In 2015, Jarrang, a UK based digital marketing agency, expanded the Magento web development area of its business. The company was faced with the challenge of finding developers with the right skills and qualifications in a highly-competitive job market, which was exacerbated by rapid growth and a series of new projects following the acquisition of another digital agency.
Jarrang’s solution was to supplement their internal Magento team with nearshore developers sourced from Daxx. What follows is their story, as well as some suggestions on how to make remote development run like clockwork.
We talked with Stafford Sumner, Founder & CEO of Jarrang.
Daxx: Stafford, did you have previous experience with project outsourcing companies or other IT subcontractors? How does this experience compare to working with Daxx?
Stafford: Yes, we did. A hybrid staffing model is fairly normal for agencies like ours, partly due to a shortage of specialist developers looking for full-time roles and partly due to fluctuations in project flow.
We can easily find good quality front-end developers for HTML and WordPress, but Magento and full-stack developers can be disproportionately expensive due to high demand and lack of supply. That’s why we have previously worked with different third party agencies both on and offshore.
To gauge results, we need a high-quality service, fast reaction times and good communication skills. We had compared the quality of these options of different companies in the UK and other countries, and found that Daxx to be the most reliable, high-quality partner of all the options we looked at.
We previously used an offshore company to provide additional capacity for our business but we didn’t have a dedicated developer. The cost was lower, and the quality was OK, but the turnaround times were just not suitable. We also used another offshore development company where got a much faster turnaround and lower hourly rates, but the quality of the work was too low and we spent unnecessary time and money on quality control. With Daxx, we have a high-quality service, a dedicated developer, fast turnaround times, and, the investment is still lower compared to hiring a comparative in-house developer in the UK.
Daxx: What problems were you able to solve with Daxx nearshoring? How much value does a dedicated developer add to your business?
Stafford: As a Daxx partner, we have seen a healthy ROI (return on investment). The fact that we don’t have to rent a larger workspace or employ additional permanent staff as we grow has meant that our profit margins have also increased. Daxx is a reliable team giving us the confidence to expand our business further. Our plans are to double our revenues again next year and to expand our dedicated team with more Magento developers.
The partnership with Daxx allows us to concentrate on generating new business and delivering for our clients, which is what we love doing.
Daxx: I've talked with your Magento developer, Alexey, recently, and he is very positive about working with you. I’m happy that you guys make such a great team. Could you please share a few tips on how to manage a remote developer?
Stafford: Since we have two offices in the UK and clients across Europe, we are used to working with multiple remote teams. The key to a successful relationship is being able to communicate properly. Every day we have video conference calls, everyone can see each other from all our offices and say “Hello!”. We can reach each other via Skype all day long, so the teams can communicate as effectively as if they were all in the same room. We ensure if anybody wants to have a call they can just a pick up a phone and speak without feeling disconnected.
Daxx: What tools help you manage your local and nearshore development teams?
Stafford: We use the same Project Management, time management and communication tools for in-house and remote developers. Even if our internal developers work from home for a few days or work from a different office, they are still able to use all of these tools. We use Trello for project management and we use a time tracking system called Harvest, which allows us to charge our clients accurately. Further to these, we use Jira and Git, Beanstalk app, Office 365, Google Docs, and Skype.
Daxx: Any communication tips?
Stafford: To have fun and hang out with each other we have a weekly Quiz. It’s a game that is particularly popular in the UK in which participants try to answer general knowledge questions correctly. We also add topical questions about countries where our employees and clients live and work to broaden everyone’s understanding of each other.
Once a week everybody – including remote and onshore developers– as well as the wider team stops working to join the fun. We have a virtual scoreboard to see who is getting the most answers and, at the end of the year, winners get prizes. It’s a simple thing a team can do together to build rapport and working relationships without physically being in the same office.