With ICE over and the year turning into a gallop we take the opportunity to look back at 2018. Staying true to our values, we’re opening up Bede and sharing our findings – from the highs and lows, to the lessons learned and changes made – and what it all means for Bede in 2019.
Partnerships, Progression and Production
The three Ps for Bede in 2018 meant we were focused on collaboration and innovation. A shift in leadership saw our former CTO take the helm, with co-founders Michael Brady and Dan Smyth moving to strategic board positions. Alex Butcher immediately set about ensuring our technology and security not only remained centre stage but were intrinsic to our success. Under the Butcher era, introspectives and kaizen are being built into staff psyche as we strive towards our mission of becoming the Safest Place to Play.
If innovation is what drives us, it is collaboration that makes things happen. You would be hard pushed to find a project or pitch that hasn’t had input from every department across the business. Some may have had bigger roles to play than others but every contribution is as significant. It is this togetherness that truly makes Bede great – treating everyone as a partner whether that be supplier, client or colleague.
So, how has this focus translated in 2018? What did we achieve and what did we learn?
Commercial highlights this year include:
And it’s not just the external success we’re celebrating, internally we had significant achievements as well:
Kaizen: Continuous Improvement
The fail fast mantra has long been entrenched in the tech industry. Striving for openness throughout all our dealings, Bede continue to look for new methods of working and better ways of solving problems. Through the BFFs* we set up last year for direct client feedback and encouraging daily feedback from our colleagues we are opening two-way communication channels, which enable us to update our procedures and processes across the board.
Internally this has led to us facing some home truths, conducting team restructuring and process improvement. It can be hard but it is always worth it.
Start up to scale up to small medium business in a relatively short space of time is always a difficult time for leaders and workers alike. Processes need to be formalised and visibility is more challenging but the hardest part is channelling that startup mentality, which harnesses motivation, innovation and drive into a well oiled machine. Mentality in Bede is strong but the teams have not always been optimised.
Team Fabric: Operations Overhaul
Historically, our operations staff have been part of our Service Delivery team, this meant their time was split between performing BAU platform work, Tier 3 support and project work. While this has previously worked well for us, as we scaled it was identified as a potential roadblock in the long term.
So we took the initiative to create a new department, we call Fabric, which takes responsibility for a wide range of areas of operational excellence, with much focus on installing learnings from the wider industry, particularly around Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps.
If 2017 was the year of scaling and restructuring our development teams then 2018 was the equivalent for Operations.
We now have a defined site reliability roadmap and 3 dedicated teams to execute on it.
Over the course of 2018, Fabric has grown and developed a wide range of processes, knowledge bases and articles to help our Feature Teams autonomously deliver work into production. Fabric also delivered a large amount of strategic project work that will ensure Bede, and our customers, continue to grow into 2019 and beyond in the most efficient manner possible.
Addressing The System
It can be easy in a tech company to fall into the trap of solving the perception of problems but not understanding what the actual problem is, so we did some introspective work.
The outcome was the realisation that where the restructuring of the delivery team brokedown knowledge silos and enabled laser focused resource, it also lacked a system framework.
There was no clearly defined process of how work gets into Bede, how it is prioritised and how it is delivered as an end product.
So in 2018 we set about organising it. Enter The Bede Machine.
The Bede Machine is the collective noun for the 7 stages of delivery. It allows for planning, managing and monitoring from concept to support and has transformed the production line. Communications and visibility is the key. Work now aligns with strategy and business priorities through the complete process and key stakeholders fully understand expectations, responsibilities, progress and performance at each stage. Seems obvious but these things need to be executed correctly. The machine works.
SLAs, SLIs, SLOs: From An Agreement To An Objective
Every company, no matter what industry, is familiar with SLAs – the contracted minimum service expected, signed and agreed at the time of a deal meaning each party understands what is required. What some are not aware of are SLIs (Service Level Indicators) and SLOs (Service Level Objectives). SLAs are frequently mistaken for SLOs but as previously stated, SLAs are a minimum service level.
On our journey to produce a Platform as a Service, it is important that the service we provide also undergoes an improvement process and that as well as striving for excellence in our products, we also apply the same to our services.
So this year we are bringing SLOs and their SLIs to the forefront. This is a process we will be honing in 2019 and beyond. It will be a key part of business analysis and performance marking.
Be sure to ask about it when you see us next!
Looking to 2019
As we continue our mission to become the safest place to play, there will be further developments to responsible gambling tools and the security of our platform, clients, players and staff.
A big part of our 2019 will be delivering on the Ontario Lottery & Gaming project, which we don’t expect to take more than 50% of our capacity. More quality content partners will be added to the platform, with particular attention to sportsbooks and more talent added to our workforce across our offices, including Canada. We are also looking forward to expanding in Spain, Latam and within the US and Lottery sectors and, of course, working with our current clients to take their digital offerings to new heights as they continue to grow with us.
In 2018 we optimised our engineering teams for velocity, in 2019 we will focus on sustainability with an emphasis on monitoring, performance and security testing, defining SLOs, and striving for excellence across the board and many more adventures!
Why not join us on our epic journey?
You can catch us at most of the big events and awards of the year including,
To name a few – be sure to book a meeting!
Wishing you all a prosperous and educational 2019.
*Bede Feedback Forums – do contact us for more information on those or anything else you have read in this blog today: firstname.lastname@example.org