Internal TECHNOLOGY AUDIT
Founders following the Lean Startup methodology rightly “do unscalable things” to get to scale. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia personally photographed Airbnb apartments. Pierre Omidyar wrote the eBay core code over dinner to help his fiancee find Pez dispensers. The founders of DoorDash spent months doing their own deliveries just to get feedback from customers.
When your startup reaches certain maturity thresholds, it’s time to take stock of what you’ve accomplished and set up properly for the future. Part of that accounting is putting in the effort to truly understand the power and limitations of your technology and technical team.
Over a 72 hr period, we will liaise with your business and engineering principals, conduct code reviews, and interview technical talent at each level of the hierarchy. The goal is not to determine whether the code is “good or bad.” We’re here to add unique information to the strategic picture and help you plan for the future.
1. Org analysis
A useful tech audit starts with a thorough understanding of where engineering fits into the organization, and what that organization’s goals are. After going through an org chart with the CEO, we meet with the CTO to understand their philosophy on hiring, managing, and driving results from smart creatives. We collaboratively build a schedule, picking the key individual collaborators to interview and setting common-sense boundaries on code review. This process builds trust and reveals deeper learnings than the typical adversarial approach.
2. Code review
Tech audits often frustrate teams because the wrong talent is used. We don’t throw full stack generalists or junior talent at audits. All Brandt tech audits are executed by a CTO-quality engineer hand-picked for the tech stack they’ll be encountering. Code review encompasses .git contributions, server side setup, application development, and documentation. We meet with engineers from every stratum of the organization to learn about their experience at the company, and deduce useful data on recruiting and people development. We repeat the process in multiple silos to disambiguate our data and build a picture of what it’s like to develop software inside this organization.
Much of the value of any tech audit comes from placing it in the context of the goals of the organization rather than simply labeling the code “good” or “bad.” For example: is your mental model of the technical talent and assets in your organization correct? Is your roadmap/timeline feasible given the condition of the code and current product team? If you attract investment, can new hires be made to accelerate development? Or would the code be impossible for outsiders to work on in the near term due to lack of proper commenting and documentation? Are your beliefs in agile process being reflected in the way your team operates day-to-day?
"Jourdan provided invaluable help with our pitch deck + coaching that led to a $2mm seed. Whether it's help hiring or managing cash, his advice is bizarrely helpful!"
Kelly Peeler, CEO of NextGenVest | $2M Series Seed- Acquired by CommonBond
"Brandt & Co. have provided significant assistance, guidance, and tangible help for us at our early stage startup. We will be lucky to have them advising us as we scale. Jourdan is extremely competent, intelligent, and knows how to leverage his experience and extensive network to help his clients."