Support to n-Coders – A case study

n-Coders is a leading South West based software development company developing bespoke business automation packages for a wide range of companies in many different sectors. These systems have included amongst others: time management programmes for a large skilled workforce, software applications for a hi-tech gym system; business applications for financial; legal services with a need to automate man-hour intensive processes; and a booking system for a holiday company.

We were invited to work with the n-Coders team to look at three key areas: Strategic Planning, Operational Streamlining and Business Development.

Strategic Planning was something that the company’s senior management had made an initial start. However, as is often the case, the day to day pressures of delivering products and outputs to the customer had pushed this strategic development down the priority list. We were able to help. Initially by understanding what n-Coders did; its unique offer; its process for delivering that offer; its aims for the future. We were then in a position to write a comprehensive plan for developing those aspirations for the future; putting in place some realistic way-points to get there. We were able to set the team off on this course. Going forward it is essential that the plan is regularly reviewed and adjusted according to circumstances and progress.

At the same time we looked at Operational Delivery. As is often the case the company had grown organically from a very small and efficient 1-2 person team into 8 team members. This is fine until the demands of orders become such that a process needs to be established in order that manpower is efficiently used, quality is assured and output in delivered in a timely fashion. Building software requires all of these factors to be well refined and understood. This is what we did. Key within it was the process of build, test, merge and deployment of each version of software and importantly building a matrix by which each project had sufficient time allocated to it to reach deadlines required. Not easy and there were some difficulties however now there is a robust process in place which should ensure: Quality and Timeliness.

With all small teams there is often the need for team members to be double or treble hatted. So while delivering operational output, within the optimum processes that had been developed there was a need to also look for new business. We worked through this with the team; identifying time needed in which to reach out to new customers – attending business shows, online research, developing an online presence, through websites and social media. Importantly the need to maintain and upset to current customers is a must; they know how the company works, its products and hopefully are very content with what they have had developed previously.

Finally recruitment we helped to identify where and what priority the next team members should be. Technical operational lead was essential, the constant search for the right software developers and key administrative support.

The company has a full order book going forward and we maintain a close link with the senior management.

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