The Newstex tech team has been hard at work launching iPad apps with Authoritative Content publishers and distributors in recent years. This year alone, Newstex launched the Newstex LEXIS-NEXIS Legal News app for iPad and the CQ Roll Call Insight app for iPad and iPod Touch.
However, launching mobile apps and managing existing technology needs requires organization, a great team, and a strong leader. Newstex Vice President of Technology Chris Moyer and his team of developers continually exceed at both. How do they do it? Some of the secrets to the Newstex tech team’s success are described below to give you some insights into what goes on behind the scenes.
Agile Tools for App Development
Chris spoke with Jan Stafford of TechTarget’s SearchSoftwareQuality blog and shared some of the keys to the Newstex tech team’s success. Of course, Chris and his team use a variety of management and analytical tools to create high quality iPad apps and carry out all of their other software and tech projects. For example, I wrote about how Newstex uses Splunk Storm for log management and log aggregation here on the Newstex blog in October (follow the preceding link for the details).
Additional tools that Chris’s team uses include:
- Flowdock for real-time group chats.
- Skype for personal meetings and urgent calls.
- Mixpanel for mobile analytics.
- Freshdesk for customer-facing ticket management.
- Development wikis managing and tracking each project.
Agile Development Process
The Newstex technology team uses Agile development best practices to get things done. Agile software development is described by TechTarget as:
A methodology for the creative process that anticipates the need for flexibility and applies a level of pragmatism into the delivery of the finished product. Agile software development focuses on keeping code simple, testing often, and delivering functional bits of the application as soon as they’re ready. The goal of ASD is to build upon small client-approved parts as the project progresses, as opposed to delivering one large application at the end of the project.
Chris and his team use surveys, rapid prototyping, and demos to help define requirements with customers. This enables customers to see, touch, and test a “minimalist release” of the new app based on the most basic requirements. Newstex can integrate feedback throughout the process, which reduces trial and error and leads to the development of high quality apps.
Strong Leadership in Action
Another primary reason that the Newstex technology team is so successful is because of its leader, Chris Moyer. He understands the importance of keeping developers away from daily distractions so they can focus on what they do best. Team members are in place to handle customer communications, client issues, and other things that aren’t directly related to software requirements.
Chris also understands how to communicate with developers to keep them motivated and focused as well as with clients to ensure they understand what’s happening at all times. Being able to speak to these diverse audiences in ways they can relate to is critical to everyone’s success.
To clarify things further, all team members use a glossary of terms. Chris explained to SearchSoftwareQuality that the glossary simplifies communication. If there is ever confusion, Chris takes on the role of translator to ensure everyone is on the same page and speaking the same language.
The combination of strong leadership, a great tech team, and agile tools works very well for Newstex — as our successful iPad app launches demonstrate. You can get more details in the complete article on SearchSoftwareQuality, and stay tuned for more mobile apps from Newstex coming soon!