15Five is a US-based company that delivers tools to help organizations evaluate and improve employee performance through weekly self-evaluations that take “15 minutes to write, 5 minutes to read”.

Here are a few key facts about 15Five:

  • More than 1,900 companies featured on lists like Glassdoor Best Places to Work and INC. 5000 use 15Five to scale their culture and employee satisfaction.
  • Brands like Spotify, Hubspot, and Credit Karma use it.
  • 15Five has recently closed a Series B round of $30.7 million, bringing its total funding amount to $42.1M.
  • 15Five was featured in The Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNBC, The Washington Post.
  • 15Five is part of the G2 Fastest Growing Products 2019 list.

Problem: Local recruitment was too slow and expensive

As the 15Five team grew, the company needed to hire more people who would help it cope with the increasing demand placed on the technology and a whole slew of brand-new priorities. They required support in a very specific skill set: extensive knowledge and experience of Python and the Django framework.

It turned out that recruiting local developers took too much time, consuming substantial resources and bringing unreliable results.

That’s why 15Five was on the lookout for experienced and self-reliant Python developers who had the skills and expertise, but also the right cultural fit.

We met Nazar Ivaniv, 15Five’s co-founder and CTO, back in 2015 when he was looking for experienced Python engineers to help him scale the company’s unique product. After Nazar reached out to us, we flew to New York City, met him and the 15Five team, and decided to initiate our collaboration.

Here’s why Nazar picked us over other agencies he reviewed as potential technology partners:

“Something that definitely stands out is their knowledge and passion for Python/Django. I’ve talked to other groups which offered Python specialists, but Sunscrapers’ developers were top-notch. They were also down-to-earth, despite being technically knowledgeable and smart. Sunscrapers’ resources make it easy for the rest of our team to work with them.”

Nazar Ivaniv, Co-founder and CTO at 15Five

Teaming up with Sunscrapers – Results

Our team has become an integral part of 15Five, building its core product features. Our developers work side by side the in-house development team, helping to scale the product with the latest technologies. We also take time to arrange face-to-face meetings and visits to foster our relationship and celebrate 15Five’s victories together.

“It’s important for us to know that Sunscrapers’ team enjoys the work and that they want to be a part of our team.”

Nazar Ivaniv, Co-founder and CTO at 15Five

Our Solution: Outsourced Python expertise

To help 15Five grow their product, we set up a team of two developers and got down to work. Over time, the team grew to 5 developers supporting 15Five on a full-time basis.

Here are some details of our collaboration:

Communication

Our team was integrated into 15Five and communicated with in-house employees directly, similar to other full-time employees. By removing the third-party or man-in-the-middle, we avoid the risk of miscommunication and increase our productivity. 

Time difference

Even though we’re located 6 hours ahead of 15Five, our team is perfectly synchronized with the client’s and makes an effort to stay in late from time to time to participate in important conference calls.

Project management

We use Slack for general communication, daily check-ins, and discussing issues. Every week, we hold a Zoom conference call where all the involved developers participate. Another handy tool is Jira, used by 15Five for specific sprint planning and ticket assignment.

Code review

GitHub serves as the main repository for bug tracking and code review at 15Five. The company requires that at least one other developer needs to review a full request, and two people being required for billing-related matters or changes in critical functionalities. Our team is part of this review process and resolves issues logged in GitHub.

Resolving issues and developing new product features

The first task of our team was resolving bugs that were logged by the company’s in-house development team. Providing technical support served as a way of introducing our team to the 15Five system. After 8 weeks of mainly interacting with the company’s customer support team, we demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the system and became involved in new feature development. 

Today, our team counting 4 people remains focused on the software’s backend, building new features and fixing issues. Our team built several 15Five features exclusively, contributing to the product’s expansion and increasing the volume of new customers.

Here’s what Nazar said about our role in developing new features:

“All of the features built by Sunscrapers have been successful. I was surprised by the level of attention to detail shown by their team, and by how much Sunscrapers cared about our project and the product itself. Sunscrapers has come back with suggestions for alternative approaches, trying to make our product better and more successful.”

Nazar Ivaniv, Co-founder and CTO at 15Five

Custom dashboard

Our team implemented a custom user dashboard that became popular with the vast majority of 15Five customers. It allows users to give high-fives to their co-workers and show their appreciation or thank them for helping to solve a problem. 

Custom dashboard

Objectives 

Another feature we built exclusively for 15Five was objectives, another successful addition to the platform. The feature provides context around objective-focused management by allowing managers to ask relevant questions every week and gain a deeper insight into the motivations, distractions, and other issues that influence the results.

Objectives

Best-Self Review™

Our team worked on Best-Self Review™, a core feature for conducting periodical 360° reviews. We designed a complex data model, and implemented the core logic and various UI parts. During development of that feature, our team faced and overcame multiple design challenges:

  • advanced business logic linked to the preparation and conducting review cycles, 
  • assuring high performance, 
  • proper implementation of complex visibility rules, ensuring that sensitive data cannot be accessed by unauthorized users.
Best-Self Review

1-on-1s

Another feature developed by our team from the ground up was 1-on-1s: a functionality to support and enrich one-on-one meetings. We designed the data model and provided an elegant and efficient backend API for the frontend part, built using modern UI technologies. Again, the complex business logic, performance and data security requirements were the main concerns and our team tackled them successfully.

1-on-1s

Are you looking for an experienced provider of software development services? Get in touch with us at [email protected]; we have the skills and talent you need.

Lukasz Karwacki
Lukasz
Co-Founder & CEO

Lukasz the co-founder and CEO of Sunscrapers. His background is in computer graphics; once he graduated from Kingston University London, he started his career in tech as a web designer in a creative agency. At Sunscrapers, Lukasz manages, supervises and consults on projects for startups, SMBs, and enterprises across different industries. A passionate speaker and writer, Lukasz is happy to share what he has learned at meetups and conferences.

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