SweepBright focuses strongly on third-party applications, allowing estate agents to use the tools they really need and the ones that their leads truly love. Agents of course must publish on all existing channels. With this platform, they can publish directly on portals or social media for real estate. And they can quickly generate a static website – one that is fully customisable as well as user-and-mobile-friendly – with the agency’s listings.
Our aim was to rapidly scale up the SweepBright platform, so we went down the API route (API is pretty much always our first choice). Our team developed a JSON-based API in PHP, using the Laravel framework. The new API integrates with real estate portals, social media channels and Zapier – a web-based service that allows even greater integration of web apps. Our API is consumed by the React web app, the native iOS app and the agency websites that are statically hosted on Amazon Simple Storage Service (AWS S3).
We built SweepBright’s own technical team from the ground up, with support from our own developers and the development processes we set up. This enabled SweepBright’s new developers to onboard far faster than is normally the case. To make this happen, we relied on pair programming, code reviews and good documentation – all key tools and especially important when working in hybrid teams.
From the get-go, madewithlove helped to shape and co-create the idea behind SweepBright. For instance, we recommended focusing on some parts of SweepBright while making others less of a priority. This is one of our areas of expertise: saying no, when required. It’s simply not possible to meet clients’ every wish, every time – particularly if the goal is to finish a product on time and on budget. With SweepBright, our role was to protect the original plan by honestly and critically responding to the client’s questions, wishes and requests. Looking back now, we truly believe the folks at SweepBright appreciated our ‘No-as-a-Service’!
To smooth the path for SweepBright’s expanding development team and to get it delivering, we made sure all the right development processes were in place and were followed from day one. Managing releases is one of these process. Deploying the actual code is one thing. The tricky part is making this happen without breaking previous versions of the mobile app or bringing down the platform during business hours. Not forgetting the need to keep all stakeholders informed.
Growing a start-up and keeping a solid technical base are not easy. For SweepBright, we provided our interim CTO services and assisted with various higher level tasks. These tasks are very diverse and include planning feature requests, managing technical debt, following up subsidy dossiers, guesstimating annual budgets, guaranteeing efficient use of tools, and maintaining external technical partners, etc.
As the platform and its user-base grow, the infrastructure needs to keep pace. With that in mind, we focus on providing robustness and scalability. Because an interim CTO must always be ready to take the right decisions on when and how to scale.
When the project was well underway, we began setting up SweepBright’s own technical team. The aim is to ensure our client can gradually learn to stand on its own feet, without needing to spend resources on us!
We advertise the job profiles, prepare technical assignments, screen candidates and make sure new members are properly onboarded. Equally important is trying to grow a great culture as the team expands. That means listening closely to each member and steering the team in the right direction.