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5/21/2010
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Daniel Dern
Daniel Dern
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Janeiro Digital Speedramps Software Development For SMBs

For companies too small or new to have a software development team in place, Janeiro Digital supercharges the process and shortens the cycle with project management and teams already used to working together

For companies too small or new to have a software development team in place, Janeiro Digital supercharges the process and shortens the cycle with project management and teams already used to working togetherManaged services, SaaS, clouds and other third-party offerings offer SMBs a growing range of ways to outsource apps, back-room IT, et cetera.

But what if what your company wants to do is create new software, e.g., to run the business better, or as a new business? There's no shortage of excellent, experienced highly-qualified developers out there eager for full-time, contract or temporary project work. (I've got too many friends in this situation, and you probably do, too.)

But finding the right individuals is different from finding a group that has the right sets of expertise and is used to working together.

Just to hire and assemble this kind of group can take half a year... and if you've got a specific software project in mind when you hire, once the heavy lifting is done, you've still got payroll obligations.

One company offering a, well, cloud-like alternative is Boston-based Janeiro Digital, founded by serial entrepreneurs (and brothers) Jonathan and Justin Bingham back in the beginning of 2007.

I had an interesting chat with Jonathan Bingham, who's the CEO, earlier this week. Here's some of what we covered.

"My brother and I worked at one company who spent most of their venture capital on development," says Bingham. "For our next company, we looked at a hybrid strategy to reduce burn rate and make better use of engineers. But it was always difficult for an organization to do this kind of outsourcing."

The brothers developed what they call their "adept" process for software development projects... and decided to offer it to other organizations looking to build technology who didn't have a team in place. "We offer a peer CTO to map out what needs to be done, and have engineers we work with all the time, so we know they work together." This makes this approach, according to Bingham, "a great match for companies too small or new to have the right development and project management team in place."

For example, for Park Street Capital, which had a specific online financial product they wanted, "We knocked a release out in six months, which would have been how long it would take them to put together a team," says Bingham. And the client was able to "turn off" the engineers once the release was done.

"It's like 'cloud computing for engineers,' you use only what you need," says Bingham. "We can collaborate with the CEO and CTO, understand the business model, and do it using a dispersed team. It's the new way to build technology."

In terms of their own staffing, Janeiro Digital is "near-shore," according to Bingham, looking for developers in Central and South America, " so the time zone is more closely aligned to U.S. time zones" -- important for on-going projects requiring collaboration and other interaction. "We're active on about eight projects, with close to fifty developers... usually five to ten on a project, sometimes as many as twenty."

But some will be local. "We always have an architect engineer working face to face with the client, and working with the dispersed team," says Bingham. So we are always looking for specialists, e.g. in PhP, and generalists to manage the teams," says Bingham.

According to Bingham, Janeiro Digital uses the Scrum project management and software development framework, and the "agile" approach. "To us, that means bulletproof requirements, rapid prototyping, and constantly delivering completed working pieces of functionality."

Who owns the final code? "The customer owns their code, we own the knowledge and process," says Bingham. "And we have some technology we use to develop the code." The client is free to take over support and maintenance -- Janeiro Digital will provide training.

For SMBs, going to a company like Janeiro Digital should mean faster time-to-product, which means faster time-to-revenue.

How much faster?

"They can go from concept to customer release in as little as six to twelve months, at least a six month savings in time because we don't have to build out the team, and probably another two to three months' savings because we know how to build software," says Bingham. And when the release is finished, the company avoids the cost of idling developers.

"For an SMB to do it themselves, they know how to translate requirements into information that's tangible for a remote team, find the team, coordinate that team.. there's so many risk factors," says Bingham. "It also means they have lower initial capital requirements, so an entrepreneur can take less venture capital, and/or use that venture capital for strategic staffing, like senior marketing and sales leadership) than software coders."

Bingham believes their Adept methodology is the future for software development, for getting to market faster and leveraging more of the company's resources. "I wish I'd had this model for my previous companies, it would saved years."

Don't Miss: How To Hire Right For Your Business

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