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7 Core Qualities for Business Growth

We did it! Netguru has made it to the list of 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe. With the 644-percent revenue growth between 2012 and 2015 (65 percent year on year on average), our company was ranked 188, outperforming such big tech players as Skyscanner and Spotify. We would not have been recognised but for the hard work of our team. We also believe that our mindset and business strategy laid the foundation for this success. We promote our values internally and externally, which helps us achieve our business goals. Today, we would like to share the seven core qualities of our company we preach and practice on a daily basis. All of them made it possible for us to grow exponentially over just a few years.

Predictability

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Even though we were pleasantly surprised by being ranked on the Financial Times list, we are aware of our growth potential. Each department plans their goals quarterly using V2MOM modules and every quarter, we plan all activities in accordance with our vision and values. Good planning enables us to stick to our V2MOMs, preventing unnecessary distractions. We know where we will be heading in the long run and can precisely predict what’s coming up next.

Deadlines matter 

In Q3 2016, we made a decision to create a new Corporate Identity alongside a fresh redesign of Netguru’s website. We knew that the company was evolving dynamically – we were introducing new services and technologies into our stack, expanding our portfolio and producing much more content for our audience. As the old version of the website became outdated, we decided to give it a fresh coat of paint and to achieve it in only three months. On top of that, the primary goal of the new CI was to visually reflect our overarching values: transparency and communication. We also wanted to avoid confusion and keep the image consistent across all communication channels.

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Evolving Fullstack Remote

Keeping in mind the timeframe, our capabilities, and resources we had at our disposal, we set out a plan of how to achieve the goal and how to measure the results. And we did it. Everything went smoothly and according to plan. At the end of Q3 2016, we released a brand-new design of our website and a fresh CI.

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Speed

Working in technology raises the challenge of keeping up with current trends and adjusting to the continuously changing industry. What’s new today will become obsolete tomorrow. To stay on top of things, you need to adapt really quickly, otherwise, the competition will blow you off the water. We know that the rule applies to our clients as well. When startup founders turn to us with business ideas, they expect to receive a ready MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or have new features implemented within a limited time scope. Time pressure is massive in such a disruptive environment. 

We’re mindful of the conditions in the industry we operate in, and that’s why we try to act as fast as possible. We often work on groundbreaking tech products created by founders who aspire to be the first on the market – in each case, time is of the essence for them. Each day matters, so we always try to do our best to meet deadlines and stick to the schedule even in the most complex projects.

Last year, Netguru partnered with entrepreneurs and engineers from New York who wanted to challenge the fashion and tech industry with "the most advanced and immersive sneakers ever.” ShiftWear, a crowdfunded company, aimed at developing a platform delivering one-of-a-kind sneakers that could be customised in real-time with the use of a slick app. The MVP was released in just six weeks from inception.

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One key benefit has been the speed. Getting to the market fast is crucial for ShiftWear. Without Netguru, it would have been impossible to hire experienced engineers and designers so quickly. [...] These Netguru guys working on ShiftWear have been great at getting to the point. You give them a task to do, and they approach it with no personal agenda. They made it exactly as we wanted them to and stayed on schedule. From my perspective, that is great. Nick Johnson, the Lead Hardware Engineer at ShiftWear

Our speed and the ability to deliver projects within tight deadlines is one of the key values that we communicate to our clients. That said, we never do anything without regard for the cost – we will never sacrifice the quality. We don’t make unrealistic promises when we know something is impossible to achieve.

Partnership

We are not a software company selling ready-made apps. We provide our clients with full consultancy throughout the product development process. We treat our clients as partners who we want to build businesses with. We recognise how much trust they vest in us, and we feel accountable for doing our best to achieve their strategic goals.

We start with a detailed onboarding and scoping session that helps define the goals and outline the plan. This part is crucial before any fruitful relationship can happen. We don’t stop there though. We hold weekly calls and meetings with clients to make sure we are on the same page and following the same direction. Clients join dedicated Slack channels to track their project’s progress, report issues and ask for our help whenever they need it. They also track updates in Jira, where can they see the bugs, sprints, and what tasks have been already accomplished. This kind of partnership has proved very effective with clients, because most of them appreciate a hands-on approach, which is what our clients often mention when giving feedback and references.

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The founders of Helpr, a platform that aims at improving the personal care services market in the UK, have mentioned repeatedly that our close cooperation with companies was the key reason they chose us as partners.

Netguru had pretty good references which underlined reliability and precise budget delivery. Transparency was a big issue for us and we liked that about Netguru. You were open to inviting us to your office, and we were very keen to visit. We liked your openness, because we wanted to be hands on the project. Steve Dailey, co-founder of Helpr.

The founder of Campsited, a platform for booking campsites, touring parks and holiday parks, also emphasised the importance of our approach.

I like the communication methods and processes in Netguru. The overall feeling is that Netguru are not a separate company but part of one Campsited team. Finan O'Donoghue, Founder and Director at Campsited.

Deep down inside, a good partnership starts internally. We believe that the well-being and happiness of our employees will directly translate into the satisfaction of our clients. That’s why we provide best possible working conditions, numerous benefits and a friendly, stress-free working environment. Our corporate culture is based on 9 qualities that attract the best talent on the market.

Flexibility

In 2015, Ruby on Rails was powering 80 percent of the software developed by Netguru. Despite all the advantages this stack has over different ones, we knew it might not be ideal for all the solutions.

Node.js proved very efficient with real-time and heavy-computing apps, so we decided to give it a try as well. Our R&D team first introduced some internal projects to test Node.js’s capabilities and then we needed only three months to build Node.js into our services. The new technology increases the competitiveness of our products compared to the biggest tech players on the market that have already incorporated Node.js in their stack.

