How Remote Customers Succeed with Xfive
Bartek Piskorski, Head of Business Development, during a discovery call with a client
While remote work almost immediately transformed from being cool to being a must, here at Xfive, we have a long history of providing web development services and building digital products 100% remotely.
The culture of trust
Everything started in 2005 when Dave Rosen from Australia and Stano Dzavoronok from Slovakia had an idea of a business to help designers convert their designs to HTML. It worked out, and the company grew quickly. Yet, Dave and Stano didn’t meet in person until 2010. Running a company remotely for so long is only possible if you trust each other. The circle closed in 2012 when Milosz Bazela took over the position of Xfive’s COO, and he went through the whole recruitment process remotely.
6 years: the time it took until the Xfive founders met in person
The culture of trust that we have in our roots is unique. Although we run a physical office, half of our team is distributed around the world. And while we operate in the dynamically growing web development industry, we are able to keep our team all together without any significant changes. The retention in Xfive is on a level of 4 years and grows.
Who we are determines how we work. Although most of our developers and the operational teamwork is in continental Europe, we serve clients mainly from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Besides the time zone differences, distribution of the team, and, often, the several locations team members of our clients work from, the relationships we set last for many years.
2014: the year when our longest remote cooperation with a client started
We treat our clients not only as business partners but also as friends. Trust, care, and friendship combined with our full transparency and professional standards of delivering projects result in the fact that over 80% of our work comes from returning clients.
7000 hours: the scope of our biggest, one-off project delivered remotely
During Xfive’s 15 year history, we delivered over 1600 projects to clients from all over the world. The success of these projects is based on our online project management, communication and development tools, and remote interpersonal skills.
So how exactly do we help the clients achieve their success?
We help startups build their products from scratch, both the experienced entrepreneurs and the visionaries who come to us with just a brief idea of their digital product.
Among many examples, we can name Mpirica, a healthcare analytic platform, Open Lantern, the marketing-related tech start-up, Crowdfund Mainstreet, the crowdfunding platform that cares, or QualSCORE, which improves the quality of one of the fastest-growing industries.
We can help to scale your capacity and expertise like we did with Singlepoint or provide a dedicated resource that becomes a regular member of the clients’ team (Eligible).
For many design agencies, Xfive is a trusted development partner. It’s a very simple model, where everybody does what they do best. We can code even the wildest ideas of creatives and as we do for Forpeople from the UK and the Netherlands, Elefint from the United States or Holy Cow from Australia.
Last but not least, we like to work directly with a client while building and maintaining their WordPress websites and e-commerce solutions like we did for Club Oenologique and several departments of UC Berkeley.
Remote project life cycle
Curious about how a successful remote cooperation looks like from a client perspective? Let’s dive into a typical project life cycle.
Nice to meet you: Lead
When you submit your request, it gets to our Salesforce instance. We do a basic research on leads and rate them with our custom rating system. This ensures that we prioritize important leads and your request doesn’t slip our attention. You can expect a reply from us within 24 hours or less.
What you are up to: Discovery
When we find out that we are potentially a good match, we will set up a call with you. Don’t worry about the time zone difference, we will adapt to your schedule.
The initial call helps us to understand the scope of your project and agree on the best cooperation model.
It may turn out that your project requires more thorough discovery. In such a case, we would ask you to order a Discovery package. This is a fair approach as some projects’ discovery may require additional calls, writing a project specification, discussing technology choices, identifying risks and many others. If you do the project with us, we would deduct the package price from your first invoice.
Good agreements make good friends: Contract
The project specification is ready, let’s put everything on “paper.” No worries, no faxes will be involved in this step! After all it’s 2020 and everything is remote and digital.
No faxes involved!
We use Pandadoc to create and discuss contracts. Once both parties are satisfied, we would sign them digitally. One step at time, we are getting closer to bringing your vision to life.
One small step for a man: Payment
Talking about steps, whether this is a small step or giant leap for you, we make sure that your money is well invested. We try to humanize even such impersonal players as finance. Our Financial Controller, Monika, explains in more detail:
Life is too short to spend your entire accounting and finance career stuck in an office. Successfully integrating freelance and remote team members into our full-time organization is very important and valuable.
This is especially true with a finance team. It comes with a lot of challenges. A unique culture that emphasizes and values flexibility and work/life balance makes our Finance a distributed remote team. It’s possible thanks to many technology software we can keep our remote accounting tasks organized.
We try to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. Our goal is to automate processes, so those become unboring! This let us achieve super diligent results with less manual work. Thanks to this, we can pay more attention to our clients and their requests.
We are very flexible and adaptable to customer needs. Especially when it comes to invoices, payments or other financial issues. We know how to help you make your business better!
Monika Kos, Finance Department
Let’s make it happen: Production
Now that we have all of the initial things sorted out, let’s get the party started. Can you imagine that? A party where everybody is working hard on your project success.
We utilize all kind of remote tools to make things happen successfully:
- Slack, Zoom or Google Meet for communication,
- Toggl for time tracking,
- Figma for prototyping and UI design,
- Jira for complex projects or Basecamp for simple projects,
- Getfives, Xfive’s custom system for setting up and deploying projects, and Gitlab for source code management
to name a few. Of course, we can adapt to your preferences, for example to work within your own repositories.
Recently we’ve come across Milanote, an easy-to-use tool which helps you organize ideas and projects into visual boards. Milanote comes with predefined project plan templates that speed up the process on creative projects. We can’t wait to try it with our clients.
The care continues: Maintenance
The last thing you want is your new shiny app or website to corrode over the time. With our maintenance program you can keep it up-to-date, secure and performant. You can also constantly improve it by updating existing or developing new features.
New era, new symbols
Not so many years ago, the image of shaking hands symbolized a successful business – whether closing or signing-off deal. Nowadays, shaking hands has become a symbol of a new threat the businesses around the world face.
For us at Xfive, shaking hands with our clients was rarely an option during our 15 years of existence. We had to do without this simple pleasure, because we decided to build our company on a remote basis.
Today the old symbols are replaced by new ones; perhaps the image of a teleconference will define the new era. We all need to find new ways to succeed, and Xfive is ready to help you with that.