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A start-up organisation offering consumers the facility to conduct cashless exchanges for services and skills. The service is focused on the local market (up to 5 miles away) with an emphasis on physical exchanges. Example exchanges are someone to give a sports massage in exchange for personal training or someone to teach scuba diving in exchange for learning to water ski.
ServEx was formed from a frustration, one of the founders was trying to find someone locally who could help them with some basic building work, at the time they were between job roles and cash conscious. They have a broad range of skills they knew could be useful to a builder and sought a service that could help them swap services without the need for either party to spend cash.
Whilst there had been attempts to solve this challenge, most of the resulting platforms either suffered from poor user experience, a small user base, low value or intangible services, or the introduction of a complex or unnecessary in-platform currency.
To be successful the founders knew they needed to overcome all of these issues and create a platform that was quick and easy to engage with. Having founders who are experienced in building software products, they understood the need to launch a high quality MVP to market quickly.
“When we approached Igale we had a vision for ServEx, a few scamp wireframes to map how the user flow could work, some rough designs, a logo and a lot of enthusiasm. We knew that we needed to work in an Agile way for this project due to the evolving requirements, and the fact that we would need to validate and test as we progressed.”
James Harris, Product Owner ServEx
ServEx engaged Igale to take the initial vision through to a quality deployment built on a scalable architecture. The solution was built in a componentised manner on the .NET tech stack with other components built in Angular, Azure and Google Firebase. By using multiple frameworks Igale were able to rapidly build, test and iterate before crystallising the design using the best tools for the job.
The solution would focus on delivering functionality necessary to facilitate, conduct and review an exchange, as well as enabling users to request services or skills that were not already advertised on the app.
ServEx is hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud service, and the componentised architecture gives the team the ability to scale either the solution or individual components as required post launch. A technical roadmap details performance limits of components and ensures that the service can continue to scale as required. Igale’s experience of building enterprise-scale software ensures that even at MVP stage, components are well designed and reusable to avoid wastage where possible.
The platform will in time operate on a freemium model, and the architecture has been built to allow for this. By working with Igale’s network of trusted partner agencies we were able to engage specialist skills as required for aspects such as Market Research, User Testing, Performance Testing and User Interface Design.
By keeping a secure record of interactions, and flagging inappropriate services, we have designed the application to be as easy to manage as possible for the ServEx team.
The main challenge with this project was building an MVP with evolving requirements whilst trying to maintain our target sprint velocity; and minimising code wastage. Through effective communication with the ServEx team and the whole project team adopting the principle of continuous partial attention we were able to collectively make decisions on what would be prioritised in the backlog.
ServEx now has an enterprise grade solution that has been built for just over half of the cost of one of their original fixed price estimates. Whilst there are another two phases planned at the moment, the solution passed UAT and Beta testing with only very minor amendments.
The feedback that the ServEx team have had on the app has been extremely positive and the team are pleased that they haven’t suffered the challenges that are often associated with bespoke development projects, namely delays and over-spend.
“I needed a company that I could trust to act as a partner rather than a supplier and help to ensure we delivered a quality experience first time. After speaking with numerous development partners, and their clients, I knew Igale were the only viable choice for me. I’ve never spoken to more positive reference clients, and have subsequently become one myself”
James Harris, Product Owner ServEx