The Scope of Success - or: How to make strengths out of differences.

Working with very different key points (business meets IT development) was both challenging and exciting. It constantly opened up opportunities for us and the Scope Group in our work to expand each other's horizons.

The Scope Group is a leading European rating agency comparable to the three U.S. players Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings Inc. The Scope Group provides integrated solutions and information to allow investors to assess and monitor risk in their investments.

The Project

In 2017, the Scope Group decided to develop a platform that would enable institutional investors to gather knowledge about risks and opportunities of financial assets. Furthermore, the same platform should allow Scope’s analysts to assess the risk of financial assets and to compile appropriate rating as well as assessment reports.

The Challenge

When kreuzwerker began working with a small team of three backend engineers, a devops specialist and a scrum master, our client had a very good idea, certain constraints but not enough engineering capacity to start:

  • The technologies for building and operating the platform had already been determined. Thus, the frontend needed to be built in Sencha’s ExtJs, and the backend should be Java.

  • The system needed to run on Microsoft Azure.

  • Due to the lack of available internal engineering resources, the front-end would be built by two external agencies working remotely most of the time.

  • Due to lack of available internal engineering resources, the back-end as well as the development infrastructure would be set up by kreuzwerker consultants working on-site.

  • During the project, an internal engineering team needed to be set up and onboarded.

The Solution

kreuzwerker initiated the project by defining the agile development process and setting up an appropriate infrastructure including Jira boards, a Confluence knowledge base, Bitbucket repositories, a chat and build server as well as SonarQube and TestRail software.

It proved to be a real challenge for three agencies working together to ramp up the client’s internal development team. kreuzwerker’s role was to coach and lead by example making the team aware of best practices. Working closely with professionals of different backgrounds allowed kreuzwerker not only to share, but gain knowledge in various areas.

The first month was spent gathering knowledge about the business domain, shaping the platform features and continuously improving the requirements and development of the engineering process. The same time period was used to deliver the first proof of concept (PoC). The PoC was chosen because it connects the data integration of legacy systems, allows the exploration of user interfaces suitable for the customer, and to practice the engineering processes within the team.

After finishing the PoC, the final architecture needed to be established. The platform would have to support several plug-ins to allow data segregation as well as different user flows throughout the system. Finally, kreuzwerker chose an easy-to setup and maintain service architecture, which does not require continuous interaction among all running application parts. Using this approach, we were able to meet the time to market requirements without limiting the platform in regard to further extensions.

After bringing the product to life, kreuzwerker gradually withdrew while on-boarding new internal staff.

kreuzwerker played a key role in hiring backend and devops engineers on behalf of the customer. This included coding challenges, questionnaires and taking part in technical interviews.

The Upshot

The agile approach allowed the team to deftly administer the continuously necessary adjustments and adaptations, and to be able to deliver the first product at the end of the year. The customer was also able to transition from a purely financial organization to an IT organization.

Starting with simple architectures and continuously developing them allowed us to keep on schedule, and offer market value throughout the entire journey.

Working so closely with engineering and business was challenging, but it opened endless opportunities for Scope and us. We were also able to optimize the product and the processes.