Staff Augmentation: CRE App Grows Through Outsourcing
Over 1.7 billion sq ft managed by CRE platform
Building Engines is a property management software for the commercial real estate industry. The application connects operational processes and people (tenants and building managers) through a single unified cloud and mobile platform.
As of today, Building Engines has over 500 clients and 18,000 buildings (or 1.7 billion square feet) are managed through its software. Some of the companies who use the app include Beacon Capital and Highwoods Properties.
Rewriting legacy code, developing new features
After 17 years in the market, some of the technology used in Building Engines’ app were outdated, which made maintenance difficult, as well as impacted the developers’ willingness and motivation to work with the legacy code. Because of this, we were brought in as a technology partner to support their software rewrite.
This mission was twofold. On one hand, Building Engines wanted to rebuild the application to continue offering its most beloved functionalities to its clients on a higher level. On the other hand, they also wanted to add features and improve the user experience based on requests from potential market segments and new clients.
Building a nearshore development team
Once we began working together, the first step was to select the candidates that could fit into Building Engines team dynamics in the best possible way. Our People Care champions conducted the initial phase, following the selection process we’ve fine-tuned over the years: a general interview, technical test and then a culture fit interview. Building Engines then conducted the next phase, which included several steps for assessing the candidates, from a technical knowledge interview to a meeting with the whole remote team.
Through establishing a well-organized process, constant feedback and communication, as well as proper alignment of expectations, we were able to organize a core team of five developers in three months time.
Shortly thereafter, we kicked off a staff augmentation project based on a co-development model: our team in Colombia working side by side with Building Engine’s Boston in-house team. Since the beginning, both companies have shown to be a great match, especially in terms of team dynamics and culture. The geographic proximity, close time zone between Colombia and the US and other advantages have allowed team members to easily stay in touch and the client also visited our offices in Latin America several times.
An evolving project and a remote team that continues to grow
Currently, we have three development teams working in this project. One team is focused on the Front End rewrite and improvement, while the other two teams are working mainly on building new tools, such as a chatbot that facilitates users’ request submission.
We are dedicated to adding new, robust technologies to the web app, improving its performance, and implementing better coding and testing practices. The goal is to generate scalable and effective software that is effective now as well as facilitate the product’s future growth.
The software’s UI is being built upon React’s ecosystem, and the patterns used by Redux and Redux sagas have allowed the team to create complex flows without maintenance. Its newest features are based on Django, from Python (in order to support the Back End), new APIs, and some Lambda functions for projects such as the chatbot.
In order to fulfill the project goals and boost remote team performance, we work under the Scrum umbrella. Each team adapts Agile processes and ceremonies, while adjusting them to their needs. Building Engines’ improvements are part of a long-term plan, and are currently being tested by different stakeholders, from leaders within the company to existing clients, with positive feedback.