Salvador Partners works on a global scale to help its customers grow their business. The company, which has its own set of products, also focuses on assisting startups in making their vision reality. Indeed, it bills itself as “experts at innovation and exploiting innovation.”
The company started life as a subcontracted electronic components manufacturing company, slowly broadening its lineup to include security products and patents and evolving to become a provider of technology for banking, financial services (fintech), defense and mechanical systems, says Lewis Daniels, founder of Salvador Partners. The company also serves as an incubator and capital arm for new technologies.
Salvador builds circuit boards and technology products, working across artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and blockchain technology, together with its other endeavors. Across its projects, wherever software is part and parcel with its products, Salvador Partners’ international team of developers are hard at work.
The firm has built a DevOps culture across its organization despite geographical and language barriers. DevOps.com explores the Salvador Partners devops culture that works in an umbrella fashion among these international developer groups.
The Global DevOps Culture Challenge
Salvador Partners works with development teams in Russia, China, India, the U.K. and the United States who build software prototypes, which can sometimes prove tricky: There are challenges to getting foreign teams to plug themselves more deeply in to existing domestic teams for future projects. “There’s an obvious value in their experience from the build of your prototype that you then want to tap. The question is whether they want to be a part of your longer-term vision,” Daniels says.
The company also grapples with the location question—whether to consider moving some of its operations to those countries, closer to those teams, or move some or all of them to its domestic operations. “Perhaps the world has become small enough through the use of tools like Slack and [project management] tools that you can let the technology bridge any gaps,” says Daniels. The tools so far have helped disparate development teams make the leap, including addressing any time zone and language issues that appear.
Delineating the Salvador Partners Culture
Salvador Partners uses an agile approach. “If each client wants a unique tweak, we simply badge up a boutique offering where we can innovate, collaborate and deploy in an agile environment to suit the client requirements,” Daniels says.
As development teams work together more frequently, they reuse code and proven approaches more often. “We often find tricks that get carried over to the next application or dashboard,” says Daniels.
Tools are the answer. “Things have changed in recent years. In terms of a culture, I think it’s pretty easy to leverage tools such as Slack and Dropbox to make the team smaller, regardless of where in the world they are positioned,” he says.
Salvador Partners developers also use Trello for sharing project plans and Skype and Uber conference for team collaboration calls. “We use a secure mobile app we developed internally to communicate on some of the new, high-tech or sensitive topics. WeTransfer is also pretty useful for sending larger files,” says Daniels.
Though Salvador Partners looks at its DevOps culture as a whole rather than by region, there are some unique, regional aspects. “We have a real good team based in India and they just go get things done, whereas some of their counterparts we use sometimes get caught up in planning the plans. This can make it difficult to pull a number of pieces of a project together,” says Daniels.
Other Solutions to Challenges
Locations, languages and distances present other challenges as well. Because some projects work with encryption protocols that by law can’t be shared beyond certain countries, the development work can happens only inside the U.K., the United States, Australia, Canada and some European countries, Daniels notes. In these cases, the company simply keeps the work internal, within the countries permitted.
Language barriers can also present issues. “Such was the case where Salvador Partners had Canadian companies working on something and had a French speaker cause a few problems for his English-speaking colleagues,” Daniels says. For language challenges, the company simply whiteboards the project or uses translators.
Time zones can also trip things up. “It creates challenges when you have a New Zealand head office dealing with partners in Singapore and developers in Russia and California. We have had conference calls where participants are going for dinner and at the same time another having their first coffee,” Daniels says.
However, time zones and geographies are less an issue as the available toolsets to solve communications barriers have evolved.