- Founded: 2010
- HQ: Delaware (as any startup is)
- Employees: 10
- Products: Hosted tool suite
Our case studies are typically from well established companies. It’s not often that we hear from a fresh new startup with no website or public products. But this in fact was the case when I was contacted by Ovidiu Pitic, Founder and Operations Manager, of Mayabo. Mayabo develops Whooparoo, a social commerce platform for online retailers, which has just launched (they were in private beta during the interview).
With a distributed team, Atlassian’s hosted development tool suite is an excellent choice for Mayabo. Avoiding the hassles of purchasing and maintaining a server, keeping the software updated and employing an IT person are all attractive factors in opting for our hosted bundle. I got the chance to learn more about Whooparoo and how they use our software development suite.
What does Mayabo do?
We’re developing Whooparoo, a social commerce platform. It allows online retailers to engage their customers’ social networks. We also have a consumer side connected to this platform which allows users to see purchases from friends, discuss products, retailers and share wish lists. Social commerce generated hype and all sorts of companies are trying to get in. There’s a red ocean out there, with daily deals and group-buying popping up constantly in the news (see Groupon, Living Social). We are in that space, but for online businesses. Our software supports a marketing service for online retailers: we connect online shops to friends and followers of a customer with a simple Facebook or Twitter signin – and we take care of the rest of the engagement process.
How did you choose our hosted software development tools?
I had a good experience with both JIRA and Confluence in the past, and that was the starting point. When I saw JIRA Studio, I thought ‘that’s the way to go.’ I checked out some competitors – about 5-10 tools, including Basecamp and some other commercial or open source tools. I chose your hosted development tools because they are accessible in terms of cost. As a startup, we look seriously at cost – especially fixed costs. Secondly, the level of integration was just fantastic, which I did not find anywhere else, and by integration I mean the tools you put together in JIRA Studio. The number of features and by way of integration with the various tools are the biggest differentiators from your competitors.
Why did you choose SaaS over on-premise development tools?
I’m a believer in the the cloud and SaaS ROI. If you look at cost versus benefit, we get very good ratios there. I’m 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Whooparoo product development team and our consultants are in different locations, so we need to be able to keep each other posted on development and we’d rather not send each other emails. Having instant access with almost no setup is a great time and headache saver.
How do you use our software development tools?
We use the hosted software at both the tactical (project management) level and the operational, or development team, level. We use GreenHopper to support agile development, JIRA for issue tracking and Confluence as a collaboration platform. We do code reviews in Crucible and I sometimes browse the code changes in FishEye.
The setup was straight forward and in terms of innovation, I was surprised when my team requested Balsamiq Mockups as an add-on; we soon found out that it really adds value. I see JIRA Studio as a tightly integrated bundle of products and I believe in the stuff you guys develop.
We customized JIRA tasks and later added custom workflows and notifications. We took the time to set up a proper wiki structure and created custom dashboards accessible by the whole team.
How has our tools changed the way your team does agile development?
The tools help us avoid quite a bit of overhead. We use Scrum, adapted to our individual needs, but also rely heavily on Lean Development principles. For example, eliminating unclear requirements or unnecessary code, integrating learning into daily activities, and delivering as fast as possible.
If you look at planning, we have major releases planned way in advance based on epics and stories. We also have very short cycles, trying to have weekly releases – those are picked up by our test team – and monthly major releases – to constantly add new features to Whooparoo. Most of them go into production immediately after acceptance, but we often keep new features on the shelves longer.
When you are out of sync with planning, you get quite a bit of overhead. JIRA and GreenHopper do a fantastic job of pointing out what the differences between progress and plan are. It also communicates this to all team members. Having consistent information for every team member and allowing them to communicate on goals is a huge time-saver.
What advice do you have for those considering our issue tracker?
Start with a stripped down version. I have a consulting company focusing on IT-to-business alignment. Every now and then I step into an agile team. One of the pitfalls of any issue tracker is you can do too much. My advice is to start small and grow from there. We set up a workflow, a copy of an existing one, stripped down the number of tasks and monitored the team’s throughput after a few weeks. Then you can put effort into customizing. You need to adapt.
The support for JIRA is great. I haven’t experienced downtime, and in the SaaS world, that is good. It’s about uptime and security.
What are the major benefits of the enterprise wiki?
I will cite one of our testers who says: “it’s better editing pages in Confluence than writing a document in Word.” I must agree. It’s straight forward. As I said for JIRA, it’s all about starting small and adapting. We are using your documentation software for just that, as a document management system. We upload mockups, designs and requirements created outside of Confluence. Ninety percent of the content we create for our product is made in Confluence. We also cover internal processes and add fun stuff, like media related to trends in the industry and the regular blog posts. It grew to be more than a communication tool: it is really a collaboration platform.
What advice do you have for those considering our wiki?
When talking about collaboration, I would recommend having the right guidelines in place. Content grows quickly: people contributing to it on a daily basis, commenting, uploading files, moving stuff from left to right – you need to have guidelines in order to be able to have a usable system in a given time frame. With just a dozen people, content can get unorganized and unusable in less than a year.
Do you have any other comments regarding our hosted development suite?
JIRA Studio is a very good choice and I would definitely work with it again. In my consulting role, I recommend my customers to use it, so you are talking to a very happy customer.
For more Atlassian case studies, please go here.