Effective scaling through teamwork
Scaling is a process of applying significant changes to a product incrementally to ensure it is perfectly suited to a long-term market presence. Our scaling teams are focused on rapid, stable improvements and are equipped with a mix of technical and people skills to bring each project to a successful conclusion.
One success factor we prize above all at Boldare is collaboration and teamwork – how we work together, how we work with our clients, and their customers. That collaboration is particularly critical when scaling products.
You have your proven product concept and vision, maybe created and tested prototypes before proceeding, invited feedback and input on your MVP (minimum viable product), and then ensured that the releasable version is as close to a perfect match for the market as possible.
In other words, at this point, your digital product is out there, in use, successful, and the demand is rising. It’s time for scaling – to incrementally (but quickly) make improvements that will ensure your product is stable and sustainable enough for widespread use.
For this, you need a team of people that can combine technical and engineering know-how with market research and analysis skills. Naturally, you might choose to do this in-house, but if you’re looking for expert assistance that will leave you with a solid product with a solid market performance, Boldare can help.
Quick context: What is scaling?
At Boldare, we use a combination of the lean startup approach and the agile scrum framework in our digital product development process. At the scaling stage, the clear focus is on ensuring that not only is your product a good fit for the market, but that it will be robust and reliable enough, with the right in-demand features, to acquire the market share you were originally aiming for when you first started developing your product idea.
User bases change. They grow, develop new requirements, maybe even use your product for purposes you never even contemplated… The purpose of scaling is to adapt your product for a long market life, usually via a series of tested iterations, making small but significant additions or enhancements to better align with long-term user needs.
The benefits of scaling your digital product are as follows:
- market growth and expansion;
- a product that is up to date with new technologies;
- minimum disruptions to users or to product performance during the scaling process.
Putting together a scaling team
The accountabilities of a scaling team can be summarized as:
- Horizontal and vertical expansion of the product;
- Engineering the product for scalability;
- Engineering the product for stability;
- Setting up automated regression testing;
- polishing the existing functionalities.
Although the membership of a scaling team is tailored to the precise requirements of each individual project, it’s common for a team to include the following roles:
- Frontend Developers
- Backend Developers
- Quality Engineer
- Business Analyst
- Visual Designer
- Interaction Designer
- UX Designer
- Product Designer
- Information Architect
- Qualitative/Quantitative Researcher
- Digital Strategist
- Scrum Master
- Agile Coach
The people fulfilling these roles will come together to provide a one-off combination of knowledge, skills and experience to your project, including digital product development, software & app development, quality assurance, scrum and kanban – all focused on scaling your product.
During the scaling process, they may use any of the following industry standard technologies:
However, those are just the technical/role requirements. As mentioned above, we value collaboration extremely highly and the right mix of people needs more than just a checklist of technical skills. At Boldare, we select our scaling teams according to three main principles:
- Past colleagues – Previous experience can be a strong bond and familiarity can drive higher team performance. No wonder that we insist that at least two members of each team have worked together on a past project. In this way, we accelerate the usual team pre-performance process and start producing quality results faster.
- Balanced skills – Strong technical skills are essential to digital product development but they’re only half the story. Our teams are also selected for their ‘soft’ skills, such as interpersonal communication and self-organization.
- A blend of experience – Experienced ‘old hands’ are good to have on a team; they understand the development process inside and out, and they’ve seen many of the project obstacles before and know how to get past them. We attach equal value to our skilled-but-less-experienced team members. Why? Because every project is unique and a fresh pair of eyes is always needed.
The perfect scaling culture
In any team, no matter the size, there emerges a shared way of doing things, common values, standardized working methods and principles. At Boldare, our scaling teams prioritize:
- A focus on product quality
- Incremental, high-impact wins
- Rapid pace of development
- Flexibility of thinking and response
- Open collaboration
See also: Development teams
Benefits of working with a scaling team
A focused scaling team will take your market-worthy product (whether it’s a new development or an existing product that needs an overhaul) and, working with user feedback and input, create a refreshed version that now has a longer market life to look forward to.
However, clients often lack the necessary talent themselves and it is often too time-consuming to develop that capacity in-house (and, unless you have a constant stream of products under development, it’s often unnecessary too). Bringing in an experienced external scaling team, capable of working in tight partnership with your in-house teams to enhance the product, is often the answer.
From producing a plan for refactoring your product to building a solid, enhanced and sustainable new version, an expert scaling team will guide you through this stage of your product development (and, in the wider context of your business, your digital transformation journey).
The scaling team in action – PSO, a real-life example
PSO (or Polskie Składy Oponiarskie) is a leading tire wholesaler in the Polish market. The company decided it was time to upgrade its online sales platform. The fact that this was a long-term project to be carried out while simultaneously maintaining the existing site made it a special challenge.
At this point, Boldare had been working with PSO for some years, including building the current online store, so our familiarity with the details of PSO’s operation and history of collaboration were excellent foundations for the scaling work. Over a two-year period, the platform was expanded and improved for both B2B and B2C users, including the following points:
- Elimination of double entries in the product database (a significant task with 7+ million products being updated seven times daily).
- Reduction of the product catalogue upload times (post-scaling, upload times are a quarter of what they were before).
- Addition of business intelligence solutions for PSO’s B2B users, including advanced statistics and competitor comparisons.
- Integration of the sales platform with the company’s platform for tire installation services.
Enhancement of the user experience and interface
The headline results of this scaling project include 5,000+ regular users (a 50% increase in paying site members), more than 7 million products on offer, and 180,000 orders annually.
“We’re happy that after many months of hard work we can see clear results and increased satisfaction for end users who, instead of thinking about problems, offer interesting solutions for the already functioning application.”
-- Tomasz Jeziorek, PSO IT Manager
Effective scaling of digital product
Whether it’s the final key stage in the development of a brand new digital product, or the upgrading and improvement of an existing, proven platform, scaling is all about focused product enhancements while the product is in use – preferably, without the existing users experiencing any disruption at all.
At Boldare, our bespoke scaling teams are selected for their unique combinations of knowledge, skills and experience. Capable of rapid, detail-oriented work, our scaling teams incrementally improve your product by working alongside the client in an environment of collaborative expertise.
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