What was the scope of their involvement?
In Ireland, we have a UX designer and a lead engineer who architects the design of our system. I’m kind of a project manager, and we work in an Agile way. We do all the research and upfront preparation on the problems we’re solving, but we don't necessarily spec out solutions. Once we prioritized what we wanted to be working on and the problems we wanted to solve, then the guys at Binary Studio worked with us on coming up with solutions. All of our frontend work now is done with them, so that obviously guides a lot of the solution building. The API that you need to build to support the UI is driven by the UI.
I’m from a development background myself, so we’re not overly reliant on what Binary Studio might produce. I'm not a big believer in upfront spec work because I don't think it works very well. I prefer to do small, quick iterations and test them. It’s taken us a while to get used to working like this as a startup and to settle on a process, but it’s been good so far. We have a strong, stable platform after 7 or 8 months of proper product building, and we’re pretty happy with how Binary Studio has settled in and has been able to work like that. We’ve evolved the process slightly. Every couple of weeks, we reevaluate how things are working, and we make tweaks here and there.
They’ve helped us build the whole UI. We have it built as a React JS application on our frontend, which is all Binary Studio’s. They’re heavily involved in that. Our API is built as an event source microservices architecture, which is quite specialized and is not typically how you would build the first version of anything, but it was a calculated and considered decision to build it that way. Binary Studio has been heavily involved in that too and has worked on the backend. One of their team members, Michael, is pretty central to it all. He’s kind of our lead engineer’s right-hand man to a certain extent. He’s a very experienced developer. So, those are two of the main areas that are contributed, as well as the features. There are probably not as many features to talk about that would be of any interest, but Binary Studio is heavily involved in all of the features we build.
How did you come to work with Binary Studio?
We’ve been looking for technology partners like Binary Studio since the second half of 2016 to help us to grow our startup. Dublin is quite a competitive space for developers in particular, and we were looking for an external company—ideally, one from Eastern Europe or Ukraine—that is known for giving critical feedback. Some of the tech companies in Asia and India are more used to doing only what they’re told, which we didn't really want. We wanted a company that was more of an extension of our team and that worked in an Agile way. We have quite a specific architecture and development style that we’re doing, and that actually showed up in Binary Studio’s blog, so it showed that they have an interest in it.
While looking at companies, we engaged with Binary Studio and a few other businesses. After reviewing the pros and cons of all of them, Binary Studio came out on top. They just ticked a lot of our requirement boxes, and they were a better fit overall. In hindsight as well, we were kind of glad we went with them because we liked the way they had set up their company. They should probably promote it a bit more, but they have quite a good setup in terms of bringing graduates through. We also were looking for a long-term arrangement, and Binary Studio was probably one of the few that quoted us per month for a developer. A lot of the companies quoted us per hour or per week.
At one time, we were working with two frontend and two backend developers from Binary Studio, but then we had the opportunity to hire a DevOps guy, so we had to downsize, unfortunately. Now, we’re down to two frontend and one backend developer with Binary Studio, but we hopefully will be increasing that at the end of the year.
How much have you invested with Binary Studio?
I think we’ve spent around $130,000–$140,000 over the last 8 months.
What is the status of this engagement?
I think we started working on the first contracts in August 2016, and we’ve been working with Binary Studio ever since.