With the digitisation of the ATO and New Zealand IRD, developing and maintaining workforce management products is challenging. Picture this, balancing development efforts across new regulatory requirements with strict timelines, new feature development, and maintaining the codebase of maturing products.
Challenging, right? Now picture what it's like for the team at ReadyTech, in particular the workforce solution division. This division owns several payroll software solutions across mobile and web platforms, serving customers in Australia and New Zealand.
ReadyTech's Workforce Solutions division saw a strategic opportunity for a new employee self-serve (ESS) mobile application that could seamlessly integrate with multiple payroll platforms, catering to both iOS and Android devices.
But what is the problem? Just as we described, ReadyTech needed to manage its development resources and find the additional capacity and expertise to manage, develop and release the new mobile ESS application to market.
Propel's Lift-off service. Our mission?
To step in and provide the much-needed boost to ReadyTech, by seamlessly integrating a cross-functional product team within their organisation. Essentially acting as a force multiplier, Propel's Lift-off service ensures the development of the ESS mobile application, complete with all the capabilities to go to market and to align the implementation with other strategic initiatives.
Dual track approach
Propel decided to tackle the mission through a dual-track agile delivery approach. What does this mean, exactly?
Picture a railway track with two parallel lines running side by side, with both tracks headed towards the same destination: creating a valuable, usable, and feasible product.
One track is the Discovery track it is the experimental one, where user experiences, needs, and pain points are continually identified, and potential solutions are ideated and validated. It involves user research, prototype creation, and testing, effectively serving as the fuel for the next track.
The other track is the Delivery Track, where validated ideas and features from the discovery track are developed, tested, and prepared for release.
The beauty of Dual-Track Agile lies in its simultaneous operation. While the delivery team develops one feature, the discovery team is already validating the next. The end result? The team was able to strike a balance between meeting baseline table-stake requirements and sprinkling in customer delighters, developing a high-quality product that not only meets user needs but also hits the market faster.
Designing for scale
Propel developed a scalable design system and patterns. These systems, much like a Lego set, can be easily applied to both mobile and web interactions, enabling the application to scale up its feature set as needed. Consider each component in the design system as a unique Lego brick, while the design patterns outline the guidelines for constructing interfaces and flows.
Like the joy of building with Lego blocks, this system offers flexibility, scalability, and the ability to evolve. This design system encapsulates an inclusive approach, catering to users across all technical competencies, a design language that aligns with the ReadyTech brand, and, most significantly, it ensures the application's user experience remains consistently modern and engaging. Just as a Lego structure continually grows and adapts, this system continues to evolve, shaping a user experience that is accessible and consistently delightful.
To develop a unified platform with a consistent user experience, the Propel team abstracted the business logic behind an API service layer. In plain English, Propel created a 'universal translator' that enabled the new ESS application to communicate with multiple payroll systems in the ReadyTech portfolio.
It yielded a two-fold outcome.
Firstly, it paved the way for streamlined workflows and a user-friendly experience, making completing job-related tasks, such as applying for leave, a breeze.
Secondly, it enabled ReadyTech to integrate its wide array of workforce management product offerings into a singular platform, standardising the user experiences and federating the user identities.
The Propel team didn't just work for ReadyTech; we collaborated, working together. The Propel team quickly embedded themselves within ReadyTech's development teams, adopting a hands-on, sleeves-rolled-up approach to truly understand the nuances of ReadyTech's complex portfolio.
But this partnership went beyond just collaborating; it was also about learning and growing together. Propel became a catalyst for upskilling the team through osmosis; by working alongside experienced colleagues and absorbing knowledge and skills more organically. It was a blending of expertise and, most importantly, a shared commitment to crafting a successful product while elevating each other's capabilities.
While the creation of the new ESS application was a significant undertaking, it was crucial to ensure that this project didn't overshadow or impact other strategic initiatives at ReadyTech. The Propel team meticulously planned their work to align with ReadyTech's broader roadmap, balancing the delivery of the ESS application with other ongoing projects. The outcome of this collaborative endeavour was more than just a new product; it was a testament to the power of teamwork, shared vision, and the magic that happens when passionate teams come together to work towards a shared goal.
Come mid-2023, ReadyTech plans to release this all-new application to the market with the prime goal of making work-related tasks effortless for users. The app promises simplified and streamlined workflows and an intuitive user interface designed to support users of all demographics and technical competencies, including older and less tech-savvy users, to perform work-related tasks.
This journey presents valuable insights into embracing the intricacy of design and the extraordinary results when two teams join forces to solve a problem. The success of the development is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and, most importantly, the focus on user-centricity.
We had the pleasure of working with the team at Propel Ventures in bringing the Ready People mobile app to life. From the initial stages of architectural design to the final deployment, their team of talented engineers demonstrated remarkable technical expertise and a meticulous attention to detail, and ensured the handover was as smooth as possible. Their dedication to delivering high-quality code, rigorous testing, and adherence to best practices ensured the app's stability, scalability, and security. It was an absolute pleasure collaborating with the team at Propel Ventures, and I wholeheartedly recommend their services to anyone seeking top-notch engineering prowess for their software projects.
ALOJZ KISELI, HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY, WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS
We had the privilege of collaborating with Propel to deliver our mobile employee experience, and the results were truly remarkable. Propel's expertise in product management ensured that best practices for discovery, planning and delivery were in play, ensuring that our product was strategically aligned and poised for success in the market. Not only did the product boast an exceptional design and robust product processes, but Propel also facilitated a seamless skills transfer to our internal team upon completion of the year-long project. Working with Propel felt like an extension of our own teams, as they demonstrated incredible flexibility and collaboration throughout the entire journey. Their partnership has been instrumental in our success, and we highly recommend them to anyone seeking to elevate their product development efforts.
SHARON SCHWARZKOPF, HEAD OF PRODUCT, WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS