Andy Roberts discusses why you don’t need to pit bespoke development against off-the-shelf tools when you’re choosing software.
Headforwards is a different kind of software outsource partner. We are a partner that focuses on what’s right for our clients, co-creating teams of great people and empowering them to build great software that delivers value fast.
Great software is built by great teams
Headforwards is a software business. But first and foremost, it’s a people business. We believe great teams deliver great software, so we build dedicated teams, often in partnership with our clients that are the ideal fit both for their business requirements and our culture.
We employ more than 100 people, with 70% of our team based in Cornwall and 30% working remotely. We believe diverse teams deliver better software, so we proactively seek to build teams of people from different backgrounds, cultures, sectors and experiences.
Employee wellbeing truly matters to us and we place a lot of emphasis on ensuring our people are happy and well looked after. In 2022, we celebrated five 5-year and eight 10-year anniversaries.Find out how we recruit
We believe in creating value
Clients look to Headforwards to develop software that creates value but, in a rapidly changing business environment, what constitutes that value might change from one week to the next.
Software can only continue to deliver business value if the development teams can adapt quickly and smoothly to changing client needs. A client relationship based on trust, transparency and collaboration combined with Agile working practices allows Headforwards to be able to respond to changes in a constructive way.
If something changes in our client’s world, they’ve got to adapt, they’ve got to look for a new competitive advantage in their software and that’s always what we aim to deliver.
Digitally transforming manual processes at Cornwall Council
Headforwards delivered unified data management and self-serve capabilities to digitally transform manual processes at Cornwall Council.Learn more
How we began
Headforwards might never have existed if it weren’t for a chance conversation at a barbecue.
Agile practitioner, Toby Parkins was talking with a product owner from a global corporation, when the discussion turned to the difficulty of getting really good outsource developers.
Toby took the idea to Craig Girvan – a fellow Agile practitioner – who had been thinking along similar lines.
They agreed that clients were short-changed by traditional outsourcers, who tend to prioritise their own business over that of their clients.
They sketched out a vision for a new kind of outsource company, built on three principles:
• The right people
• Dedicated teams
• Collaborative relationships
From these early conversations, Toby Parkins and Craig Girvan founded Headforwards in 2011 with the ambition of challenging the existing ‘on the bench’ model for outsource software.
Craig was a former Development Team Lead with Tesco Direct with his teams working on the non-food retail website and Tesco.com, Tesco’s online grocery website and supply chain. During his time at Tesco.com Craig became a Scrum/Agile evangelist supporting development teams to adopt Scrum, and the overall organisation to embrace the benefits of Agile.
Toby ran a Cornwall-based website development company called UK NetWeb.
Now more than ten years on, Headforwards has more than 100 people working in teams for national and global clients across a broad range of sectors including local authority, insurance, global communications and health.
FibreHub is our own building, housing our Head Office. But more than that it is a hub and collaboration space where tech, software and digital businesses can work, meet and connect in Cornwall.
Opened in 2021, FibreHub was the brainchild of Toby Parkins, who believed that for a new tech revolution to take place in Cornwall, young people needed to be able to see physical evidence that there was cool stuff going on that they could be part of.
One of the biggest challenges for tech businesses right now is access to the right skills. With FibreHub right next to the Cornwall College Campus and with a hub of tech and digital sector businesses, we have the opportunity to have a leading approach to tech education and work towards solving the sector’s issue with talent development.