Traffic Broker Case Study

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Web 2.0 Mobile Comparison Site:
TrafficBroker, one of the UK’s leaders in affiliate marketing, wanted to launch an innovative comparison website for mobile phones and services. TrafficBroker and ThoughtWorks moved the project,
www.omio.com, from concept to release in just 50 days.

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Traffic Broker Case Study

  1. 1. Web 2.0 Mobile Comparison Site TrafficBroker, one of the UK’s leaders in affiliate marketing, wanted to launch an innovative comparison website for mobile phones and services. TrafficBroker and ThoughtWorks moved the project, www.omio.com, from concept to release in just 50 days. The Client The Benefits TrafficBroker is an award-winning Internet marketing agency, founded in 2004 by Neil Hutchinson. Channelling traffic from search engines to merchants, they work hard to keep driving innovation through • Fast turnaround – the omio site went from conceptual story their range of services, which includes affiliate marketing, search management, campaign management, meetings and scoping and content web sites. In 2007 they achieved £100 million in sales, and over 200 million clicks. to consumer release in just Through a combination of extremely talented staff and a focus on developing cutting-edge technology, 50 days, in time for TrafficBroker’s success is the benchmark in online marketing. TrafficBroker to benefit from Christmas shopping. The Situation TrafficBroker’s strategic projects group identified a need for a heavily user-centric mobile phone • Lean and Agile approach – comparison site which could direct qualified traffic to merchants. With their background in search evolving rather than rigidly-set marketing and ability to generate vast volumes of traffic, TrafficBroker was confident in the concept requirements brought the flexibility TrafficBroker but needed help with the technical challenges it posed. A multidisciplinary team from ThoughtWorks needed during and following were engaged to work with TrafficBroker’s in-house staff to devise, build and test the www.omio.com the site build. web site. • Stable and attractive “...we knew if anyone could deliver a great Ruby site, environment – Ruby on Rails ThoughtWorks could.” is a flexible open-source web Matt Wheeler, Concept Designer, TrafficBroker framework that helps speed up development and allows quick The Challenge changes. It’s also a technology It was obvious to the client from the outset that the building of the omio site required skills and resource with a lot of developer interest, making it a selling point for capacity that were simply not covered in-house. The timeframe for delivery was formidably short; the recruiting additional talent. business case rested on being able to take advantage of the upcoming Christmas shopping season. • Shared risk and committed TrafficBroker had already selected Ruby on Rails as the platform, and invited a number of qualified follow through – ThoughtWorks vendors to bid, specifying that delivery of everything was needed by a set deadline. ThoughtWorks had committed to deliver a fixed the most experience with Ruby, but that was not the only reason for the partnership. TrafficBroker was scope for core functionality, impressed with the unconventionally frank ThoughtWorks’ response. Some vendors claimed they could and to invest additional effort deliver everything by the deadline. ThoughtWorks was clear that the desired scope was not feasible, if the deadline was not met. In but provided an alternative roadmap to a viable site in the time available. This gave TrafficBroker greater actuality, 120% of scope was delivered by the deadline. confidence in ThoughtWorks’ ability to drive the business result within the technical and time constraints. www.thoughtworks.com
  2. 2. Web 2.0 Mobile Comparison Site The concept itself wasn’t fully tested and no one had done this Within four weeks the site was in production internally, with 100 type of site before. TrafficBroker knew they needed a development people accessing and testing it. The majority of functionality was partner capable of working flexibly, with evolving requirements. there from the first iteration, enabling the team to constantly improve ThoughtWorks’ Agile approach directly fitted this need. usability, and hone down specific functionality for consumer release. Working Towards A Solution The Future ThoughtWorks and TrafficBroker worked together to quickly capture The entire agreed scope was finished ahead of time, leaving room to the core functionality from the consumer’s point of view; with a add back in some features that had been removed at the start. The visionary team there was no shortage of ideas, which were all business was much more comfortable with the production release captured in the inception phase. The team created a storyboard – a as a result of the Agile iterative approach – the ongoing testing with card wall of requirements that could be prioritized physically. The live data gave them a good idea of what handsets to target, for low-tech organization surprised TrafficBroker, but the simplicity example. of the approach soon showed itself to be effective. With the tight The short-term focus for the site is finding the best phone and the project timeframe, the joint team focused on key features that would right deal for the consumer, taking advantage of the Christmas be needed by the site’s customers for the initial launch. The Agile shopping traffic. The next phase was kicked off immediately method of working meant developers and users worked together to following the site’s successful launch – expanding the site prioritize features based on effort and end-user value, eliminating the considerably and building in added functionality and innovations in usual document/review/update cycle. the mobile market. “ThoughtWorks even gave us ideas for features which weren’t in the original scope. They’ve been ThoughtWorks is a registered trademark of ThoughtWorks, Inc. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks more than a development company belong to their respective holders. – they’ve had a real sensitivity © 2008 ThoughtWorks, Inc. All rights reserved. for the business.” Matt Wheeler, Concept Designer, TrafficBroker Rather than working from a specification, the teams collaborated on a daily basis. David Pattinson, project manager explains: “An evolving brief is far preferable to a pre-specified one because the latter tends to stop people from innovating. In such a ground- breaking project, innovation is vital.” After a week-and-a half of planning and scoping, development kicked off. Work immediately started on a basic version of the site for internal testing and feedback – essentially allowing the business team to see and feedback on requirements live, rather than in detailed specification documents. www.thoughtworks.com

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