MORRISVILLE – ChannelAdvisor, a thriving provider of e-commerce services, is embracing agile development as a new strategy to keep it at the forefront of the wild, wild online world.
“We’re in a world in which e-commerce runs on four- to six-month cycles,” ChannelAdvisor founder and Chief Executive Officer Scot Wingo told The Skinny. “We found that by the time we would get through a software development project that the world had changed.
“We live in a rapidly changing world, so we needed a development process to compete in that world. We’ve switched everything over. We like quality so we are always working on development.”
In an agile environment, engineers spend more time interacting with each other and customers in order to deliver new solutions more quickly. Wingo likens the team gatherings to a rugby scrum.
“We do early-morning stand-ups that look like a scrum,” he explained.
However, there are limits. No pushing, shoving, tackling or biting is allowed.
To further increase the power of agile development, ChannelAdvisor is expanding its Morrisville headquarters with space that is geared to the scrum concept.
“As we expanded our office space and opened a new office we specifically designed it for the kind of work we do there,” Wingo said. “There are lots of team meeting rooms. The space is very, very open, and we have pods instead of cubes. There are lots and lots of whiteboards and bulletin board space so team members can update status to each other.”
Driving the agile concept is Bob Galen, who was hired last June to be the company’s “agile evangelist.” He now carries the director of product development title.
“We now have increased his responsibilities,” Wingo said of Galen. “He has built agile teams elsewhere.”
The new effort appears to be paying off. ChannelAdvisor reported record business during the 2007 holiday season. The company closed on $30 million in venture capital last May, and it recently was one of the few firms embraced by Microsoft for its “Startup Accelerator” program. ChannelAdvisor will receive access to Microsoft personnel and programs as well as guidance and support from the Microsoft Emerging Business Team.
To help get the word out about the firm’s progress, its new space and the agile concept,
ChannelAdvisor will host an open house on Feb. 12 starting at 6 p.m.
The new space is not all that’s happening at ChannelAdvisor. The company is also adding as many as 20 people – especially engineers – to its staff.
“We’re doing great,” Wingo said. “Anyone interested in good career opportunities should contact us.”