Tekton Labs Certified ACE Partner Profile

On-Site Assessment Report

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1. Introduction

Accelerance is happy to introduce you to Tekton Labs, located in Lima, Peru for your outsourced software development needs. Tekton Labs is an Accelerance ACE partner, meaning we have visited and assessed their operations in Peru and certified their software development expertise. This ACE partner on-site assessment report is a written description of that visit by Alex Gilbert, Account Executive at Accelerance, in September 2017. Accelerance also assessed Tekton Lab's onsite in Lima in 2016, 2014 and 2012. Since 2012, they have successfully delivered custom software results for more than 20 Accelerance clients. This report includes images and links to videos you can follow to learn more about Tekton Labs and the results of our assessment. 

The Accelerance Assessment Process

All Accelerance Partners are carefully evaluated and have their references checked before being accepted into the Accelerance Global Partner Network. Some partners choose to go through an additional, deeper assessment by having Accelerance visit their software development operations; undergoing this assessment enables them to be an Accelerance ACE Partner. 

The goal is not for Accelerance to favor one partner over another. We use the designation Preferred Partner because clients tell us they prefer to work with a partner that they can easily get to know, learn about and trust. The Accelerance on site assessment and this profile report enable you to select this partner recommended by Accelerance with complete confidence. And if you decide to visit the partner yourself before making a final selection then you will know what to expect, who you will meet and what to look for when you make the trip. 

2. Partner Introduction and Leadership

Tekton Labs is an expert in web and mobile development. They are on the cutting edge of up and coming technologies and have quickly become experts in IoT and AI. They are a fully Agile shop, doing work in Enterprise and Mobile applications, with expertise in AWS, AngularJS, PHP (Laravel), Javascript, HTML5, MySQL, RoR, RESTful API’s, and native iOS and Android development, to name just a few.

Their strong U.S. presence in Charlotte, NC, and Sunnyvale, CA makes collaboration with U.S. clients easy and positive.

IMG_1283-1.jpgTekton Labs prefers to partner with organizations that align with them culturally and strategically. Clients receive top of the line work because of Tekton’s investment in their projects.

Tekton Lab's unique abilities and experience enable them to work with a wide array of organizations and companies ranging from startups to the enterprise space.

Because Lima is located in the Central Time Zone, it makes them a great fit for U.S. organizations, from either coast, who want to collaborate during a typical work day/week. For European-based clients, they can easily support a partial day overlap.  

In addition to being in a similar time zone, clients also have a U.S. based point of contact while still benefitting from Latin American pricing.

Tekton Labs puts great emphasis on cultural and strategic fit with their clients. When you work with Tekton Labs it truly feels like an extension of your internal team. When combined with their exceptional development experience and accomplished leadership team it makes for a true dream team.

 

Executive Team & Contacts

The people at Tekton Labs that you are likely to interact with include:

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Kenneth Lopez Founder & CEO

 

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Alfredo Fuentes CTO

 

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Maria "Mapi" Gamarra Chief of Continuous Improvement

 

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Christian Dammert Human Resources Manager

 

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Carlos Laos Head of Project Management

3. Location

Tekton Labs' development center is located in Líma, Peru. The advantages of this location include a compatible time zone, stable economy, and an excellent talent pool.

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Travel

My direct flight from Miami, Florida to Lima, Peru took 5 hours. The flight went by so quickly it didn’t feel like international travel. There are daily flights to Lima from most major U.S. cities. A visa or special vaccinations are not required for North Americans or Canadians traveling to Lima.

IMG_1333-1.jpgIt was a pleasant surprise to discover how easy it was to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Lima has an official taxi service at the airport where I was able to speak English to the front desk attendant. I prepaid at the counter, and the attendant made sure to inform me I didn’t have to pay anything to the driver at the end of the trip. I was introduced to the cab driver who took my luggage and walked me to the cab.

Uber is also available in Peru which makes it incredibly easy to get around to places that aren’t within walking distance.

I did some exploring on my own and people were very friendly even when they discovered I didn’t speak Spanish. I would ask “¿Habla usted inglés?” and a number of people spoke enough English to at least be able to communicate with me.

images-14.jpgAlmost all of the restaurants had an English version of the menu and at least one waiter, who spoke some English, helped walk me through some of the menu choices. Any basic Spanish you can learn before your visit (Duolingo is a good resource) will be helpful but it’s certainly not necessary.

A couple of things that are important to note is that a power adapter is not needed because all of the outlets are the same as the U.S., and, when you visit, keep an open mind about food and enjoy some of the amazing cuisine Lima has to offer.

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Lima, specifically the Milaflores section, resembles in some ways Los Angeles: from Santa Monica, south to Marina del Rey. It is a big city, built in a desert, with tall buildings, traffic, shopping, cafes, and nightlife to enjoy. All of this is oriented around the ocean, which defines this exciting city.

