Smart Pension

Smart Pension is a high-scaling fintech company that has inspired a new approach to pension systems in the UK and abroad. Once their concept of an auto enrolment product proved a huge success, the software team started growing exponentially. The only way to keep up the pace and quality was to hire developers externally and leave further recruitment to an experienced provider. Here’s how Smart Pension ensured quick growth and top software quality by joining forces with Code & Pepper.

About Smart Pension

Smart Pension is a perfect example of fintech revolution brought to the areas normally operated by state institutions and banks. The platform offers automatic pension schemes based on a defined contribution plan, handling the whole process through a digital platform. 

Challenge

Smart Pension, a UK-based workplace pension platform, started as a product dedicated to their domestic market, but it proved to have the potential to conquer global markets. The new ambitions were followed by an increased demand for new employees – in 2019, the in-house development team growth exceeded 400%. At this pace, the company needed to find new sources of employees with appropriate skills to avoid compromising the product quality. 

Solutions for Smart Pension

“The fast fish eats the slow fish” – agile teams for fast-paced growth

In today’s business, the size doesn’t matter as much as the speed of development – even a small player can win with a big enterprise if it reacts quickly to the changing market. As a consequence, such companies need to find ways to optimise their performance and maintain high standards. One of the ways followed by Code & Pepper and cultivated in Smart Pension was agile team management with such elements as:

  • a dedicated product owner that stays in touch with the client’s team and is available for constant communication
  • project management based on Kanban, put together by a dedicated Agile lead supporting the teams in all locations
  • self-organising development teams working independently, but keeping each other up to date with their progress

Currently, the team built by Code & Pepper is working from two different locations (Warsaw, Kraków). They are fully synced with the core team in London, participating in online meetings on a regular basis.

Strict product requirements vs. customisation

As a fintech product, Smart Pension faces the necessity to comply with strict regulatory requirements. More importantly, the evolution from a UK-based workplace pension to a globally adaptable platform requires constructing features that are highly customisable. To resolve the two matters, team built by Code & Pepper in Poland worked hand in hand with Smart Pension engineers to create an advanced pension forecaster. It is based on complex conditions, which results in just the right level of flexibility to adapt the platform to different regulations.

Continuous deployment for irresistible code quality

Smart Pension has cultivated a strong developer community with high standards in terms of code quality and development process. There was no other way for Code & Pepper but find skilled developers and quality assurance specialists who would follow the client’s requirements including:

  • Clean code – universally compatible with previously developed branches and easily maintainable
  • Continuous deployment – the new branches are merged 20+ times a day
  • Focus on testing – the code features nearly 100% test coverage

Code & Pepper have been instrumental in helping us scale our Engineering Team.  
By building dedicated teams of Ruby Engineers for us they have helped us hire highly skilled engineers into our business.

Martin Warner, Head of Talent at Smart Pension

Technologies and solutions for Smart Pension

Ruby
Rails
JavaScript
Kanban

Code & Pepper Services for Smart Pension

Extend your team with the people you need

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LUSID

What’s the story of your IT product? Did you start with a clever idea that scaled faster than your team? Sometimes the demand for new skills and technologies in your company may interfere with the pace you can achieve. The story of LUSID goes exactly like this – the lack of front-end developers and product designers kept interrupting the engineering work. Find out how Code & Pepper stepped on board and filled in the missing piece in the puzzle in the nearshore IT outsourcing model.

About LUSID

LUSID is an independent project launched by Finbourne, a business asset management platform. It’s an advanced business intelligence solution that streamlines the data analysis and processing so that companies can discover and utilise the insights lying in their assets. By reducing operating costs and facilitating data integration from multiple sources, businesses gain an opportunity to optimise their performance and use the best strategies.

Challenge

The team involved in LUSID consists of experts in data processing who came up with an outstanding technical solution, but the problem lay in the lack of web and design team who could frame their technology in a user-friendly web interface. The existing one didn’t meet the expectations and required a total makeover. Code & Pepper stepped in with an independent team to design the new interface of the platform and implement it using Angular. The cooperating teams were located in Poland and the UK, which required fluent communication and smart project management.

Solutions for LUSID

Product design taken to the next level

The interface for applications such as LUSID requires high precision and understanding the domain knowledge related to asset management. The team behind the asset management API in LUSID has dealt perfectly well with the technical aspects of the platform, but they found it much harder to build the customer-facing part of the application. The team were lacking experience and skills in product design. We started off with one product designer and product owner to fill the skill gap. In time, the project evolved and a UI/UX designer joined the team.

Scrum project management for hassle-free cooperation

When done wisely, nearshore IT outsourcing is an efficient formula for software product development. With LUSID, we started off with a meeting in person and established clear project management patterns within the Scrum methodology. With changing processes, product progress and new members, Scrum streamlined the communication between Code & Pepper and the client and gave everyone the possibility to adapt the software development process to the current status and needs. Even though the teams are located in the UK and a couple of cities in Poland, the current project management practices eliminate communication obstacles.

We have used a variety of skill sets provided by Code & Pepper including UX design, development. We have also found using their Scrum process to be very beneficial to measuring the progress of the project. We are happy to recommend Code & Pepper as a partner.

Thomas McHugh, Founder and director at Finbourne

The only constant thing is change – dynamic teams

When the cooperation got started, Code & Pepper assigned two developers to implement the new product concepts and designs in LUSID. It turned out this was only the beginning – the redesigned product required more man power. Thanks to the surefire team augmentation formula, we were able to support the client with additional team members shortly. As a consequence, the Finbourne team realised their structure needed changes as well. By hiring a web development expert who could focus solely on communication and collaboration with Code & Pepper, the work moved even faster and more efficiently.

Technologies and solutions for LUSID

Angular
.NET Core
Scrum
Product Design
Product ownership

Code & Pepper services for LUSID

Sky is the limit with team augmentation

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