- Company name: Your mystar, Inc
- Interviewees: Development Officer Mr. Nagaaki Hoshi, Development Group Mr. Rintaro Ishikawa
"Your mystar", a Platform to Connect Skilled Professional Workers and People Who Need Those Skills
This time, we visited Your mystar, Inc, running "Your Mystar", a service to connect professional workers and people who want to take good care of valuable things. "Your Mystar" is a platform where you can discover and meet skilled professional workers all around Japan. The company's vision is to realize a world where valuable things can be kept good care of by professionals' skills. Also, they run a owned media "RELIVERS" as another core business, where they actively offer information on how to keep good care of valuable things.
Your mystar, Inc was established in August 2016. It's still about 1 year since establishment, but "Your Mystar" was released in November last year, and performance has been steadily rising since then. This time we interviewed development officer Mr. Hoshi and Mr. Ishikawa of the development group who just joined the company in June. We interviewed thoroughly how the development structure is, how SideCI is used there, and what is valued in a development team of a still fresh start-up company where 2~3 releases are made almost every day.
Dealing With Multiple Releases a Day with a Compact Development Team of Two Employees
Your mystar, Inc is a company established by former members of Rakuten, Inc. Currently, there are about 10 employees, and Mr.Hoshi also has the experience of being in the development team of Rakuten. Mr.Hoshi joined Your mystar, Inc in March 2017, just after "Your Mystar" was released, invited by CEO Mr. Hoshino.
Mr.Hoshi: I joined right after the release, and three services, for users, partners, and employees, were already completed. The launch of the service was outsourced, but I was impressed on how much they were finished up in such a short time. The chief called upon me with the intentions of wanting to run and improve the service in an in-house development team after the initial release.
Their development structure where multiple releases are made per day consists of 7 people, 2 employees, 4 interns, and 1 trustee. Mr. Hoshi's partner, the other employee Mr.Ishikawa, says:
Mr. Ishikawa: I joined this team this June. I was formerly a member of the development team of ZIGExN Co., Ltd. I worked with Ruby in ZIGExN, but here, I work with PHP. It had been a while since I worked with PHP.
The development team being small, the communication in the team is very close, even with frequent releases. Development is done managing priorities and progress closely, sticking colored post-its with tasks written on it to a whiteboard in the back of the office every day. Mr. Hoshi and Mr. Ishikawa's desks are next to each other. Matters are decided speedily in everyday conversations, and implemented accordingly.
Mr. Hoshi: Being a former SIer, Mr. Ishikawa tends to take too much margin in estimating due dates. He told me that adding functions of a PDF library and elastic search would take about 2~3 weeks and I thought "Well, I guess that's about it then", where it actually was finished in a few days. When changing URL structures he said 2~3 weeks again, but it only took 3 days. I mean, that's a bit too much of margin, isn't it? (laughs)
Mr. Ishikawa: Sorry, old habits die hard, you see... (laughs) I'm sure it's typical with SIers, but I can't help considering the worst case taking the maximum workload.
SideCI, Able to Secure Source Code Quality Without Speeding Down Development
Introducing SideCI was a suggestion from Mr.Ishikawa. Making use of SideCI which was also used in his previous company ZIGExN lead to the sharing of coding standards. We were told that SideCI was particularly helpful in teaching interns. 4 interns are accepted into the development team, but each of their knowledge and skills is different. So, SideCI takes the role of explaining the coding standards to each of the interns.
Mr. Hoshi: In a small development team in a company such as ours, it's difficult to give the intern students proper training. But at least for the codes, SideCI shows them the correct way to write them. As a position of having to teach interns about their job, being able to work on my own tasks for the time I was supposed to be checking codes is very helpful. Also, in an environment where speed is essential such as ours, releases tend to be prioritized than the quality of source codes. In such situations, SideCI is very effective, being able to secure source code quality without having to slow down development speed.
Mr. Ishikawa: There's one funny episode about SideCi, where an intern thought the messages actually from SideCI were from me. Looks like he thought "Mr.Ishikawa with an angry cat icon is scolding me, and in English for some reason!". Of course, after that, I explained and he understood how SideCI works.
The two reflected that SideCI always checking and sending messages was good training for writing clean codes, and gave team members a good occasion for realizing the importance of writing codes following a common set of rules.
The Key in Speeding Up Development is to Get Rid of Potential Waste
Newly established start-up companies are often required extraordinary speed for business growth, and that's no exception for our company. Here, we asked for a hint in achieving "speed" in service development.
Mr. Hoshi: To achieve speed, I think the first thing to do is set a priority of matters and cut down on unnecessary time and effort. In the development scene, I'm sure there are features that were worked on but aren't released after all, time to time. In our company, we keep in mind to communicate closely so that we don't have to put in such unnecessary efforts. By sharing what we're thinking and doing, we get rid of such waste coming from the lack of information.
Mr.Ishikawa: I think sharing the same vision is important. When the "What for?" goes off course, the risk of unnecessary development occurs. The service mind should come first, and the features added should be derived from there. Such approaches realize development speed in our company.
The schedule of Your mystar, Inc. is filled to the brim, with not only the launch of a new service but the release of apps and the change of architecture. The things developed from now on will all be made in-house from zero, so they will gradually increase the number of engineers. 4~5 engineers will be hired within the year, and are taking into consideration a structure with more than 10 people by next July. In asking what kind of people they want, what kind of people are perfectly suited for the company, we received the answer "speedsters". Being an environment where good ideas can be realized immediately, people who can enjoy the speed of decision making and implementing would be perfect, they said.
In newly established start-up companies which will proceed to grow, we're sure there are many situations where the release of a service is prioritized and you can't get around to consider code quality. Neglecting code quality can result in growing technical debts, maybe piling up far too much to pay back. In start-up's services' where development is continuously done, the drop in code quality has a very bad influence on development speed. SideCI takes on the job of securing code quality. Even in a team with members with different skills and backgrounds such as Your mystar, Inc, an environment where codes are written in good order was created due to the introduction of SideCI. Additionally, from this interview, we found that the feedback from SideCI can be used for training of writing clean codes.
Anyone thinking "We want to secure code quality, but it's difficult to spare workforce for that", or "Training is a must since members' skills are different, but we can't get to work on that education"? Why not give SideCI a try on this occasion?