How To Build A Remote Team For Award-Winning App Development

capitalise team receives an award

A story of building a successful remote team

Every Ralabs employee strives for excellence in everything they do. When our engagement helps clients improve their business and achieve great results, we celebrate it as our own success. This is why we would like to share the story of Capitalise and how we helped them build a great product and get recognized as software pioneers.

capitalise team receives an award
Ollie, a Capitalise Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, with an award "A Software Pioneer of The Year"

Capitalise is a UK-based company offering a trending FinTech product: a platform helping businesses search for loans. Their platform is powered by over 2000 accountants who facilitate the engagement between clients and lenders. The client aimed to create a modern, easy to use tool for accountants, which is where Ralabs stepped in.

“We've worked with Ralabs to add an additional team alongside our core engineering and products teams. They have worked closely with us becoming fully integrated with us and delivering an excellent standard of architecture and engineering expertise,”
says Ollie Maitland, Capitalise Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer.

The project goal was to enhance the platform by integrating with different third-party accounting solutions and financial APIs for business health monitoring, including built-in advanced analytics for predicting risks and providing business insights based on the credit profile.

Remote Development Process

Our team of five dedicated engineers researched the best solution for platform architecture and user flows. Instead of the traditional Waterfall approach, they used the Agile development methodology and divided the work into 2-week sprints. According to Scrum best practices, these were the steps taken during each sprint:

  • Demo, retrospectives, planning – at the end of each sprint, demos are shown to the stakeholders to showcase new development and receive feedback. During the sprint retrospective, the team reflects on itself, reviews roadblocks, and suggests ways for improvement during the next sprint. Finally, at the start of the new sprint, there is sprint planning to define what will be delivered by the end of the sprint.
  • Estimates on hours – for each sprint, the team makes estimations on how many hours it will take to develop and test a new feature.
  • Spikes planning using Jira/Confluence – spikes are special kinds of user stories that have a high level of uncertainty and require research or prototyping. They last the whole length of a sprint and serve to mitigate risks early in the development process.
  • Weekly reporting to the Product Owner – each week, the team updates the PO about the budget and resource allocation.
ralabs & capitalise team photo
Ralabs' remote developers with a Capitalise Chief Product Officer on the business trip in Portugal

Architecture

During the development phase, we decided to switch the platform’s existing infrastructure from Concourse CI to Azure DevOps. This allowed us to support and scale multiple environments for different teams, making the delivery process more efficient.

We built an additional section of the existing portal to allow the monitoring of clients’ financial portfolios. Our team improved the platform architecture to be able to process batch uploads – uploading multiple files at the same time. This way, the uploading process became faster as the users don’t have to manually upload files one by one.

By using DevOps best practices and OpenAPI specifications, we built RESTful APIs that let lenders offer loans automatically and maximize their profit.

scheme of Architecture for a Loan Monitoring Platform
Architecture for a Loan Monitoring Platform

Onboarding process

The client’s platform was improved by integrating various third-party accounting solutions, adding features that gather financial data and help indicate risks and opportunities based on the financial profile of a business. The integration process connects the platform with various software developed by other companies in order to be able to utilize it within the platform. This way, the users can apply third-party software features to the internal data and benefit from advanced solutions that weren’t available prior to integration.

A new feature we have developed allows the users to download and share business health reports. These reports give an overview of the client’s credit profile, balance sheet, and funding, and identify possible debtor risks based on the collected information.

Finally, our team built a native iOS and Android mobile app for accountants that simplify the engagement of new customers during conferences and in-person meetings.

The development process followed Ralabs development best practices which included the following steps:

  • Coding styles standards (linter) – our developers use coding best practices and style standards to ensure the highest quality of code. They use a linter, which is a tool that analyzes source code and detects errors, bugs, and suspicious constructs.
  • Automated and manual testing – we use both types of testing: manual, performed step by step without scripts, and automated, performed using automation frameworks and tools. The goal of testing is to find bugs and feature issues in software.
  • Code reviews – in order to ensure high-quality code, we perform peer code reviews with 2 peer reviewers. The code is examined by the author and two more people to evaluate its functionality and quality.
  • Gitflow – this is a Git workflow design that defines a branching model around the project release. It facilitates the management of larger development projects.
  • CI/CD – Continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) is a method of automating the stages of application development, from integration and testing phases to delivery and deployment.
  • Identifying technical debt – technical debt is used to describe the resources (time, money) that need to be spent to rebuild software that has already been built.
  • Quarterly penetration testing – penetration testing is a simulation of a cyber attack to check for vulnerabilities of your system. By identifying weak points, we can make changes and improve the overall security of the platform.
  • Authentication (expiration, security) – when dealing with sensitive information, there are authentication protocols to ensure that unauthorized people cannot log in. Security authentication is a step in the login process that confirms user identity. After a selected period of time, the authentication will expire and the user will be logged out.
  • Load testing – this type of testing simulates multiple users accessing the system at the same time, to ensure that it can handle serving the predicted number of users.
  • Gathering analytics and metrics for each service – by collecting information such as analytics and metrics, we gain a better insight into the features and how to improve them.

Result

As a result, the platform is now offering advanced B2B loan searching services for 100+ lenders and the UK’s largest banks. The mobile app built by our team is used by 3000+ accountants working on the platform. 

Thanks to this solution, Capitalise has raised £3.5M+ in investment series A. The project was recognized as one of the most innovative in the FinTech industry. Capitalise won the Accounting Excellence award and the title of the Software Pioneer of 2019 in the UK. 

ralabs & capitalise team
Ralabs CEO, Andrew Yasynyshyn, visited the Capitalise team in London

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