IMG_1336.jpgCasa Suyay, a boutique hotel (http://casasuyay.com/) was a good choice for my stay in Lima. The lobby has stone floors and native decorations which gives it an authentic Peruvian feel. The rooms have hardwood floors throughout and a modern flat screen TV mounted on the wall. The only issue is the walls are very thin and you can hear people talking in rooms nearby and many outdoor sounds can also be clearly heard.

There are many excellent guidebooks worth reviewing before your visit; we recommend the following: 

Suggested Excursions

Peru is divided into three sections: the Inca mountains (Machu Picchu), the Amazon, and the desert, where Lima is located. Each region offers remarkable things to experience and enjoy. If possible, allocate additional time to visit some of these amazing attractions:

           Explore the Amazon Rainforest                                    Hike the Colca Canyon

Peru Amazon ToursCactus in the Colca Canyon, Peru

 Surf in Mancora

Sightsee in Lima

Presidential Palace (Palacio de Gobierno)

Visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas

alpacas and llamas, typical fauna from Peru, animals, Sacred Valley

For travel information, hotels, restaurants and shopping, we suggest you visit Trip Advisor. Websites to help make travel arrangements include: Audley TravelKensington ToursPeru for Less.

Cultural & Communication Differences

One of the great things about Peru is the cultural similarities to North America. People are very friendly, and outside of the language differences, it was easy to forget I was in a foreign country at times.

IMG_1329-2.jpgThere are no major cultural differences that need to be considered when working with Tekton Labs. This partner company compensates for cultural differences by having their project managers, lead architects and developers travel to the U.S. for training. There should be few communication challenges as many of the partner’s employees have traveled or worked for a period of time in the U.S. and Peru has a similar culture to the U.S.

American media and culture are widely consumed in Peru. Tekton Labs' employees stay informed about American culture through the Internet, TV and they also use Facebook.

Safety

The U.S. State Department has no active travel alerts or travel warnings at this time for Lima, Peru.

There were no safety concerns. However, local residents suggested keeping your bag on you when traveling in a vehicle because people might try to break a window and grab it quickly if they see it in the backseat.

I felt very safe at the hotel and the area around it and easily walked to and from the office each day with no issues. It was easy to move about the city on foot but taxis and Uber were easily accessible when traveling to spots a bit further away.

IMG_1332-1.jpgAs in most large cities, we noticed police cruising the city in automobiles, motorcycles, and bicycles. There were also police directing traffic in several areas.

 

4. Business Aspects

It was interesting to observe the set processes Tekton Labs has in place when working with clients. They take a deliberate consultative approach to everything they do.

IMG_1289.jpgWhat makes this partner different from most other software outsourcing companies is that they are a community of passionate individuals whose purpose is to revolutionize software design while advocating for a positive social change.

Kenneth Lopez, Tekton Labs' CEO, received an email from a company asking them to build an application. Believing that establishing a strong cultural and strategic relationship is essential for a strong partnership, Kenneth asked the company if they could have a phone call and become acquainted. However, the company refused the invitation and Kenneth decided to turn down the project because of the client’s reluctance to first determine if they would be a good fit for each other.

This partner exhibits world-class skill and capability in Consulting = Discovery Phase. They help clients take an idea and create something concrete in order to launch a product that will provide value to their clients or end users.

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When Tekton Labs starts working with a client on a project and explains to them how they execute the Discovery Phase, the client typically chooses to use Tekton Labs as the main development company. This is an example of client engagement that illustrates their differentiation from others. In addition, they are able to talk with their clients directly without any issue. Products and services are a showcase of their abilities and include their Discovery Phases and Engineering.

The value proposition for this partner is best described as their process, the "Tekton Labs Way". They bring together talented people with excellent communication skills and experience who deliver the best processes and products for their clients.

Size & Organization of Workforce

Tekton Labs has all their programmers at their location in Lima. The general experience level of the programmers (juniors, seniors, etc.) at Tekton Labs is:

  • Junior Programmers – 25
  • Mid Level Programmers – 35
  • Senior Programmers – 25

Programming teams are typically structured as:

  • 14.....iOS.....Native Development (Swift, Objective C)
  • 13.....Android.....Native Development (Android SDK)
  • 8......Front-End.....(PHP-Laravel, Ruby on Rails) angular backbone, react, bootstrap & foundation
  • 9......Back-End.....(PHP-Laravel, Ruby on Rails) express, nodeJS, lumen
  • 4......Api's.....Web Services
  • 5......Architects
  • 9......Product Owners
  • 4......Scrum Masters
  • 4......UX/UI.....UX/UI & Visual Design

Members of programming teams are managed almost 95% by Open Source. It is rare for programming team members to change teams.

Facilities

IMG_1282-3.jpgTekton Labs has great office space that is very open to encourage the collaborative culture they’ve created. Access to Tekton Labs' office is controlled by electronic keys and security at the gate of the building.

