Revoke: a Cleverbit Software DevTeams case study

About Revoke

Revoke is a software company based in the Channel Islands providing data privacy and security-related solutions to consumers to enable them to take back control of their digital footprint.

Through an easy-to-use, cross-platform app, consumers have access to a number of services including dark web searches, social media privacy health checks, the ability to send DSARs (Data Subject Access requests) to retrieve data, stop marketing, stop sharing and/or delete any personal data held by companies and can sign-up for Identity Theft Insurance protection.

On the other hand, companies are able to manage their part of the DSARs process through a browser-based, intuitive interface which helps them comply with the intricacies of Data Protection legislations including GDPR and CCPA.

The Cleverbit Software solution

While the app and business interface, (see screenshot below) are very easy to use, they belie the complex processes and technologies behind them. Using a combination of Angular at the front-end, Azure Cosmos DB and ASP.NET at the back-end, with everything hosted securely on Azure, Revoke has the capability to initiate thousands of customer requests to thousands of companies. All data is secured with military-grade encryption.

 

 

But it all started taking shape one sunny morning in St Helier when a team from Cleverbit Software met with the top team at Revoke to discuss how a powerful idea could be translated into an application that would make the lives of thousands of consumers much easier and more secure, and the complexities of complying with GDPR and similar legislations easier for businesses to manage.  In the words of Revoke’s own mission statement, “Our mission is to fix the personal data crisis and help organisations be compliant with data protection legislation.”

The Engagement Process

Gina Foster, Chief Operating Officer at Revoke said: “We had already discussed the high-level idea behind the project with the people at Cleverbit Software and we were confident that we could move on to the next stage of the process.”

“We agreed to conduct an onsite kick-off workshop, and spent two days brainstorming ideas for our vision of the product – it instantly felt like we were one big team, with everyone sharing their ideas and quickly translating the functionality into technical specifications.”

“From the start it became clear that we could leverage the strengths that Cleverbit Software brought to the project in terms of their capability to build the robust back-end that the business required. At that stage we determined that our team in Jersey was very capable of building and managing the mobile app, while the Cleverbit Software team would be well-equipped to handle the web applications which are used by external partners and the internal team at Revoke.“

According to Eman Zerafa, Project Team Lead at Cleverbit Software: “Every problem is different, and so is every client we have the pleasure to work with.  We work with the client and tailor our approach to their needs, focusing on building a relationship, rather than stringent processes. This is made easier of course with a customer such as Revoke, due to their highly capable team who had a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish from the early days of the project.”

“In our initial meetings we defined what role and responsibilities Cleverbit Software would have in the overall client’s technology and product strategy, and the responsibilities of the existing team on Revoke’s side. “

“We also established which core features needed to be developed, as well as the short-term, medium-term and long-term goals of the project and associated deadlines.”

“Then we quickly got our hands dirty and started working on the MVP, having daily catchups and weekly meetings to demo what we had built and prioritise which features to build next. Eventually, as the MVP core features were developed and the team grew, we introduced structured development cycles and started working in two-week sprints driven by a backlog of user stories, which we prioritise in sprint planning meetings held twice a month.”

The DevTeams service

Gina Foster: “It was agreed that the best engagement model would be that of Cleverbit’s Software DevTeams service, whereby they would initially commit to one person working full time on the project. The identification of this First Team Member was crucial due to the key role that this person played.”

“At that stage we also discussed the commercial package including day rates, payment terms, contract duration, and the like.“

Eman Zerafa: “Our DevTeams service fits perfectly for software development projects where long-term development effort is required, but the end of the project is not defined.”

“For this project, in fact for most of our projects, we use an Agile methodology which allows for incremental releases and is designed to cater for continuously changing requirements which is perfect for such product companies.”

“We conduct daily meetings, and have fortnightly sprints, with a sprint reveal at the end. Then its sprint planning and we start the process over again. We also have meetings where we decide on what the roadmap is (i.e. where Revoke is headed in terms of large feature development).”

Concluding Comments

Eman Zerafa: “Open communication is a very important part of the process, and this requires a commitment from both sides; a belief in what we are doing together and respect in the role each one of us plays. We believe in what Revoke stands for, and are honoured to be an important part of this unique project.”

Gina Foster: “The experience to date has been very positive. Today the team has grown from one to a team of four developers, and the way things are going we expect the team to grow further. There is absolutely no distinction between Cleverbit Software’s developers and our own in-house team. We are one team working together towards the same goals.”

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