The following writing is the third and final part of the "Location Matters - Farshoring vs Nearshoring for IT Services" article by Sean Murphy, published in Computer Weekly. You can read the whole article here.
When we made the decision to expand Marrable Services to include our own software development services we knew that we needed to find a partner company that could fulfill several cafeterias:
- Based in Romania, though preferably not in Bucharest;
- Medium sized, with the potential for growth;
- A one-stop-shop: the range of skills and experience to deal with any project or enterprise need;
- A proven system of project metrics to monitor project performance;
- Good range of IT Skills;
- Senior Developers with 5 years+ experience;
- Consultancy capability;
- Technical Architects and Business Analysts on board;
- Experienced in a good range of industries and sectors;
- Ability to work from Business Need through to End Solution;
- Solid infrastructure;
- Agile development methods;
- One team approach;
- High employee retention;
- High utilisation rates (90%+);
- Right approach to Knowledge Transfer and Innovation.
On meeting Qubiz CEO and owner Marcel Anghel, we were immediately impressed by his acumen and business approach. An affable person, he is a serial entrepreneur, and is now building his 3rd Software Development Company with the emphasis on quality, service and value. He also has interests in property - office and leisure real estate - which means he can quickly expand his operations to accommodate larger projects.
With his latest company Qubiz he has more than 5 years experience in nearshoring for clients from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, France and the USA operational in different industries, including: Healthcare, Social Care, Professional Services, Financial Services, Public Services, Education, Leisure and Hospitality, Manufacturing, Media, Logistics and Real Estate. He has wide experience of building and supporting core products.
Qubiz is a company of 60+ people, based in Oradea, with another satellite office in Cluj-Napoca, both centers have easy access to a high quality graduate pool. Marcel is very focused on his staff and uses a range of incentives and a clear training and career path to ensure his employee retention, which is currently exceptional at more than 90%.
The company is fully experienced in Agile delivery with SCRUM as de-facto standard in the company.
Project Team Performance - Measurement and Analytics
The delivery of quality services is an important concern, and Qubiz therefore have Project Management and Technical Councils overseeing all operational processes striving for continuous improvement by a system of measurement, analytics, improvements and controls.
Each project is measured on the following factors:
This is a measure of the time each team member spends directly on the project, with an industry average acceptable rate of 80% and a high of 90 - 95%.
Balancing staff time to allow for training, knowledge transfer and mentoring must inevitably take time from project. Qubiz still maintains a 90%+ utilisation rate.
Although software development is complex and not a repetitive process like manufacturing, we believe quality can be measured by the number of bugs per iteration based on severity, priority, impact and amount of re-work. Less than two P1's and less than three P2's per quarter caused by software bugs are within an acceptable range - this is of course debatable depending on the service.
Velocity is a capacity planning tool often used in agile software development. The velocity is calculated by counting the number of units of work completed in a certain interval, the length of which is determined at the start of the project. Velocity can increase as a team gels together and begins to fully understand the project deliverables. This ultimately means that the capacity of the team is increasing. Team velocity is calculated at the beginning and end of each project iteration usually every 2-3 weeks.
Working in an agile environment with small product increments delivered every 2-3 weeks and with such a close working and collaborative relationship customer feedback is continuous.
To ensure long term client satisfaction both with the team and with the outcome of the project, every six months feedback is collected from the employees of the client that were involved in the project. The system measures three metrics: commitment, quality and communication both at team and individual level.
The Proof of the Pudding
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Qubiz's approach is their willingness to take on smaller projects in order to prove how they can offer better value. Beginning with a smaller project makes sense for all concerned as it gives the client an opportunity to test the supplier, and also the supplier an opportunity to really get to know and understand the business.
In February 2013 Thomsons OnLine Benefits decided to engage with Qubiz engineers to work on their core SaaS product. This decision was partly driven by a larger existing supplier being unwilling to take on a small project. Happy with the way this was progressing they expanded the team working on the core SaaS product to include QA staff and to take on a small team to deliver a project on behalf of the M.O.D. More information on this project and others, including project metrics, can be found in case.