A new office was constructed in late 2016 with 400m² of open floor space and six conference rooms. The office is in Lima's financial district where there is nearby access to hotels, beaches, tourist points of interest, shopping and restaurants. 

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5. Human Resources

Recruiting

Tekton Labs finds their employee candidates in several ways:

  1. References from current employees
  2. An internship program
  3. Advertisements
  4. Lectures at universities

IMG_1297-3.jpgTekton Labs' management lectures at local Universities on various topics. Through this process, they can identify talented students and attendees and encourage them to consider applying for employment.

Due to their vibrant office culture, Tekton Labs is able to compete (for top talent) as well as hire programmers from other, larger companies in Lima. The work setting allows for a more fulfilling and rewarding work/life balance, as well as the ability to work on challenging projects with interesting clients.

Tekton Labs has a deep talent pool they’re able to utilize. It normally takes two to six weeks for a new developer to get on-board. This gives their clients the ability to scale flexibly at an economical price point making partnering much more attractive than building an internal team which can be slow, expensive and inflexible.

Tekton Labs has a dedicated staff of recruiters and offers incentives to employees for candidate referrals. The company interviews between 30 – 50 people a month to add to their database and pipeline. 

Programmers are tested to determine if they have the technical skills needed. If a candidate doesn't have the minimal requirements, the company will test to determine if they can learn quickly and pass the tests.download-10.jpg

There are no differences between Bachelors and Masters degrees in Peru compared to North America. None of the partner’s programmers has an advanced degree. You can expect Mid- or Senior Level programmers, according to the vertical or type of project to be assigned to your team.

Tekton Labs uses the following testing processes to screen for the technical abilities of candidates:

  1. First Interview (Filter 20%)
  2. Technical Test (Filter 80%)
  3. Physiological Test (Filter 5%)
  4. One Month Compatibility Period (Filter 2%)

They test for English proficiency during the first interview as well as during the Technical Test. Finally, Tekton Labs tests for communication and teamwork ability during the one-month compatibility period. Clients can participate in the interviewing process if desired.

Training

A Tech Lead conducts training for new programmers as soon as they start. During the ensuing months, new hires receive additional training according to the team needs. They also have online courses and monthly ODC (One Day Courses) that provide insights on new technologies.Tekton Labs also pays for courses in Coursera as well as certified training on Agile techniques.

IMG_7979.jpgThey evaluate all employees’ English language usage and depending on their skill level, assign a teacher to help improve their English. Cultural awareness training includes travel to the U.S. on a regular basis. Employee reviews are performed once each quarter. Management training is provided to senior employees via university or online courses.

Size & Capacity

The workforce at the company is more than 90 with plans to grow to about 150+. They can grow as much as needed; the only constraint is to keep the cash flow secure to avoid financial issues. The maximum number of programmers that the partner can accommodate is 500 for now.

Typically Tekton Labs can hire 8–12 new programmers per month. In previous years their retention/attrition statistics was around 10%.

When employed by Tekton Labs it is very easy for employees to get a visa to visit the U.S. Employees typically stay in North America between one and four weeks when they visit a client.

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6. Technology

Tekton Labs has worked in-depth with successful IoT projects. They also specialize in the Discovery Phase of consulting and requirements gathering — a key value that they provide to clients that other companies don’t. This means that they can talk to a client directly without any hand-holding. Special software development methodologies they use include CI and the suite of Jira to automate as much as possible.

Certifications earned by Tekton Labs include CSM, CSPO, CSP.

Depending on the client, different tools are used to communicate, including Jira, Basecamp, and Trello.

Metrics used to measure programming team performance include User Points and Bugs.  They are currently working on offering automated testing or test-driven development.

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What stood out to Accelerance is their ability to really collaborate with the client, even serving as a de facto CTO. This starts with a deep understanding of the client, its business, and its objectives in engaging a remote partner.

 

7. Conclusion

Tekton Labs doesn’t focus on vertical-specific clients. However, they do have deep expertise within the education, marketing, healthcare, and insurance verticals.

This partner has published the following articles/white papers that positions them as a thought leader: ClutchPR Newswire.

Tekton Labs worked with Stanford University on a research project entitled, "The Power House Energy Game". The game is intended to educate participants about energy use. It teaches them to play the game using the least amount of energy in order to complete specific goals.

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If you're looking for an outsourcing partner with a complete product ideation and development service, from the first idea, through to MVP, then contact Tekton Labs. They take an intentional, consultative approach, to work and help their clients. They’re able to bring valuable knowledge due to their vast experience in several key areas of software development.

Although Tekton Labs is a very open and dynamic company, there is also great focus and professionalism. If you are a client who hires programmers that you expect to be smart, resourceful, and collaborative, Tekton Labs clearly meets those standards.

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