Where it all began
The Development Factory formed in Toronto, Canada in 2010, in response to a clear market need: reliable digital production services for marketers and advertisers.
At that time very few brands and agencies staffed their own software engineers and even when they did, they usually had just one or two developers who struggled to keep up with the hectic pace of delivering concurrent projects and the pressure of rapidly changing technologies.
The idea was as simple as the brand name: if you want experienced coders, come to The Development Factory.
How we got from there to here
In our early years we collaborated with award-winning agencies like john st, Saatchi & Saatchi, and BBDO, and delivered memorable and results-driven interactive experiences for major brands like McDonald’s, Best Buy, and 20th Century Fox.
Our partners kept us busy, but the nature of the work left much to be desired.
Most of our projects were campaign-based and therefore, short-lived. We quickly found that the value we placed on architecture, usability, and “clean code” was rarely defendable to our clients, who mostly just wanted it to be good enough (i.e. not break) for a few weeks.
Our first pivot was away from marketers and advertisers toward custom software solutions for small and medium businesses, and a selfishly motivated geographic move from snowy Toronto to sunny Los Angeles.
Over the next couple years we built revenue-generating products and business automation tools for clients in healthcare, compliance consulting, and media. Our business grew exponentially, but we still hadn’t escaped the pains of project-culture.
If our campaign work was plagued by its ephemeral nature, our software engagements were condemned to the limitations of project-thinking. Namely, the misguided perception that every requirement (presently known and future anticipated) can be gathered upfront, designed flawlessly, and built to last.
But if our clients misunderstood the inherently iterative and ongoing nature of product work, wasn’t it our job to help them to understand?
Toward Trust, TaaS, and Transformation
Years ago we published a well-circulated article on a better way to negotiate software contracts.
We flagged the flaws of the “fixed-cost conundrum” and advocated for an approach we had adopted which was tackling project perils head on and transforming the way we engaged with our clients.
We abandoned fixed fees for fluid contracts triangulated around three levers:
- What are the business objectives?
- Which cross-functional roles must we fill?
- How fast do we want to go and for how long?
We called our model Team-as-a-Service (TaaS) and we’ve applied it to help dozens of startups and mature businesses learn to become product-minded.
TaaS is integrated. Outsourced software development is not.
TaaS is an approach that requires trust– you have to share our belief that teams can rally around goals and deliver the work needed to meet those goals, even if the specifics of the work haven’t yet been defined- and learning– you have to embrace the principles of collaboration, iteration, and incremental value delivery, in order to operate and succeed as a product business.
Through TaaS, The Development Factory has helped organizations of all sizes transform their cultures and their delivery processes.
Now, after 11 years, we have exciting news to share:
The Development Factory is now TDF.
What’s in a name?
Since 2009, we have evolved from “the people you call when you need development done right” to trusted technology advisors that lead organizational change and digital transformation with passion and purpose.
As we’ve continued to grow, expanding our service offering beyond TaaS into coaching and investing, we’ve been newly faced with an old obstacle: our own name.
When we started The Development Factory we wanted to be known as “just a dev shop.” But through the years we’ve become so much more, and we now need a name that can continue to evolve with us.
Our name doesn’t change who we are. It’s a step in catching up our brand to match the value we create with our clients and eliminating limiting perceptions of our capabilities.
So who is TDF?
We help businesses achieve performance excellence by systematically and continuously improving their people, processes, and products. Better delivery systems- which we define as how you make your product and how you put it in your customers’ hands- result in better experiences for customers and employees, and happier stakeholders + increased efficiency puts more money back into the company at the top and bottom line.
There are plenty of companies that assist with software development, and lots of consultants that help improve business systems, but our two decades-long product and engineering expertise enables us to both assess the urgent problems and underlying causes that may be slowing your progress and help you implement a prioritized plan for achieving your biggest technology goals.
What This Means For Our Clients
As a current or future client of TDF, you can expect more of the deeply personal service that’s shaped our collaborations through the years, and trust that we’ll always be a founder-led business.
Of course, in the spirit of continuous improvement and feedback loops we welcome and value your input about this transition.
Thanks for the joining us on the journey,
Suzanne and Andrew, Co-Founders