Optimising Projects for Speed to Market

by the Steer73 Team

Sometimes projects need to move fast.

This was the case when we started working with Paddy Power in 2015. We went from initial conversations, to launching an entirely new product to tens of thousands of customers in 600+ retail stores in a matter of only three months.

What we were building

The betting industry has been revolutionised in recent years. An industry that was previously carried out in a series of brick-and-mortar shops has become more digital. Customers expect to be able to interact with their bets and betting providers away from traditional, physical locations. Despite this, physical shops still represent an important part of the offering for brands like Paddy Power.

Steer73 were briefed to build a digital solution that allowed people who placed their bets in shops to track their bet online and cash out if desired.

Paddy Power had a one-year exclusivity agreement on the ‘track my bet’ functionality with a key supplier, after which, competitors would be able to offer this functionality as well. However, they didn’t have anything in place to maximise the competitive advantage the exclusivity agreement promised. As a result, they required us to complete the project within a remarkably short window.

How did we ensure that we delivered a successful product, in record time?

We have over 8 years of experience developing and launching products – we are experts at getting a product from 0 to 1, from an idea to an MVP.

There were several key elements that enabled us to go from nothing to a successful MVP straight away:

Focus & experience prioritizing features

Technical expertise to find fast, effective solutions

The team & the processes to deliver quickly

1. Focus & experience prioritizing features

Using standard components within our toolkit, such as stakeholder interviews, workshops and market and competitive research, we were quickly able to understand exactly what Paddy Power needed to offer customers in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

From here, our technical team including our CPO and CTO, were able to clearly define the features that were required to deliver on this offering, and only these features. There was no time for ‘fat’ or non-essential features, these were all logged and added to a backlog for future releases.

As an example, for the first version of the product we were able to apply the pareto principle (80:20 rule), and launch the service only for football bets (which accounted for by far the largest category of bets). Once launched for football, the service could then be rolled out to horse racing and other events, but by this time, a significant portion of the customer base (those that bet on football) would already be benefiting from the service.

Many features would came later e.g. being able to live stream the events you are betting on. Initially though, we built to deliver on the core value proposition of tracking your retail bet online.

This enabled us to reduce the workload by many orders of magnitude and therefore increase speed of delivery.

2. Technical expertise to find fast, effective solutions

One of the core benefits of an agency such as Steer73 is the collective knowledge and experience of the entire team, you get a melting pot of ideas around solutions.

We put this into full effect to ensure that we delivered a robust, user friendly solution that delivered perfectly on the core value proposition for Paddy Power, quickly.

This involved making technical decisions such as launching with a mobile website with UI and UX that felt like a mobile app rather than building native mobile apps from the start. This saved months of execution and proved the value proposition just the same.

The flow also included a customer getting a link (where they can track their bet) sent to their mobile phone after entering it on an in-store terminal. This link had an automated login, acting as a sort of 2FA for login and adding security to the solution without having to build or integrate further complex functionality. Once again, saving significant development and QA time.

3. The team & the processes to deliver quickly

We are experts in building technology, we know what needs to happen to get a product live and what work needs to be done. As soon as contracts were signed, our processes went into action.

Our scheduling and delivery processes ensured that the right people were on hand to do the right work at the right time. Core processes ensured that tasks, interdependencies etc were all managed for speed and the quality of work meant that things didn’t need to be done twice.

We also went into ‘startup’ mode. If extreme speed is needed, then there is some level of checking and quality assurance that simply isn’t possible. This meant accepting that there would need to be some fast, reactive fixes once live. As such we needed to make sure that the right team, with the right skillset, was on hand to deal with these fixes quickly. An example is when we launched live streaming of events. Due to the sheer volume of requests that went through for certain events, we essentially ‘knocked over’ the streaming supplier. However, we’d planned for events like this and within four hours we had updated the product to limit the number of times people can try to access streams and reduce the strain on the 3rd party supplier.

The result

The product was delivered in record time and launched to tens of thousands of users. The product proved concept and delivered on the value proposition right out the gate.

From this initial launch we engaged in an Agile delivery methodology, quickly adding exciting new features such as free to play games, native mobile apps, live streaming of events and much more.

Building on the foundations that we put in place during the first release we have continued to grow the value of the product to Paddy Power and their customers month on month.

“The attention to detail, clarity, quality and pace which Steer73 deliver customer features is outstanding which creates a working relationship more akin to a joint venture than a supplier / customer standard.."