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.
“He was talking about how you never get the right people, and how outsource companies just pull anyone off the bench to work on a project,” says Toby.
“I knew instantly that I could put together a brilliant team for him – and the whole concept of Headforwards was founded in that moment.”
A new kind of software outsource company
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 of a new kind of outsource company, built on three principles:
The right people
It’s about picking the right people for each client, rather than running a bench. It may be slightly less efficient for us, but the client gets much better quality and value – and that’s what matters.
We wanted to create teams that would be with the client for the long-term, so their knowledge could build up and be shared and retained.
We wanted to involve clients in picking their teams, and to be transparent with them about our cost model. It makes for a much more productive and trusting relationship.
Headforwards was formally incorporated in 2011, and has grown into a company of well over 100 people.
As clients increasingly look for outsource companies that deliver long-term value and competitive differentiation, Headforwards stands in good stead for the future.