tiny augmentation burned the whole scope in a timeframe two times shorter than the originally projected. The whole cost was dramatically decreased.

"Our product is completed with a smaller investment and higher quality", that`s what the client said. We can add - we also managed to do a full regression and stabilization and still complete one week before the deadline.

The client received their funding and together we work on a second release.

Analysis paralysis

Analysis paralysis

A startup was developing an educational game for pre-school aged children. An extremely interesting project - extensible gaming platform that was developing different skills in the young kids. A decision was made a small version of two-three games to be released as a first version as an MVP.

The interdisciplinary team consisted of different type of experts and scientiest, many of them with software engineering background. But in spite of the high level of expertise, the project developmet could not get started.

From an early stage of the discovery phase we noticed traces of "analysis paralysis". The decision making proces was heavy and artistic. Every small detail was discussed and reiterated and many big-picture concerns were pushed aside as "implementation details". Soon we discovered, that the choice of "two-three" games is not really made. There was no scope at all. Even the undertaking of basics of the platform and it`s extensibility was highly abstract and more indicative.

An interview with the technical leader and the architect revealed the fact all technical decisions already discussed and made turn out to be obsolete and no longer applicable on the very next day, when a new meeting with the team is conducted. The engineers were desperate. Soon we figured out the same situation with the designers - the color cloathing of the main character was re-iterated for many weeks and no decision was made. We figured out a similar issue with the psychologists, pedagogists, sound specialists and literally with every member of the team.

The tries to simplify the complex topic and a really small yet viable subset to be picked for the first release was causing a total dead-lock of trade-offs, priorities, discipline dependencies and ideas was blocking the process. Even exact expected goal from the small subset of games was getting blurred and the focus was totally missing.

The team of experts was clearly aware of the situation and knew a fresh side look is needed. They also expressed their vision, that a guidance is needed, so that they can structure an effective decision making, visualization and story-boarding process, so that they can start developing the product.

Our team conducted interviews with each of the experts and extracted the ideas and the priorities. We created a trade-off matrix and clearly communicated it to the client`s team. An UX designer from our team started leading the meetings of the creative subdivision of the startup and the focus was put to the elements of the big picture.

Soon there was a systemized and documented view of the priorities and goals of each discipline and the trade-offs were accepted by the whole team. The educational goals of the first three games were clear and the each discipline had ownership over a clear task. The requirement management team managed to put together a story-board and the early prototyping started.

After putting together testable prototypes, the pedagogists managed to conduct tests with a group of children and prove the concept. In the meantime the characters were designed and the technologies were chosen, based on the now clear requirements. Soon the game development started.

The project is in progress still and both our and the client teams work together towards completion of the MVP. The development process is uninterrupted and we work on the requirements of the next set of games. The kids in the team enjoy developing new skills while helping the adults make the games perfect.

Nobody can help

Nobody can help

A client contacted us with the request for team augmentation. They were desperate because the deadline was approaching and two previous vendors had failed to integrate with the team. It was already great and productive one and had burned a significant part of the backend scope. A set of UI layouts was prepared for implementation.

The technical complexity of the scope for the external team was not really high for skilled developers. Then why two vendors had failed with it previously?

Throughout the discovery phase we figured out, that no specific methodology was used in the project. The client`s team consisted of really senior developers, using cutting-edge technology-stack and the really challenging parts of the product were already in place with a really good quality. The mature developers were really self-organized. Together they had developed a stable architecture, but never documented it. According to them, an agile team needs to be focused on delivering a product and not waste time in documenting. Especially in a startup. They felt that any methodology would harm their creativity and would add additional overhead with ceremonies and time-consuming bureaucracy.

With the given setup, really nobody could help, even with easy things like developing a ReactJS-based UI. But there is an important thing to be considered - there is always a methodology and some process is in place. It might be an official one or self-developed. There always is an architecture as well - the question is if you really designed it or it happened by chanse. With a few short conversations with the team, we managed to prove, that communicating the status-quo agreements and technical decisions would actually take more time than just adopting and adapting a industry-standard methodology that the whole, now bigger team will like and follow.

In order to ensure a success of the project, together we picked a methodology (XP) and started following it. Now the larger and yet distributed team would continue to productively work with clear planning and predictable results. We also documented the architecture vision and conducted an assessment that revealed a few details to be improved.

Soon, together, we successfully release a stable product and continued improving the product together, now also augmenting the backend team.

Without a clear strategy in place, tools won't make any difference to you.

Book a free strategy session
~~Ian Cleary

Our Experts

are available to anwser your questions directly - Get in touch.
Evgeni Minchev
Evgeni Minchev

UX Design and Information Architecture

Teodor Todorov
Teodor Todorov

Software Architecture

Yana Nancheva
Yana Nancheva

Quality Control and Processes

Contact us

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N: +359 (889) 62 66 22

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Book a free strategy session or just let our experts know your challenges.