The same happened with React Native. React Native gives us the ability to use the same codebase across different mobile platforms, and this can save plenty of development time, especially when you intend to scale the app in the future in more than one OS. We’ve already written one app in React Native, and we soon expect to finish another one with clients from the Middle East. Concurrently, our developers are working on internal projects to test React Native’s functionalities and create our own components that we could reuse in the future.

Flexibility plays a crucial part in all our projects. Last year, we designed Raqib50, an app that holds Members of Parliament in the National Assembly in Kuwait accountable for their actions. The release date was scheduled for February 2017. What we could not have foreseen, though, was that the deadline would have to be moved three months ahead as an early election was scheduled in Kuwait for the end of November 2016. To meet this deadline we had to adjust quickly. Together with Raqib50’s founders, we decided to postpone the development of two features, and the app’s new version was released three weeks before the unexpected early parliamentary elections. Five days before the election, we also added one of the previously dropped functionalities.

Transparency

Effectively managing more than 300 people across a whole country is not an easy thing to do. Making everyone happy seems to be even a bigger challenge. We believe, though, that both things are achievable if you create a workplace based on complete transparency. On a very competitive job market, people can often feel insecure about their position or not satisfied with their responsibilities. This, in effect, can cause unnecessary stress that will, in turn, hamper people’s productivity and hurt the quality of our work. That’s why we always go the extra mile to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

One of our strategies is to always cc all the team members in our emails related to a given project to keep everyone in the loop. Thus, employees know who’s working on what and this helps us avoid confusion and too many repetitive questions. There is also a beneficial side effect to this tactic: we keep the workflow running even when someone goes on holiday.

But there is much more we do to bring people up to date. Our daily routine includes stand-up meetings to learn about the progress, plans and current tasks of team members. We have 630 open channels on Slack dedicated to specific projects, teams and topics. All are clearly labelled so that team members can easily find the information they need to do their work. The information can come in different shapes and sizes: notifications from apps and services that we integrated with Slack or exclusive channels dedicated to particular clients.

We have also leveraged Slack with our clients. Our workspace with them is usually organised around three central workflows: project channels for everyone in Netguru to contact the team working on the project, client channels facilitating the communication between the client and the team, and business development channels where clients can discuss strategies for customer success and overall customer satisfaction. You can read more about our communication strategy on Slack here.

Our clients are happy to communicate through Slack, because it reduces the distance within the team.

Partnering with Netguru improved the management of the whole project, as our New York team is rarely together in the same place. Communicating through Slack channels with the Netguru team improved the communication between all of us, and we can reach each other immediately. Nick Johnson, the Lead Hardware Engineer at ShiftWear.

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Quality

We never settle on half-measures. Quality is what makes our products stand out on the market, and we know this is what our clients value alongside transparency and communication.

It manifests itself especially in the quality of our code. We regularly conduct code reviews to make projects better, faster, and more secure through a bulletproof code. With a clean code, an application is easier to build, maintain and scale in the future. Code review gives you recommendations on the potential solutions to most important issues and problems.

Our products bring revolutionary ideas to life. Together with the University of California, we built Chorus, a powerful mobile platform for flexible communication. Chorus lets non-tech people design apps. It also helps non-profits develop apps fast and cost-effectively. Its potential use cases are broad and include medication reminders, health status reporting, education materials, outbreak surveillance, local resource listings, and health-related games.

It doesn’t stop there. Netguru’s Design Team carefully creates the UX and UI of our apps. Their work has been widely recognised by international professional communities: Dribbble and Behance. Our Trello redesign concept has been chosen the best design project of the week worldwide on Behance. Also, the Trello project, our Booking.com redesign concept, and the Whym project have been shared and appreciated by Abduzeedo, which is an award-winning design website run by a Google Staff Designer, Fabio Sasso. Recently, our IKEA online experience concept was widely recognised by international organisations and communities.

On top of that, we also work on our internal projects to give something back to the community of designers, who have created numerous goodies that we make use of daily. Not so long ago, we designed Inbbbox, a mobile app that changed Dribbble’s mobile experience. We also design apps for learning purposes. That’s how Picguard, Coolcal, or Callio were born. The third one was featured on Product Hunt. We often release design freebie packages for commercial and noncommercial uses so that our audience can leverage them in their projects.

Quality translates into great results. We've been working with companies such as Babbel, a worldwide leading app for learning languages, TNS Kantar, one of the biggest research and marketing companies in the world, or CitiBike, the biggest bike sharing system in the US. Our Citi Bike NYC app redesign improved its AppStore rating by 40 percent, reduced the iOS crash rate by 60 percent and increased the usage volume by more than 30 percent.

Vision 

Netguru is an innovative, full stack, remote, respected software services and consulting company. We are proud that all our stakeholders feel we are a valuable partner and recommend us. This statement clearly and precisely communicates our overall goals, and serves as a tool for strategic decision-making across the company. It defines what we want to achieve as a team, helps us build plans and drives us towards our goals. Our vision promotes coherence within the company and eventually enables us to succeed on the market.

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The vision defines the core ideals that give our business shape and direction. It also serves as a tool that motivates and guides our employees, and inspires them to reach the company's goals. We believe that the vision is the foundation of a business strategy, and this is what every company should start from, regardless of its size and maturity.

Having incorporated the seven core principles into our day-to-day practice helped Netguru become the company that it is now. Our success derives from the qualities described above and the massive concerted effort of our team who put them to work on a daily basis. We believe that it’s our secret formula for success, but you won’t know for sure unless you try it on your own.

 
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