Rethinking the Development Process

One of SovTech’s main service offerings is Developers-as-a-Service (DaaS), a fully managed service which allows for both large businesses and startups to build cutting edge applications for their business through DaaS’s Agile Scrum Teams.

I spoke to Edward Vincent, Director of DaaS at SovTech, to find out more:

1. What exactly is DaaS?

SovTech’s Developers-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering includes the creation of cross functional and multidisciplinary Agile Scrum teams that allow for fast and iterative execution on client deliverables, within the Agile Scrum framework. These Agile scrum teams include the development team, product owners, scrum masters, business analysts as well UI/UX design expertise.

2. What Industries do your Agile Scrum Teams Specialise in?

We mainly work in the financial services sector although we span across multiple other sectors ranging from Agriculture to other Tech companies. We are often  approached by Venture funded Startups to build their businesses from the ground up. We love the startup space, it’s super exciting to watch a business grow from inception all the way through to business maturity. A recent example of this is Fincheck, a financial comparison platform that we have helped to consistently evolve with the market over the past 3 years. On a larger scale, we also work with quite a few blue-chip corporate clients such as Standard Bank, Deloitte and Discovery to name a few.

3. How does DaaS offer value in the corporate space where there are often established development teams?

A lot of corporates are more entrenched in waterfall practices, which means that they aren’t typically able to respond and innovate on market changes as fast as they would like to.

We’re able to offer rapid development and innovation through our dynamic Agile processes, which allow us to quickly execute on client needs.

Our Agile process is unique in the fact that before a line of code is written, upfront time is invested in establishing a shared vision, establishing the validity of the product strategy, developing the product roadmap and outlining the initial user stories. This period is known as Sprint Zero.

Once this has been explored in conjunction with the client, our usual 2 week sprint process takes effect. This includes determining the sprint goal, conducting the sprint planning session, standing up internally and with clients, conducting a post sprint retrospective and most importantly demoing the work achieved during the sprint to all major stakeholders.

The core value delivered during the sprint is that we are able to deliver production ready pieces of software faster than traditional deployment cycles. This means feedback loops are shortened allowing for responsiveness to change.

4. How do you build long term relationships with clients?

In order to ensure long term delivery, we offer an advisory and consulting layer within our cross functional DaaS teams that creates a long term strategic vision for the product.

A lot of clients will come to us with very broad requirements and it’s our responsibility to really sharpen their vision so that we can make sure that the software we are delivering will provide value to end users. We do this by creating the product roadmap, which is the guiding light through our sprint planning process and day to day work.

In that way, we are able to make sure that we partner with our clients in the long term by finding the perfect combination between the tech that we’re building, the process that we follow and people that the software needs to create value for. We’re also focused on setting up longer term SLAs with our specialised maintenance team that ensure continuous maintenance and software improvement, so that value is delivered through the product’s entire lifecycle.

6. What kind of projects are you working on at the moment?

One of the really exciting projects we’re working on at the moment is Project UBU, which is looking to seriously scale their operations. The initial build was focussed on getting an MVP out to the market in a short period of time. Our current focus is now on the scalability of the application to allow the application to reach the goal of 1.6 million users in 2019.

We’ve also been involved in building trade finance platforms for the banks and employee benefits programmes for insurance providers.

When it comes to blockchain, we’ve got one of the highest concentrations of blockchain developers on the continent, so that’s a space that we’re really focused on.

Other kinds of applications we’re building focus on increasing business revenue and decreasing operational overheads by building software that reduces administrative burdens, and automates manual tasks.  

8. What does the Future of DaaS look like?

From January 2019, we will be operational out of Cape Town in order to meet the growing demand for our offering. We are also in the process of setting up our offices in the UK.

We do however recognize that it is important for us to remember that no matter where we are in the world, our main objective is to solve client problems. We will remain committed to flexibility, delivering consistent value and ensuring that we maintain the harmony that we have built between our Agile processes, our people, our tech and the clients that we love to work with.

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