Talking to a client recently about Local Measure brought up the question of how it is that we’re able to do what we do. The Local Measure platform brings in large volumes of content and it does this at a high speed to ensure our clients get notified whenever public content they are interested in is posted. Viewed from the sidelines this can look either incredibly easy, ‘I bet I could build that in a day’ to incredibly complex, ‘Wizards made this, didn’t they?’

The software that powers the Local Measure platform has been developed and improved over several years and we are really proud of what we’ve accomplished.  In the interests of sharing the knowledge we’ve learnt, we’re opening the kimono to show you some of what makes us tick.

Creating the right culture

There’s no silver bullet for how to plan, develop, and release an amazing product, but one overarching theme for us is having a culture that gives our engineering team autonomy and flexibility in how to develop the ideas that our product team has prioritized.

We favour culture over process and have adapted a standard agile methodology used by many software development businesses into one that suits our team.

     “Viewed from the sidelines, this can look incredibly easy, I bet I could build that in a day' to incredibly complex, 'Wizards made this, didn't they?'”                                                                                                        

Balancing engineering efforts

Like most companies our size, we face constant decisions in where to direct our engineering resources.  We strive to balance engineering effort across:

  • ongoing infrastructure capacity and scalability,
  • product features and enhancements, based on feedback from our customers,
  • improvements based on updates from the social media platforms we partner with.

Collaboration and sharing

We use an adapted agile methodology, as we find this allows us enough flexibility to manage projects efficiently, even with teams in different locations.

  • We receive regular briefings from our product team on our roadmap and priorities which gives the engineering team an opportunity to discuss and break down the requirements into manageable pieces of work.
  • We collaborate to reach consensus on the best software language, technical architecture and data storage to use within a framework that prioritizes security and performance. Technically, we have a series of distributed processes managed by queueing systems which helps scale to the vast amount of data we process.
  • We distribute tasks into multiple streams of work which are managed by small groups within our engineering team. These teams are different for each project, helping the engineers share knowledge and gain skills and experience across the whole platform, and include engineers from both our Sydney and London offices.
  • We discuss progress daily between team members during a two-week sprint cycle. Due to the different time zones in play, we use Cisco Spark to help our engineers keep in touch.
It’s this framework that allows us to deliver constant updates to the Local Measure platform. It also allows us to generate feedback from the people who use Local Measure and adapt the platform according to how they use the product. Ultimately, it’s a framework that constantly evolves as we continue to improve our practices.