You read that right, from concept to product launch in just 44 days all while working remotely.
I don't have to tell you we’re living in unprecedented times. We’ve all had to drastically change both our personal and professional lives to adapt to the new normal we’re currently living in.
For us at KickFire, this has meant an almost overnight transition into a completely remote organization – no more office ping pong, no more catered lunches, and most unfortunately, no more real in-person interaction with our coworkers.
But the wheels of innovation must continue, and we weren't going to let a global pandemic stop us from building and launching our latest product.
Quick product overview: Before we jump into how we built it, here’s a quick summary of the product itself. KickFire SPARK™ is a free first-party intent platform that allows users to create target account watchlists to identify when target accounts visit their website and show buying intent. Basically, you tell us which companies you want to track on your site, and we make it happen. Sounds simple, right? Well, the expression that comes to mind right now is: “easier said than done.”
Here’s how we did it:
While we’re no strangers to a traditional product development process, we’ve never had to do one entirely remote before – making this one a doozy. The whiteboard meetings, brainstorming sessions, and water-cooler tangents, we’ve all grown accustomed to were all thrown out the window and replaced with Zoom meetings, Trello boards, Slack messages, and good old fashioned hand drawn sketches held up to the camera.
All of this was done with team members working remotely from the mountains of Colorado to the heat of Las Vegas to the heart of Silicon Valley – all coordinating and contributing their parts to make everything come together into a successful launch.
Behind the scenes, KickFire SPARK leverages our existing TWIN Caching™ technology, so we didn’t exactly have to reinvent the wheel from a technical standpoint, but that doesn't mean we had an easy job.
We still had to go through the process of forecasting the usage and network impact thousands of new users would have on our systems, which meant hours of analyzing hardware, load balancing, security procedures, and much more.
Then came writing code, creating tags, building databases, and stress testing our systems to ensure we were prepared to handle the uptick in users generating potentially millions of new data points every day.
On the front end, we had to create a brand new graphical user interface (GUI) to give KickFire SPARK users a pleasant experience and make sure they have easy access to the data they need. With teams working remote, this was something that we needed to ensure we got right. Teams do not have the time to go through long training and onboarding of new products. We want our SPARK users to spend time engaging with target accounts and not adding another complicated product or tool to their already crowded sales and marketing stack.
In addition, we created educational content and how-to guides to navigate new users through the setup, installation, and usage of KickFire SPARK. Finally, we built and tested a variety of reports, notifications, and other preferences users can configure to get their data in a format best suited to their needs.
One thing that is also very important to note about each department’s contribution is that none of them acted completely independently. Each one tapped resources, input, and time, from other departments at various stages of this launch.
I won’t bore you by recounting every inter-department question raised during a Zoom call, but just take my word for it, there were many. Being able to work remotely across departments was a huge win for us and has brought the departments closer together – almost as much as our monthly ping pong tournaments used to.
While this has no doubt been a challenging launch for us, it has shown in great detail one of the few bright spots to come out of this whole quarantine – the ability of our team to quickly adapt to new situations and keep pushing forward to meet our goals and provide a solution to the market.