Startup, Mid-Market, and Enterprise Solutions
Bit By Bit
Legacy code is notoriously hard to work with for many reasons. One of the biggest is that it’s so complex. With so many dependencies and paths through the codebase, estimating how long something will take is more like forecasting the weather or predicting the stock market than planning a manufacturing process. Over the years, we’ve experimented with all types of ways to work with legacy code so that clients see value fast and can plan out their budgets and not be bothered with those notorious overages that most software projects are unfortunately known for. What you see below may surprise you, but so will our results.
Code Health Checks
When you go to a doctor, it’s impossible for them to make a diagnosis until they’ve gathered some information, so depending on the condition they’re assessing, their assessment will change. For some patients, a quick interview and a peek in the throat is all that’s needed. On others, it’s blood work, scans, and consulting specialists.
We approach code much the same way. If you’re a high-growth startup that’s looking to scale, you’re going to have very different needs than an established enterprise. We’ll work with you to find the right way to begin our relationship. And just like with a doctor, some of our clients find that an assessment and some advice is all they need and others need constant and ongoing care until their codebase and team are healthy enough to not need us.
For smaller teams and codebases, we’re happy to collaborate with a member of your team using an online tool such as ScreenHero. After a few hours of “screen-pairing” we’ll have a good sense of your codebase and can make some general recommendations about where to put your remodeling efforts. After each screen-pairing session, you’ll get a written report of what we accomplished and how you can keep the momentum going. Screen-pairing is ideal for startups who need help on a more ad hoc basis or teams who have a good sense of what their needs are.
If you have a larger team or need to articulate the value of remodeling to a less technical executive, an in-depth Code Inspection can be an invaluable tool. We’ll run your codebase through a number of different analysis tools and give you all the scrumptious details that your developers will love. We’ll also write up a report that clearly outlines recommended actions in priority order, along with business-friendly descriptions of our findings. In order to complete our Code Inspection, we will need access to your codebase. Some teams add us to their GitHub team, others send us provisioned desktops and have us access what we need through a virtual machine set up on a server behind their company firewall. Once we get access to the code, it usually takes us about three weeks to go complete our Code Inspections, depending on the complexity of what we’re analyzing.
While all of our code health checks are designed to provide stand-alone value, most clients engage us to do some kind of ongoing development after our initial assessment. We work best with clients who are looking for an ongoing relationship rather than a short-term project and we have arrangements that are designed to fit into a variety of budgets.
First Paid, First Served
We’ve built our operations to enable us to be as flexible and responsive as possible. As your needs change, we’re able to adapt, scaling up and down as you need us to. One of the ways we achieve this is with our first paid, first served policy. After your initial assessment, you’ll have three business days where you’re at the front of the line for ongoing development. If you decide not to start development work right away, no worries. You can always come back. But we can’t guarantee how long of a wait there may be at that point. Think of it like a restaurant. Your initial health check is like your reservation. Most restaurants will hold your table for fifteen minutes if you don’t show up for your reservation on time, but after that point, they’ll give your table away to the next person in line. Our approach works much the same way.
Whole Team Approach
When you work with us, one of the benefits is that you get access to our entire team, not just one developer. And our developers communicate with you directly rather than playing telephone tag through a project manager. Behind the scenes, we work together to help our teammates solve problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is often done in a dynamic and self-organized way. This means you’re able to get the most value for your project without a lot of hassle.
Focus on Communication
Communication is just as important as code. That’s why we have such an emphasis on making sure you’re in the loop daily about what we’re working on. We prefer using tools such as Slack that enable easy group communication. Each day, you’ll get a daily status update that outlines what we accomplished, what we plan to work on, and where we need your help. You’ll also get detailed budget and timesheet reports weekly. Plus, we’ll look back every month or so to reflect on how we’re doing. We’ll ask you what’s going well, what could be better, and what should change. Once we have your input, we’ll put together a value report that is easily shared with executives.
Payment Options For Organizations of All Sizes
Whether you’re a startup who needs help just a few days or a month or a large enterprise that needs a multi-year contract, we can set up an arrangement that works for everyone. Here’s a look at our typical arrangements:
RETAINERS - Our minimum retainer starts at $5,000 and works very similar to an attorney’s office. You pay upfront and that gives you access to our team when you need us. This option is ideal for clients who need our help infrequently. You can always schedule a screen-pairing session as a smaller scope of work if the $5,000 minimum is more than your needs.
ARREARS - Several of our mid-market clients prefer an arrears payment schedule. For these clients, we have a semi-monthly payment schedule that we can set up once you know you’ll need at least four months of ongoing work. After that, we’ll need at least thirty days notice to roll off.
PROJECT BASED - Enterprise and Government clients often have procurement departments that need projects to be described in specific ways, as opposed to the time and materials arrangements that work for our smaller clients.
No matter your organization’s size, we’re happy to work with you to develop a scope of work that fits your needs.