How Our 4Plus1 Shadow Engineering Program Delivered for A Global Food Manufacturer

After 30 years in the software industry, we have become familiar with the shared challenges every tech team faces throughout the software development lifecycle. One challenge that seemed to persevere across all industries was what to do in long-term projects when an engineer needed time off or when it came to carve out time for personal and career development.

How will their absence affect the project timeline? Who will take on their workload? Do we have the bandwidth to make up for this with little to no interruption?  

Being a company that promotes a healthy work/life balance where we encourage all employees to take time off when needed in addition to having the time and resources to learn and grow, this was a problem we needed to fix. So, we created a shadow engineering program we call 4Plus1, that allows engineers to take off when they need to and participate in learning without interrupting any ongoing projects.

We recently came into a situation where our 4Plus1 program allowed for an easy and effective transition to help a manufacturing client expand their tech team on the spot during a time when good Xamarin engineers were hard to find, but in high demand. To help you see 4Plus1 in action, we put together the following case study.

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The Client

Our client in this project is a global food and beverage manufacturer that has been proudly serving the public for nearly 130 years. We first began working with the company in 2016 to build a Xamarin team for a new mobile application. Since then, our team members have been working diligently to continue expanding the company's software projects and received several promotions from both Integrant and the client.  

The Project

The main project scope from a technical perspective started with building a front-end mobile application and a front-end web application using Xamarin and angular. As the project progressed, we began adding in more back-end services using a .NET framework. The back-end services were introduced to perform more complex roles and to integrate with another application in the company.

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The Challenges

As the project scope grew and our team members were taking on new roles within the project, it became apparent that the team would need to grow to keep up with the prospective timeline. The project was moving from a waterfall environment to an agile environment with more cloud-based technology and a larger bandwidth was required to keep up with new project demands and changing requirements.  

The client came to us and asked how long it would take us to onboard a new engineer and get them working as part of the team. Recognizing the speed at which the project was growing, it was clear to the client and our team that another member would need to be added on quickly to keep up with project demands.  

Our Solution

When asked about the length of time for onboarding a new member, our team was happy to explain to the client that we already had an engineer who was up to date with the project and could be easily transitioned into a position with no lag time.

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The way 4Plus1 works is simple. For every team, we have shadow engineers learning the ropes and keeping up with the project scope in case they ever need to step in. The number of shadow engineers any project has is dependent on team size, role, and project complexity (for example, what’s the needed onboarding time to get an engineer up to speed).

Since we already had engineers on stand-by who knew everything about the project and what they were working towards, there were virtually zero interruptions to the project timeline regarding team growth. The 4Plus1 program showed its strength in a critical time of need and saved the client time and money, leaving them more than satisfied with the program’s capabilities.

The Final Take

Thanks to our 4Plus1 program, our team has been able to successfully aid in team and project growth. Our relationship with the client continues today, as well as our commitment to developing the most effective and scalable software possible. 4Plus1 is not the only benefit of working with Integrant teams but has done an excellent job in helping to establish trust and notability with our clients.

In every workplace, it is critical to ensure that all staff members are working within healthy means. At Integrant, we understand that this means that at some point everyone needs a break. With our 4Plus1 program, employees are guaranteed just that. It also means that our engineers have more opportunities to take time to better themselves professionally, leading to better project outcomes and solutions.  

Our clients are also guaranteed that should an engineer need time off during a project for any reason, they will not see any interruptions or delays. Having shadow engineers makes it easy for another team member to slip right into place and keep the work going effectively and timely.

To learn more about our 4Plus1 shadow engineering program you can set up a free consultation today. Integrant experts are eager to help get you started on your next software project and are available to answer your every question. 

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