7 Ways Our Team Evolved in 2017

I joined AppDirect in the first half of 2017 because I was intrigued by its business model: AppDirect delivers a platform for SaaS Marketplaces. AppDirect provides deep functionality and our feature set has grown commensurate with our market share & revenue.

We are evolving our code to be more modular — enabling teams to work on smaller portions of the code and increasing developer productivity. Simultaneously, we are evolving our Engineering team with new processes, organization, and focus.

One of my earliest messages to Engineering was about Evolving the Team. With the end of the year approaching, it’s a good time to reflect on how we’ve adapted.

Here are 7 ways our globally distributed team has evolved in 2017:

  1. Evolution of Our Processes to Improve Customer Satisfaction
  2. Evolution and Integration to Create the Cloud Management Suite
  3. Evolution of Pune as our PSO Center of Excellence
  4. Evolution of Buenos Aires with Focus on Reseller & Connectors
  5. Evolution of Montreal for Cross-Team Collaboration
  6. Evolution of Our Quality Engineering Organization and Processes
  7. Evolution of Our Engineering Roadmap

Evolution of Our Processes to Improve Customer Satisfaction

In 2017, we dramatically improved our ability to resolve support issues raised by customers. We resolved hundreds more support JIRA tickets than have been filed this year, and have significantly reduced our backlog of customer-raised issues.

Customers have recognized our progress and are much happier with the quality of our product offering. This has resulted in a significant increase in customer satisfaction and a significant decrease in the average age of pending customer issues.

Decreasing Age of Support Tickets

Evolution and Integration to Create the Cloud Management Suite

In 2017, we integrated the products from several acquired business units with our core product to create the Cloud Management Suite (CMS). The combination of these products was enabled by new technology from multiple areas including: Identity & Access Management, Platform Backend technologies, and Platform Frontend frameworks.

At our annual conference for partners and customers, we unveiled the Cloud Management Suite — a new product that will provide more market opportunities for our customers and our company.

Engage: the AppDirect Annual Summit on Cloud Service Commerce

Evolution of Pune as Our PSO Center of Excellence

In 2017, we scaled our India team to 100 individuals across diverse areas, including: Security, Customer Support, Professional Services, Doc Center Engineering, and Test Automation Framework Engineering. In the second half of the year, we announced our intent for Pune to be the center of excellence for our Professional Services Organization (PSO). Other functions will continue to operate in Pune, but the primary office theme will be service delivery for customizations of our product.

In Q4, we hired a new Head of Engineering for the Pune office; he will be the local leader in India, and will partner closely with stakeholders across the business.

Visiting the AppDirect India team

Evolution of Buenos Aires with Focus on Connectors & Reseller

In 2017, we staffed the Engineering efforts for Connectors and AppReseller in Buenos Aires. Although we have other projects in the office, these two initiatives are the anchor tenants of the site. As an enabler of key ISV integrations, Connectors are strategic to our goal of distributing high-quality applications through our customers’ marketplaces. And just two months after its launch at Engage, our new AppReseller product is already responsible for a significant customer win!

The Buenos Aires office was established in mid-2016 and has continued to evolve as the local leaders partner with their global counterparts.

Visiting the AppDirect Buenos Aires team.

Evolution of Montreal for Cross-Team Collaboration

In 2017, the teams in our two Montreal offices evolved to work more closely together. Our Data and Analytics team is a collaboration between our two Montreal offices (as well as a small contingent in Sunnyvale). The Engineering team from our acquired AppHelp business unit now reports into the same organization as other teams based in Montreal and SF.

Engineers in our two Montreal sites are coordinating efforts across: build tools, program management concerns, and project tracking.

We are evolving to truly become “One Team, One Dream”

Visiting with the AppDirect Montreal teams.

Evolution of Our Quality Engineering Organization and Processes

In 2017, the Quality Engineering team eliminated its dependence on external-QA consultants and significantly improved our automated test coverage. One of our teams has 3x more UI tests than last year, and through more test automation we have shaved 1 week of manual regression testing from each release.

We co-located Quality Engineers with their Developer counterparts in Buenos Aires, improved our release deployment on-time percentage, and surpassed our 300th release of our flagship product. We have also solidified our strategy on application performance testing and monitoring.

With the evolution of the team, we reorganized the majority of Quality Engineering into one global reporting structure.

Evolution of Our Engineering Roadmap

In 2017, our core Engineering team refined our long-term Engineering Roadmap to evolve our technology for reliability, scalability, extensibility, and performance. We’re using this Engineering Roadmap to drive quarterly planning and to advance our microservices architecture.

We established a group dedicated to Engineering Excellence that enables other engineering teams with tools, measurements, and processes to deliver with high quality and velocity. We started an Enterprise Architecture Council for technical review of strategic projects across all AppDirect Engineering.

We also continue to track Engineering effort to ensure that we’re appropriately investing our resources appropriately.

Evolve, or Stagnate?

What matters most in the evolution of a team is this: how do we react to change? Startups are messy business. I joined AppDirect to help this team reach its full potential.

I’m thrilled to be at AppDirect, but wish I had joined the team sooner. There’s a lot of great product and technology that has been built over the past 8 years, but also a lot more work to do.

Evolve, or Stagnate? The choice is clear.