Engagement with AlreadyBuilt

Updates

In our startup journey, there have been quite a few milestone. Today is another such occasion.

Gyrix is proud to announce our engagement with AlreadyBuilt as an Implementation Partner.

          

Founded in 2016, AlreadyBuilt is a Startup from Sydney, Australia. It is a B2B marketplace to buy and sell commercially proven solutions with the moto of “Wheel reinvention prevention”.

During our journey at Gyrix, there were many instances where new clients had similar requirements as to the ones that we had already developed for some other client earlier. Due to IP and copyrights limitations, we could not pass on the benefits to the new clients and they had to invest in re-developing the same solution from scratch. We had realized a gap in the market, but could not find an immediate solution.

Soon enough, we came across Mr. Dane Eldridge’s profile on Linkedin, saw something interesting listed there and quickly scheduled a call. We both were excited to learn about each other’s profile and depth of work. There was an immediate synchronization of thoughts. Gyrix shared additional information to qualify through AlreadyBuilt’s stringent on-boarding process. After few weeks of deliberation, AlreadyBuilt confirmed Gyrix as the first ever off-shore Implementation partner.

This engagement opens up new opportunities for both the companies and provide a definite win-win. We wish AlreadyBuilt and it’s team all the Success together !

Agile for an IT Start-up

Updates

Before I start with the article, it is prudent to establish my credentials to write on this topic. I am Piyush Ramavat, CTO at Gyrix TechnoLabs. With 10 years of experience under my belt, I’ve worked with companies big and small on Services as well as Products. With 6+ years of experience in India, I have been working in Australia for last 4 years as a Senior Software Engineer.  I have used Waterfall, Agile and Hybrid Methodologies throughout my career and have expertise in driving them in a Start-up environment. That’s it about me.

Ideal Audience: This is a technical article and may not suit a beginner, it is better to have some understanding about Agile before going further.

Here are few links that may help:

http://agilemanifesto.org/

http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development

So what is Agile ?

Agile management is known since 2001 and is applicable for all type of industries. Agile methodologies are very famous and quite dominant in the world of software development.

There are numerous practices like Scrum, Kanban etc. Each has their own pros and cons and here are numerous tools as well to digitally manage the projects.

 

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Individuals and interactions

Self-organization and motivation are important, as are interactions like co-location and pair programming.

Working software

Working software is more useful and welcome than just presenting documents to clients in meetings.

Customer collaboration

Requirements cannot be fully collected at the beginning of the software development cycle, therefore continuous customer or stakeholder involvement is very important.

Responding to change

Agile methods are focused on quick responses to change and continuous development.

The Agile Manifesto is based on twelve principles

  1. Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
  12. Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly

Statement:

Well, manifesto and principles look quite impressive and feels like if we follow them strictly we’ll be able to deliver great quality product; on continuous basis; on time.

 

Q: But how do we do that?

A: Firs thing Agile says is “being flexible”. There are many practices and methods available like Scrum and Kanban to manage and stick to above principles. So instead researching on all just use one that is already available and proven to be successful.

Q: We are a Start-up, we are inexperienced in Agile methodologies, we don’t have additional resources (Agile Lead / Scrum Master) to help drive our development. So how do we start being Agile team?

A: It’s simple, you do not need expertise in Agile practices. You just need enough knowledge about agile practices and software development.

 

Scrum: Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development. It is a flexible, holistic product development strategy where development team works as a unit to reach a common goal. The key principle of Scrum is – It allows the customers to change their requirements. Working on goals rather than entire product helps achieve this quite effectively.

This also ensures that customer gets what they want and also prevents rework or change request efforts.

 

Kanban: Kanban is a method for managing “knowledge work” that balances demands for work with the available capacity for new work. Work items are visualized to give participants a view of progress and process, from task definition to customer delivery. Team members “pull” work as capacity permits, rather than work being “pushed” into the process when requested.

In software development, Kanban provides a visual process-management system which aids decision-making about what, when and how much to produce.

In short Kanban method shows the current work in progress, team’s capacity which allows everyone including customer to see current situation. It allows better planning and also prevents over committing.

 

Familiarise yourself with few agile terms

Backlog: Product requirements that are to be developed and delivered (Features, bug fixes, non-functional requirements etc)

Epics, Stories: Product backlogs are commonly written in Epic & story format. Epic represents requirements for one entire feature and stories are smaller sub features of which are part of Epics.

