RockStep Solutions, a Maine-based startup, is filling an essential need in drug discovery with their cloud based research study management tool. With RockStep’s product, Climb™ 2.0,
laboratories increase output, improve quality, maintain regulatory compliance, and have deeper visibility and insight into their scientific data.
RockStep is a human-centered design shop, one which builds complex systems around both market needs and user feedback. But, according to RockStep’s President, Julie Morrison, “internally we needed to accelerate product development to maintain our industry leadership position.” Delivery timelines were not on pace with market needs, and RockStep realized they didn’t have the resources internally to handle the needed product development in-house. RockStep also recognized that in order to increase throughput, they needed a diverse set of technology skills, which would have been a challenge to recruit and build a team quickly in- house.
At that point, organizations usually have one of two choices; start the long search and hiring process to find full-time employees, or reach out to temp agencies or contracting firms and hope they have someone who fits the bill. For RockStep, these options had significant drawbacks.
It was unlikely that one person would have all the needed skills. Staffing and training an entire team would take too much time and money, and was outside of both their budget and desire to shorten the rollout’s timeframe. If any hire turned out to be a poor fit, it would further delay the release of Climb™ 2.0. They needed an agile, fully-staffed team that could get going Immediately.
On a customer’s recommendation, they reached out to Gsquad. With Gsquad, they could hire a fully-managed, cross-functional team that could scale to the project’s requirements over its timeline. Since Gsquad focuses on assembling tech teams, they already had the right people ready to step in and begin problem-solving.
“The ramp up was very fast,” says Gabriel Cloutier, a Squad Leader that was brought on by Gsquad for the RockStep mission. “Within two weeks, we were onboarded and started producing new features.” One common feature took five to ten minutes to process a user’s query, and soon enough, the Gsquad team had it down to under 30 seconds.
As Morrison points out, hiring Gsquad “is a really cost-effective way to bring in a varied set of technical skills without us having to hire full time employees for each of those skills.” With project-based software development, a company might only need someone with a specific skill set short-term. Gsquad gives clients that flexibility. When a need arose, Cloutier could add developers and leads without having to stop everything to onboard someone new.
At the project’s start everyone thought that it involved more visual, front-end oriented challenges. Once he started digging in, however, Cloutier realized that some of the challenges came from the back end. The platform used a lesser known technology which presented different technical issues than he’d expected.
As an engineer, this was the “fun” part for him. “I said, wow, how can we make it work, deliver value, and help RockStep succeed?” Gsquad’s flexible model allowed Gabriel to reshuffle the team in a few weeks time, providing the right level of expertise by adding different team members.
When Gsquad started vetting team candidates with a skills based test and evaluating cultural fit, it was a big turning point. “The vetting process has been phenomenal at getting us the resources we need,” Morrison believes. The Gsquad team at RockStep now consists of engineers and developers from all over the world - with members in Canada, the United States, Pakistan, Colombia, and Argentina who collaborate virtually.
Morrison values the team’s global spread because “the cognitive diversity creates the best idea engine for solving complex problems. This diverse team approaches problems from multiple perspectives and rapidly arrives at the best solutions.” With the Gsquad team in place, RockStep has been able to spend more time working on the design, user experience, and architecture of the product. The end result has been a better product, informed by the varying experience and opinions of the wider team.
Both Rockstep and Gsquad have felt that the Gsquad team assembled for this mission was a great fit, and are proud of the relationship built between them. “I have a lot of fun being part of that organization and culture,” Cloutier says. “The team feels like we were part of the RockStep team and can contribute to their success.”
In Morrison’s view, they’ve become a part of the RockStep family. They present their work at company-wide reviews, participate in design meetings, and have made sure that RockStep’s overall infrastructure is as modern as possible. Together, they can move forward.
Gsquad was quickly able to spin up the team we required. That enabled us to start executing on our strategic initiatives faster than we could have hired for.
I have a lot of fun being part of that organization and culture, the team feels like we are part of the RockStep team and can contribute to their success.