To build an online platform for searching qualified real estate intermediators.
Client contacted us in January 2018.
In United states there is so called "1031exchange". A 1031 exchange, also called a like-kind exchange or a Starker, is a swap of one business or investment asset for another. Do it right, and there is no tax. You change the form of your investment without cashing out or paying tax.
Our initial task sounded like:
Develop a solution to automate 1031 exchange. The key feature should be usage of blockchain technology while making the leading solution in this niche.
- 1031 exchange process involves at least 3 roles: buyer, seller, qualified intermediary
- The nature of operation is transferring rights from one owner to another(contract)
- All participants do not trust each other.
All above is a classic problem to be implemented by blockchain technology.
What we did?
On this project we've delivered such Services:
- Business analysis
- Project management
- Software development(web)
Project in a nutshell:
- Catalogue platform for specific niche
- Technologies: Ruby on Rails, Postgres
- CMS to manage content
How we did it?
Lets us share with you a bit ore about details of this project implementation that added most significant value to successful delivery in each step.
What is Business analysis?
Every project need to be specified in order to be delivered in predictable way and be a real solution for customer needs that you target.
BA is a first phase in the chain of activities which aims product definition in written form. As a results of this phase we produce assets that describe: what users want to do, how they will do it and how it will look like(visually).
Identification of user pain points, product niche, business goals, monetisation and other aspects of future project - usually it is a result of tight collaboration with Client and mix of our experience and professional best practices.
When we started to work on the project we realized that implementation of initial idea would be a mistake.
We've identified following aspects:
There are 2 types of people involved into flow: service providers and consumers.
Service providers are diversed. There is no way to target them easily. Consumers find them manually using public sources. Therefore a lot of efforts would need to be spent to attract them to the Product and educate about aspects of blockchain technology. Customer didn't have resources for such Campaign.
So we proposed alternative approach:
Split project into phases:
- On 1st phase we will build a directory of service providers and offer it as major platform on the market which can be also also used for promotion. As a result we will get trust and attention of both sides.
- On the 2nd step - develop and release more advanced platform, based on blockchain. But project will already have a community which can be reached easily.
Our proposal was supported by our client and we switched to next step of BA:
- writing specs in the format of User stories
- design sprint to produce wireframes
- specifying acceptance criteria
HINT: Easy way to draw wireframes?
We can recommend as a very simple tool to quickly draw wireframes:
- it is fast in terms of process
- it has enough components
- it has free plan for easy start of new project
- you can collaborate in real time in browser with other people
No, this is not an advertisement :) Just one of tools we use every day.
You might think that on this stage design is a simple rendering of wireframes.
No, not so simple.
When a professional designer joined the project he brought:
- cool landing page
- better User experience(UX)
- bright and fresh design
Why PM is important on the project?
Project manager is a key person who helps:
- developer and other team members do their jobs effectively
- answer our Client's questions earlier then their asked.
On this project there were such challenges(prettytypical btw):
- limited budget
- part time involvement of some team members
- specific deadline
How to cope with them?
What we did here:
- Accurate time logging by team members: we use our own ERP system that automates full billing and time tracking process. It also uploads time to our Jira instance to allow easy control of available resources.
- Automatic time and progress control vs budget:since we have all time in Jira we can use full power of reporting there
- Documentation: If the documentation is implemented properly it gives the highest level of transparency for everybody involved in the project."Properly"means: predictable and solid structure of hierarchy, best practices in documents, and be up to date!
- Reporting and proactive communication: It is evident that if Client is not equipped with enough information about process he starts to be nervous and have to think about the project all the time instead of doing his other daily routines. We know what to say, when and in which form to make it natural and maintain feeling of predictability.
- Be experienced: Anton(thePM on this project) also played a role of BA that helps him to make wise decisions. It allows to cut corners and choose simpler and more effective solutions that prevent waste of money and maximize satisfaction of Project end-users.
When development is started the key people on the Project are developers.
Devs are personally responsible for the results as they convert theory into real Product.
In order to produce results developer need to be:
- Professional engineer
- Understand that the result of his work is not code, but solution of specific business problems with proper characteristics.
We've involved 2 developers: one for back-end and one for front-end part.
The team did a great job: not only we've developed everything in plan, but we've completed the project earlier then needed. Plus we've implemented some additional features that appeared to be reasonable for final release.
Activities to maintain transparency:
- have demo application to demonstrate results
- daily updates of demo app
- demo meetings with Client to verify that we move into right direction
- Product released in time and budget
- Project was implemented from idea to production release, passing business analysis and design phase.
- During BA phase we've helped to find better way of idea implementation that is better aligned to reality
Anton Kostyuchenko (ProjectManager of SimplyDeferred) "I am very satisfied with the work of our team and with the result we've got. The product looks attractive and performs the required functionality. The chosen architecture allows us to scale the project anytime. It was a pleasure to implement such idea. I hope we will have a chance to bring many more projects for Nolan Johnson