I am happy to share something that has been nearly a year in the making - the creation of our engineering hub in Poland, to support our London-based product teams, and the release of our developer toolkit, Fastlane.
We consistently hear from our clients how difficult it is for them to get “from idea to adoption” when it comes to digital products. The process of conceiving digital products that execute against a business strategy, through design and development, through go-to-market execution, to paying, happy customers is still far too painful for them - often taking years and numerous partners to pull off.
Our mission, since we started in January 2018, has been to solve this problem for our clients. Our intention has never been to compete on scale or breadth with the big consultancies and systems integrators vowing to do the same, but to develop perfectly-rounded and highly-specialised product teams that build deeply trusted relationships with clients from strategy through execution.
We’ve worked with a great range of clients - both incumbents (M&S, Superdrug, Deutsche Bank, Fiserv, Investec and Defaqto) and challengers (The Bank of London, Xero, Iwoca, Speechmatics, GoCardless, Pollinate) on this basis - and have had a measurable impact on their businesses.
In our early years, our strength was in the upfront element of product development - shaping product strategy, designing products, leading programmes and providing product ownership to get products to market. We operated a network of similarly-minded technology partners across bespoke web and application development and packaged software delivery, allowing us to oversee several end-to-end programmes without creating our own engineering capability.
The product delivery landscape has changed a lot over these last 5 years, with new tools, methodologies and ways of working proliferating faster than ever before. We’ve found it increasingly hard to find engineering partners that share our philosophy and strategy when it comes to product development - especially as we’ve matured our own product delivery practices and made key hires. So a year ago, we made the decision to set out on a roadmap to create our own engineering capability.
We chose Poland as the home of our engineering team, because of its abundance of product talent, and because a couple of our clients’ tech operations are based there. From Poland we are well placed to serve our clients in the UK and mainland Europe. Since the back end of last year, we’ve created a local hiring entity, appointed local management and been through several product delivery lifecycles as a joined-up, multi-location team.
When we set out on designing our engineering capability, we considered a few key principles, based on insights in shipping products in both greenfield and legacy organisations. We identified the need for fast starts to projects, reusability (at a product, not just a component level), and streamlined testing and feedback processes, as key to improving the speed and quality of our outputs. Having an established delivery playbook is one thing, but we knew that we had to go further in this journey to make it a reality - culminating in the development of our proprietary developer toolkit ‘Fastlane”. Based on early project experiences using our platform, we estimate that it saves 20-30% of effort (and therefore cost) in the creation of new digital products.
Taken together - our established product teams across the UK, our extended engineering talent in Poland, and our proprietary product development platform - we are in a unique position to get ideas into products, into the hands of customers, more effectively than our peers. We’ve already started to prove this as we’ve shipped everything from websites to complex enterprise applications.
We are committed to growing our engineering team, alongside the rest of our business over the coming years - as well as continuing investment into delivering Fastlane’s roadmap. Our long-term plan as a company remains to scale our specialism into new markets. Having already worked across mainland Europe, our hope is that Poland will also provide us as a base from which to serve a more international client-set.
To find out more about what we are up to, or how we can help get from business strategy to adopted digital product, get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org