Britehouse Digital helps PAYM8 achieve full business agility

Building an agile software development team is key to successful agile implementation.

An agile software development approach and proactive, structured team formation by Britehouse Digital has given payment gateway services provider, PAYM8 Secure, a malleable, future-proofed technology and human resources platform on which to develop and roll-out competitive products.


PAYM8 specialises in m-commerce, e-commerce, financial collections, and payment gateway services. Using Visa and PCI certified environments, the company provides access to a single platform with corresponding application and product expertise, enabling companies to offer their own m-commerce, e-commerce, and online payment collection solutions using PAYM8's technology.


PAYM8 Executive – Products & Services, Ilze van As, says Britehouse's commitment to solving PAYM8's technology issues included advice on revising business processes in order to make the organisation as a whole, and not just its technology, as agile as possible.


"From the outset, Britehouse understood us as an organisation. We see ourselves as game-changers. Britehouse knew how to enable us to stay that way."


PAYM8 had two legacy platforms that had been developed outside of PAYM8's environment close to a decade ago. Although they had served the company well, they were unsuited to modern payment scenarios.


"Enhancing and expanding our product suite on the existing platform proved close to impossible and became a burning issue for the business," Van As says. "We wanted agility, speed, and savvy user interfaces and technology we could be proud of. We needed to be able to change business direction easily, without losing grip on our software strategy."


PAYM8 chose Britehouse Digital (then 3fifteen) as an implementation partner because it went to the trouble of organising a day-long workshop demonstrating agile software development's value to PAYM8. Britehouse was also willing to take responsibility for team management.

Michelle Ramnath, Britehouse Digital Consulting Services general manager, says a lengthy, fixed scope implementation of a new system for PAYM8 would have been outdated before the final blueprint was approved.


"Agile software development was the only sensible solution. However, the Britehouse and PAYM8 development teams came from different work cultures, had dissimilar organisational structures, and followed varying software approaches. We first needed to form a cohesive team and introduce simple proven processes before we could expect the combined team to be effective."


With PAYM8's agreement, Britehouse Digital took two weeks upfront to build team coherence. This included creating a product vision, defining team rules of engagement, and establishing a six-month roadmap.

Once the project started, the strong collaboration ethic that is a key element in Britehouse teams was proactively inculcated within the combined team. Planning sessions were highly interactive, ensuring participation and discussion. Decision-making was democratic, encouraging and empowering team members to be accountable for their tasks, actions, and decisions. Pair programming led to better quality code and promoted cross-pollination of skills and knowledge.

"Getting to a point of a self-organising team is the ultimate goal and a true measure of success in an agile project," Ramnath says. "We were helped in achieving this by the active involvement of our PAYM8 product owner and sponsor throughout the process, ensuring that the rest of the business supported our initiatives."


For PAYM8, the process brought about a complete mind-shift.

"The transformation of our own team was remarkable and Michelle continues to be exceptional at placing people in our environment who understand what we're about as a business," Van As says. "That's an extraordinary capability considering that PAYM8 is not your typical banking institution. We just move so fast."


Based on the success of the virtual team model, PAYM8 has outsourced its development team to Britehouse Digital, ensuring the sustainability of its software development needs.

"Because we have experts taking care of our software, we are able to capitalise on the opportunities we have and focus on taking product to market," Van As says.