What was the scope of their involvement?
Neoteric generally provides development assistance within our predefined roadmap. There are many projects that we’d like to get done during the next couple of years, and they’re helping us achieve those faster.
We gave them smaller pieces of work until they essentially became another one of our teams. Neoteric collocate with one of our many software teams, working in the exact same systems and with the same transparency as everyone else. We essentially work side-by-side, even though they’re remote.
One of the products they worked on was a job management system. Haulage companies receive orders to move goods from point A to point B, and must line up each one of their trucks and drivers to process as many loads and drops as possible in a day.
Neoteric created a section within our existing product that dispatched jobs to drivers and vehicles, plotted those jobs along maps, and gave drivers directions. Those jobs are transmitted to the driver’s in-cab device, so that he can mark them as started, completed, or in-progress. We can also specify a few more parameters.
At the moment, Neoteric is a key member of the design and development team on a very complex project that focuses on driver regulatory hours. Rather than coming to them with UI requirements, we gave them very complex legal requirements and a backend that required complicated calculations.
They have worked on the whole frontend lifecycle. The normal process involved requirements gathering, breaking those requirements into more concrete elements, getting architectural direction, and proceeding to development, QA, and release. Oftentimes, outsourcers will handle the small engineering piece in the middle, which accounts for 30% of the process. The rest is the management and design of the product, and this is where Neoteric stepped in.
They can step in early in the development lifecycle, take rough requirements from myself and other product managers, and add value to them right away. They can design the product themselves, come up with a solution that fits, and then handle the engineering, QA, and release. These are all time-consuming pieces of development, so outsourcing becomes less valuable if we have to take care of them in-house. This is where Neoteric has shone.
What is the team composition?
We’ve brought them in slowly, starting with very small projects and getting into larger and larger ones. The time-tracking project is two months old, so we’ve taken on a full team for it. Before that, Neoteric had much smaller teams, or even single developers.
Rather than a project manager, their team has a product owner. This is a much more influential and involved role.
How did you come to work with Neoteric?
First and foremost, we were interested in Neoteric because of their modern skillset. Compared to other outsourcing companies, they provide a higher level of transparency. This aligned with our internal approach, and it was the most difficult thing to find when working with an external company.
Neoteric essentially spoke our language in terms of Agile system development and the general velocity around continuous release cycles. It was important to find someone who could move at our speed without acting like a rabbit in the headlights. It’s obvious when we find someone with this quality, and we identified it quickly in their team.
Neoteric wasn’t the first group we approached—we went to several outsourcing companies before settling into a relationship—but they offered great value for money in terms of relative daily rates. Geographically, we narrowed the search down quite a lot, not wanting to go as far as the Far East. We found similar nearshore development teams, but they were managed in the U.S. and came at two or three times the price. Neoteric offered similar quality, but at a very good price.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Neoteric in May 2017.