Sprints, Iterations: Sprint is timeboxed effort that is restricted to a specific duration (one week, two weeks). Sprints are repetitive hence iterations are commonly referred as sprints.

Hope, you’ve brushed up your understanding of Agile today. In the next article I will go in detail about my experience of implementing Agile in Startup environment.

Freelancing Market Trends – Geography

Case studies

Understanding freelancing market trends and leveraging them is the difference between growth and stagnation for many Web Services companies like Gyrix. However due to lack of awareness, skills or inclination many companies miss to analyze the trends.

As described in the previous article, many of these offshore companies rely on Freelancing portals to fetch projects. Based on our discussions with peers in this industry, we see quite a few companies struggling to occupy their teams and utilizing the available skills. To help them do a better job, we are sharing our Data-based insights after analyzing these freelancing websites.

For any market research report it is important to state the objectives, methodology and limitations. So here we go

Objectives:

  • Identify market trends across various factors like Geography, Opportunities, Skills
  • Search for behavior pattern of clients on freelancing portals
  • Identify suitability of freelancing portals for small and mid size IT Outsourcing companies
  • Answer questions like – Are Freelancing portals suitable to achieve growth for the IT Outsourcing companies.

Methodology:

  • Sample size: 14,700 projects across freelancing portal in Web Development category
  • Duration: The data was captured across a month in 2nd half of 2016.
  • Process: Data was manually cleaned and fed to analytics tools. Standard analytic processes were used to unearth trends.

Limitation:

  • As the data was fetched only across a month, factors like holidays and seasonal periods may have some impact on it
  • Human error in the results should be assumed to be around 2 to 3 %

 

We shall divide the freelancing market trends in 3 sections:

  • Geography
  • Money
  • Skills

Today, we’ll cover the Geographical aspect of freelancing market trends:

  • Which continents and countries are leading in posting freelancing projects ?
  • What is the market share of different countries  ?
  • What is the inclination of different countries towards different project types ?
  • Which countries can a company realistically target ?
  • Clients of which country are more likely to award projects than others ?

 

Let us start with the simplest: Which continent and countries have the highest number of projects ?

Absolutely no points for guessing

Continent-wise projects

North America tops the chart with almost 50% of the projects. Europe is a distant second closely followed by Asia. Australia being the single continent-country stands at fourth position

 

Coming on to the countries.

We will take points away if you name any other country than the USA to top the chart.

Freelancing Project Across Countries 2016

Top 10 countries for Projects under Web Development Category

 

USA alone contributes to 40% of all the Web Development projects. Followed by UK as a distant second. Surprisingly India stands a very close 3rd. This might indicate that second and third level of outsourcing is pretty much in vogue here. Australia comes at 4th position, followed by Canada.

 

After this comes the division of projects in Fixed Price and TnM (Time and Material).

There is clear inclination (though not a tilt) towards Fixed Price projects across all the countries.

FP and Hourly Projects - Country wise 2016

Categorization of Project in FP and TnM for Top 10 countries

TnM projects constitute around 47% of the total projects in USA and Australia. Whereas they stand at 45% and 39% for Canada and UK respectively. For India the percentage is 29%.

Coming to the final and most important Chart.

 

Clients of which countries are likely to award projects than others

Of all the projects listed Globally under Web Development Category, only 45% projects have a realistic chance of being awarded. So the next time you find a project that is just perfect for you, that has the ideal budget or hourly rate, that has the client with best rating and feedback… pause for few seconds and consider this…

Before your company gets into competition with other awesome freelancers on the platform, 55% chances are that the proposal will be wasted because of the CLIENT. The client’s priorities / mood / inclination / preferences are the biggest threat to your project conversion matrix.

Still there are few countries who do better than others as shown here

Country wise Project Conversion chances 2016

Realistic chance of awarding Project – Globally and across Top 5 Countries

Australia tops the chart with an above par conversion chances. It indicates that clients from Australia, though lesser in number are more serious than other countries in awarding projects.

*Wink wink* You now know, more than 2/3rd clients from which country are wasting your time. Beware !

 

And that’s it for today !

We hope a better understanding of these freelancing market trends will benefit your company. Leave your comments and feedback here for any improvements in presenting the results. Share your request for specific information, we shall try our best to unearth it from the available data.

