One of the earliest tools they developed was a game called Map Attack, a sort of real-life Pac Man. Competing teams run to specific points on a grid. Map Attack overlays both the points and the grid on Google Maps so teams can observe each other's progress. At the end of the time period, the team with the most points wins.
Having heard that story and watching a demo video, it was time to ask how Case and Parecki built the system.
Software Development at GeoLoqi: No Project Managers
Aaron Parecki heads the technical team at GeoLoqi.
Parecki had built all of one iPhone application when he and Case got started-but he had been a working programmer with system administrator skills for about 10 years. Parecki explains that GeoLoqi is small, light, fast and aims to keep it that way.
"We don't follow a formal process. It's a little more relaxed than that. Instead, everyone owns a piece of the system, be it Android, iPhone, servers or the Web," he says, adding that the company has different products-the SDKs for each platform, the Web API and so on-each with their own release cycle. "We have enough overlap to share ideas, but each person owns something."
The company's own website is the largest consumer of its API, Parecki says. When programmers want to add a feature to the website, they need to add the feature to the API. This creates a virtuous cycle of features that the company itself will actually use, not marketing-ware. It also forces the company to "drink its own champagne," as Parecki put it.
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With half a dozen highly motivated people in the technical staff, Parecki manages mostly through high-level goals and a weekly team status meeting that feels more like a long standup meeting. The team manages handoffs through IMs on an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel and uses an IRC bot that notifies team members when a commit is added to version control. Individual contributors, not project managers, take a project, define the scope and coordinate with the rest of the team to get things done.
This leaves one question: With so many moving parts, how does GeoLoqi handle regression testing?
To answer that, Parecki introduces me to Kyle Drake, the company's first hire and lead tester and automator.
Testing Geolocation: Part Software Tests, Part Smartphones in a Backpack