STRATAFOLIO is a commercial property management platform with founders who understand and want to help solve big challenges for their users. The platform launched in early 2020, and there
are big dreams of scaling. In fact, STRATAFOLIO was just accepted into the National Association of Realtors’ REACH program,
which is dedicated to helping scale innovative commercial real estate solutions.
Big things are ahead. And the founders know that system development is vital to attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and staying ahead of the competition.
STRATAFOLIO has an internal development team that focuses on core roadmap features and system maintenance. As an fixed-size team, capacity is set: They can get done what they can get done, and no more.
What happens when they have features to build that go beyond current capacity? There are several ways any company can increase development capacity:
Seeing as this blog is showing up on our site, you can probably guess that STRATAFOLIO decided on door #3. A lot of factors played into their decision to do so:
They wanted a long-term partner who would ask questions, provide ideas, and take time to understand the business—not just someone to write code or disappear after one feature.
Hiring internally doesn’t provide the flexibility to ramp capacity up and down as needed.
Far Reach’s core values align with STRATAFOLIO’s, and the founders liked what they heard from the Far Reach team and our existing clients.
“Far Reach’s core values were a big part of our decision to work with them,” said Jeri Frank, STRATAFOLIO CEO. “All of our interactions with them had been positive—they have integrity, tell us the hard truths, and are transparent
in everything they do. They felt like a good fit for a long-term partner.”
With both an internal team and a software development partner, STRATAFOLIO has to decide what work each team should focus on. They use a few different criteria to make the decisions:
Capacity - If the internal team has capacity, they’ll take on the new feature. But if they’re loaded up, Far Reach can possibly take on the excess work, provided we have the availability, which leads to the next criterion…
Timeline - If a feature request has a tight turnaround and the internal team is at capacity with existing priorities, STRATAFOLIO will check with Far Reach to see if we can hit the goal timeline.
Skillset - Upgrades and enhancements to a feature we’ve already worked on often make sense to assign to us. Same for features built by the internal team.
More Than Code
STRATAFOLIO knew they wanted an external partner to help add flexible development capacity when opportunities arose. For example, sometimes a customer would be willing to pay for development of a certain feature. If that feature is on the roadmap—but
further away than the customer wants—it’s in STRATAFOLIO’s best interest to make development of that feature happen without having to derail the internal team’s priorities.
But they wanted more than someone to write code. They wanted a partner who would think strategically, ask questions, understand the “why” behind the work, and bring new ideas and recommendations forward.
“We wanted a partner who could build knowledge of our system over time and be able to jump in quickly when we needed,” said Uriel Barillas, STRATAFOLIO CTO. “It’s invaluable to have someone with historical knowledge who can step
in, understand our decisions and the reasons behind them, and get to work without onboarding each time.”
Far Reach is a part of the STRATAFOLIO team. We bring our technical and strategic expertise to new features.
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In addition to shared values, STRATAFOLIO and Far Reach also have similar approaches to processes in software development. We both use the agile/scrum framework, which provides a foundation for how we work.
Because STRATAFOLIO has an internal team, they have their own development processes in place. We, of course, are always working on improving our processes. By having Far Reach work on new features while the internal team is focused on maintenance and other enhancements, STRATAFOLIO can maintain their processes while taking advantage of our 15 years of process refinement.
The work is separate but collaborative. By sticking with our processes and blending into some of STRATAFOLIO’s, we’re able to do our best work.
“Far Reach has shined in forecasting and estimates,” said Uriel. “They have been able to provide accurate timelines and budgets, communicate options if something is beyond the original planned scope, and let us know if a development
timeline isn’t possible for their team.”
We follow a similar process with STRATAFOLIO as we do with most of our clients:
Work documented and pointed in TargetProcess (our project management tool)
Frequent client check-ins
A client PO (Uriel, in STRATAFOLIO’s case) who helps prioritize work and communicate with stakeholders
We also work within STRATAFOLIO’s processes by using their documentation standards, working in their Github (code repository) account, and passing stories on to them to test.
Having an engaged development partner like Far Reach helps STRATAFOLIO extend capacity with flexibility and without having to hire internally.
“Far Reach is an extension of our team,” said Jeri. “It helps to have a partner familiar with the application who can hit the ground running without additional onboarding.”
“We rely on Far Reach for their expertise and technical background,” said Uriel. “They look at and share different options for accomplishing what the users want and help us keep the long-term in mind for the system.”
We love working with STRATAFOLIO and are excited to continue to be part of their journey.
If you’re looking to add flexibility and capacity to your development team, reach out