In a conference room in mid-April 2014, the first inkling of what would become SparkPost, my company’s brand-new cloud-based email solution, were first brainstormed. A few weeks later, in early May, I received a cryptic description of a new website we needed to create. We didn’t have a name, we didn’t have many details, but we did have a few directives.
- Bring the industry-leading power of Momentum to the cloud in a way that start-ups could get on board with.
- Automate the entire sign-up process so that a single developer could sign up, setup their account and begin sending emails within 15 minutes.
- Do it far better than any of the other solutions available on the market at the time.
As insane as this all sounded to us at the time, we completed this task in under a year.
This is the first website I’ve posted here that I didn’t build myself from the ground up. Instead of doing all the code by hand, I managed the project through several contractors. I planned the architecture, chose the platform (Drupal 7 on the Acquia hosting platform), and oversaw the technical requirements of the entire thing.
We had a lot of hands on this project, so we tracked our progress using Pivotal Tracker. We held weekly ‘scrums’ and focused on bi-weekly releases that would be interpolated between the major releases that would continue occurring on MessageSystems.com.
For the entire length of development, scope creep ran rampant. Major new features were added to our roadmap without the deadline being pushed back. It sucks, but this is the reality of development sometimes. I was afraid that my small team wouldn’t be able to handle it, but it turns out all we had to do was work nights and weekends for a few months.
At the time I was completely burnt out, but I’m really proud of what we accomplished in the end.
For more information…
You can see the website at SparkPost.com. You can read more about the product’s development on the Message Systems Blog. You can see the big reveal in the original Press Release, but our CEO Phillip Merrick wrote a more interesting announcement.