Python/Django Application Project
Role: Principal at TWE Solutions
We’ve recently started working on a software tool—called Bacon—that complements our business, which is being developed by asap.
Bacon is a management platform for servers and workstations for enterprises that coordinates several open technologies. It allows for a more modern and easy-to-use management experience to do things like patching, installing and uninstalling software, remote scripting, monitoring, and general system control.
Our first goal for this project was to completely refactor a piece of code we had written in-house, as well as to have the front-end changed to ReactJS, which has been accomplished. Our next goal is to keep adding features and providing support for the product.
We went online and looked at reviews for companies specializing in Python and Django since our tool had been started using those. We did a worldwide search using numerous sources and finally narrowed it down to two that we liked. We actually started with a different firm but weren’t so happy with the experience so we brought asap in to take over and things have improved considerably since then.
asap provided us with full-stack development, i.e. both back-end and front-end development. However, before they could get started, they had to assess the existing code. They then had to work on the full refactor and the ReactJS front-end, which had to be completely rewritten. That was the scope of the first part of the project but, as I mentioned, it is now an ongoing relationship.
Regarding the team, Pablo Dacoll is our PM. He’s a great communicator who gives us good support and is skillful at translating our thoughts and ideas to the developers. Then, there’s Fabricio who is great at the more complex areas and at guiding the other software engineers. He mainly works on the back-end but is a full-stack developer so he can do front-end as well if needed. Finally, there are about six other team members working on either front (ReactJS) or back-end (Django and Python).
Pablo coordinates with four people on the TWE team: myself, our graphic designer and UX expert, our operations manager and one of our chief engineers. We communicate over Slack, email and web conferences. Our tracking methodology is pretty standard, with Jira for ticketing and a Kanban board for managing the project. I add tasks directly to the board and assign them. When dealing with larger requirements, asap gives me estimates regarding time expectations to get an idea of the cost and I approve them accordingly so they can be implemented. Pablo also provides weekly breakdowns on the number of hours, which, together with a monthly report, makes billing and productivity easy to follow.
We’re very happy with asap and the relationship we’ve built with them so far. They are very transparent and have an extremely talented team. We’ve developed a more professional product that has allowed us to start bringing the early-adopter phase to the market. We are now actively marketing the product, which was a major long-term goal for us.
Our next major goal is to reach a certain level of maturity, going from the early-adopter phase—where bugs and not-fully developed features are to be expected—to having the features the customer needs in place and working properly 80% of the time. Hopefully, we’ll be finished at least with our planned, core features by the end of February. We then hope to achieve product maturity by mid-year—July or so.
What do you like most about the company?
I like the transparency from Pablo and the team, as well as the access to top engineers. asap is very easy to collaborate and communicate with as everyone has good bedside manners.
I also appreciate the way billing is handled. Sometimes PMs, and even competitors in our own business, gauge their customers by overbilling. That is not the case with asap; Pablo bills us very fairly and it actually doesn’t add up to that much. He adds a lot of value for the money we pay.
What they should improve on?
That’s a tough question; I’d say anybody can find something to improve. In this case, it might be making what each member is capable of more clear. I feel knowing their exact level of proficiency would aid communication. But that’s the only thing I can think of.
I hope the work stays as rigorous and intense as it has been so far because we have a lot left to do. We haven’t worked together for that long and I hope it stays consistent since, if it does, it would be the perfect partnership for us.
App Designing (UI/UX)