As a young company in the very noisy space of product design and development, there is nothing better than successfully concluding an engagement with cheers of acknowledgment and adulation from your client.
As an organization, we have only been rolling for a couple of years and still, in many ways, feel like we’re just getting the wheels moving underneath us. There always seems like there’s more in the tank and improvements to be made and while you trundle along with these thoughts at the back of your mind its difficult to sit back and recognize the achievements that you have made. That is until the point you successfully deliver on a project and a client expresses, in no uncertain terms, their gratitude and the acknowledge the impact you have had on them and their product. We are lucky enough to be in that position now as we ramp down and conclude our first project with the team at Dosh. Our relationship with Dosh has been one we have enjoyed, embraced, and know will continue following the conclusion of this current project.
Our engagement with Dosh came out of our historical knowledge in a space they were looking to move into. Our team already had experience building Fintech solutions for personalized cashback AND had historical experience of blending that world with the world of travel. For Dosh, as a cashback platform itself looking to move into the space of travel and hotel booking, the connection was a no brainer. But just knowledge and understanding of the same space was the tip of the iceberg for creating a successful relationship and project. The underlying success was far more a story of skills, collaboration, teamwork, and proactive enthusiasm.
More than just an off-shore team
We never look at ourselves as an outsourced resource for any engagement we undertake. Our goal, first and foremost, is to create solid partnerships and teams. This means leveling the playing field between Finlabs and our clients and looking at all the resources on the table collectively regardless of who they work for. Our goal is to improve and augment existing teams and to seamlessly integrate into them, to work side-by-side with employees at our clients and all tap into the collective strengths of the group.
This was exactly what we did with our friends at Dosh, to the extent we embedded our team with the client and flew a team of developers over to Austin to work shoulder to shoulder with their internal team. Sure, as a bunch of Finns in the heart of Texas we were somewhat fishes out of water. But that’s part of what we love about our work. Jumping into a new this new relationship with the team at Dosh was a jump that was a whole lot of fun, and a fantastic experience overall.
Laying the technical foundation
In the initial phases of the project, we had a chance to evaluate and propose service architecture that would be able to handle the kind of demand expected by the users, and anticipated load demands coming from the travel offers engine. Speed is always critical from an experience standpoint and making sure the travel deals could be filtered and delivered without delay to the user in the app was crucial. The existing service architecture was quite strongly defined already by the Dosh tech leads. We worked directly with the team at Dosh to fully understand the existing architecture and moving parts of the system and the integrations needed and successfully put forward an action plan and architectural structure that would ensure speed of delivery was optimized.
Slotting into their process and workflows
As with any organization, Dosh has worked hard to develop a process and flow to their projects and technical development. This was something we knew we had to work within in order to make life easier for Dosh as a client of Finlabs. After all, why should they change what they have been doing successfully for some time for our benefit?
We were amazed at the quality of their team onboarding experience. The documentation was impecible and the process for onboarding and integrating our team into the world of Dosh was warm, welcoming, and incredibly helpful to us as a team. All questions from our team were welcomed and answered with no objections making it very clear from day one that this was going to be a great team partnership.
Working hand in hand with their team daily
Throughout the project's lifecycle everything was done to make sure the Finlabs and Dosh teams lived and conversed in an open and collaborative forum. To set this up as effectively as possible we embedded the Finlabs team in the Dosh offices in Austin for an initial 2 week kick-off period. This 2 week kick-off period was very important to the success in this project. It gave us the opportunity to understand and experience the way Dosh operated. We could immerse ourselves in the environment and culture they have created, and we got to meet the team in-person to create a deeper connection between team members by allowing people to put personality, faces, and voices to the names on the collective team roster.
We may have been, in many ways, fish out of water in Austin as it is certainly a very different environment than our Oulu home. But the experience was great and we enjoyed this embedded experience immensely, walking away from it with amazing memories and lasting connections.
Constant collaboration and communication
Even as we found ourselves back in our comfort zone of Oulu, Finland, we still set up and maintained as much constant contact and communication with the team at Dosh. As usual in software development, Slack was also heavily used for daily communication making sure conversation was fluid and open and no questions went unanswered. Daily standup meetings allowed us to reviews progress and any changes or evolutions to the specifications. Project progression was smooth and well managed, thanks to experienced project manager and technical lead. Everyone on the team had their own inherent knowledge and strengths when it comes to building products and services. As the conversation flowed these skills became more apparent an the result was that everyone knew who to turn to in order to solve different pieces of the puzzle, making things more fluid and easier for everyone on the team.
Our only challenge would have been timezones. But when you live in a place where the sun is constant or non-existent depending on the time of year, dealing with different timezones becomes something we find easier to workaround 😉.
The constant collaboration helped make sure there was no lag caused by black spots in working day crossover. In fact, at times, we could use those gaps effectively to allow progress and feedback to be collated and addressed at one time rather than in piecemeal. All in all the teams at either end knew the best ways to collaborate to address any specific problem or issue and the result was steady progression to the goal that never looked like it would be pushed back.
Successful meeting of deadlines and KPI’s
The passion and drive of everyone at Dosh was something we very much shared on our team. The timeframes, goals, and metrics for success were felt as strongly our end as much as they would at the client. After all, their success is our success.
The combination of talent and passion across both teams was guaranteed to result in success, and it did. Decisions were made fast and often. But the entire time we were learning more and more about the service which meant that pivots and direction changes were not ones coming from left field and we fully understood the reasons and implications at every turn. These decisions were overall team decisions, not client requests, giving us a feeling of ownership and responsibility for the product. A feeling we love.
We had a firm goal to launch the travel booking section of the app, without any compromise on the existing app experience, by (date). A timeframe we achieved without issue and plenty of time to roll in testing and QA in prior to public launch. 👍
In conclusion, As we wrap up this engagement with Dosh we do feel we have built a relationship we value greatly, and hope continues to grow. As mentioned at the start of this article, nothing is better than receiving acknowledgment of your input from the client themselves and happily for us that’s exactly what we got.
“Dosh hired Finlabs to build out our travel product. That product was a large scale project with an aggressive timeline. Having worked with several subpar contracting agencies in the past, I was skeptical that they could deliver what was needed in the time needed. Finlabs not only met expectations, but they exceeded them in almost every aspect.
Their engineers are top tier - some of the best contract engineers I've worked with in my career. They are professional, passionate, and dedicated individuals. They integrated seamlessly with our internal teams, adapting our processes, standards, and procedures without issue. They continually went above and beyond to make sure the project stayed on track. We launched the product successfully, on time with next to no critical issues or regressions. I give Finlabs my highest recommendation for the work they did for us at Dosh."
- Jason Bender. Engineering Director, Dosh
As we ramp down one engagement we are always looking for new and exciting challenges. If you're looking for collaboration, partnership, and a team dedicated to achieving success, please reach out and share your problems and challenges. We know we can help tackle them together.