 

Next up “Freelancing Market Trends – Money”.

Stay Tuned !

 

Disclaimer:

  • The analysis was done based on the limited set of data available from freelancing websites, hence it neither claims to be 100% accurate nor is a reflection of the entire freelancing market
  • The outcomes are shared here for informational purpose only and no liability is borne by Gyrix or any of its members, for decisions made based on the analysis
  • Readers are expected to treat this as good faith information sharing only and should use their judgement before making decisions of any kind

Special thanks to Shreyas Padhye for co-authoring this article.

The IT Services Landscape of Today

The IT Services Landscape of Today

Case studies, Updates

With the emergence and growth of freelancing websites (like upwork, freelancer, guru) the IT services business has changed drastically. Smaller IT companies have mushroomed across the developing world. They cater to projects from the developed world (US, Europe, Australia) that were earlier inaccessible.

These changes have brought new challenges for everyone.

For clients:

  • Finding the right outsourcing partners
  • Developing skills to effectively manage distant teams
  • Gaining productivity despite time-zone differences
  • Assimilating members from different cultures without meeting each other

For IT companies:

  • Increased competition
  • Working on market adjusted rates
  • Team members turn into competition because of very low entry barriers in the business
  • Continuous upskilling of team members and associated costs

Along with the above challenges, there are disruptive forces at play:

  • Technological updations
  • Automation of tasks that were fetching handsome revenues till now
  • Cyber Security

So how should a typical IT services company survive amid all the chaos ?

Gyrix IT Services

With our experience of building a successful and scalable IT Services Company at Gyrix, we have gained few insights to handle these challenges. The insights are divided in three categories:

  • Client Front
  • Team Front
  • Market Front

 

 

Client Front

Client

  • Retention is preferable than Acquisition: We made genuine attempts to retain our clients for the maximum time possible. Some of our clients are continuing with us for more than 3 years now. It gives the company stability, the team members develop functional expertise, payments are never a worry and the rapport can be utilized for expanding the engagement.
  • Up-skill team members for client needs: We faced challenges in meeting all the technological needs of our long term clients. It is better to develop the new skills in-house, rather than losing the opportunity to an outside entity. It gives bandwidth to learn under protected environment (with lesser risks). Sometimes the clients are willing to bear the cost for the team member to learn new technology.
  • Deliver value while sometimes bearing the cost: Services is a test-match that never ends. An inning is always followed by another. The performances are bound to vary, some clients would be very happy, some may not. But if the goal of delivering “Value” is clear, life becomes easy. An IT services company Sometimes should be ready to bear Cost while delivering Value Always.

 

 

Team Front

Team

  • Smart is better than average: For longevity of the company, it is better to hire smart people people at higher costs rather than below-average people at lower costs.
  • Up-skilling is for the company not for the individual: Setting aside a budget to incentivize team members to do global certifications, should be considered a business cost.
  • Shuffle team at regular intervals to reduce dependency: It may be an enticing option to allow a stable team to continue working for a long term client, but making changes below the threshold of disruption is always better.
  • Test the bench capabilities: Team members not allocated to projects should be tested regularly by shadowing to live projects. It keeps the morale high and trains them free of cost.

Based on our discussions with peers in the IT world, we found many companies are following most of the above learnings.

 

 

However, the one aspect where many IT companies (especially the smaller ones) lack is the Market Front.

Market Front

They

  • Tend to make convenient assumptions
  • Work on their own strengths rather than the demand in the market
  • Allocate disproportionate resources for unnecessary technologies
  • Bet on “emerging” technologies prematurely
  • Assume that all the technologies are relevant to all the geographies. E.g. The list of technologies more in demand in Australia may not exactly match with US.

We had realized the importance of understanding the Market Front earlier in our journey. Hence we developed skills to analyze the Freelancing market with the objective to:

  1. Carefully observe technological trends
  2. Understand market demands
  3. Unearth geographical patterns

We performed a detailed activity over several week, fetched information from some of the freelancing websites, applied analytical tools to sift through the huge amount of data and drew conclusions based on the results. When we had solid conclusions in front of us, we tweaked our sales and delivery strategy to enhance our potential of growth.

Analytics

 

Update: We’ve published the article on Freelancing Market Trends across Geographies !