“Minutes matter” is a core mantra at flyExclusive. The private jet charter provider promises to focus its efforts on efficiency, safety, cost-consciousness, and accuracy to offer a customer-centered experience. Its industriousness and attention to detail has helped it to earn a spot on the Inc 5000 fastest-growing businesses list for 2021. Its also the fourth largest private jet operator in the world. Yet, behind the scenes, developers were stymied by poor communication with their outsourced development partners.

“We were looking for someone that was capable of handling the workload and the type of work we wanted to do, and at the speed we wanted to do it,” said David Ivy, SVP of Engineering at flyExclusive

David Ivy
SVP of Engineering at flyExclusive

SVP of Engineering David Ivy decided he was going to need to hire internal people to meet flyExclusive’s development needs. But in the meantime, he’d need a stopgap solution. The search for a next outsourced development provider led flyExclusive to Dualboot. That’s when the company’s customer-facing app project really took off.

The opportunity

The development team at flyExclusive wanted to ramp up soon. Yet, communication with the incumbent outsourced development team was a problem, Ivy said.

Having to work through a middleman was a nightmare, said Catie King, flyExclusive Head of Product. “Everything got lost in translation.” It added work. Plus, there was little candor about what was being done or when it could be expected. “The other team could not keep the promises they made.”

Yet flyExclusive was on a deadline. The company was building a customer-facing mobile app using Agile methodology. But milestones were not being met. Backlog was building up. Feedback loops were frustrating.

When Dualboot joined forces with flyExclusive, they onboarded as if internal to the development team. Yes, there is a contact person at Dualboot, but the developers are also directly involved in the sprints and retrospectives.

“Dualboot’s developers behave as if they are in-house developers,” said Catie King, Head of Product, flyExclusive. “They care deeply.”

Catie King
Head of Product, flyExclusive

The solution

Incorporating Dualboot’s experts with flyExclusive’s internal talent changed the charter jet company’s view of external partners. “They are not a third-party developer listening to us when they feel like it,” Ivy said. “It’s like we added three developers to our team.”

King added, “it’s been a delightful surprise working with them. We didn’t think it would be possible to have such a fruitful relationship.”

Cory Bullock describes it as a more collaborative environment with very positive results. The flyExclusive Product Manager meets with the developers to scope out the work and get input on the cards and milestones. He also has a weekly meeting with Dualboot’s Product Director to check how things are going and provide and gather feedback.

The biggest change, King said, is the communication. “We’ve cut the feedback loops to be as short and direct as possible, which has allowed us to iterate a lot faster.”

Working with Dualboot allowed flyExclusive to generalize a lot more of its development, which helped the project pick up speed. King said if they hadn’t moved to Dualboot, flyExclusive “would not have had the same velocity of work. All of our milestones would have been three to six months later, and that’s conservatively.”

The impact

The original intent was to hire more in-house employees. That plan is on hold. Now, with the partnership flourishing, flyExclusive has been able to focus on other objectives knowing that the mobile side is covered.

Not only is the customer-facing mobile app up and live, but the Dualboot developers have also helped to develop an internal app with the company’s Standard Operating Procedures. While the apps were originally seen as “nice to have” and ancillary to the company’s objectives, their value is now evident. That gives Ivy’s internal people more runway to work with.

The internal team is able to trust the work Dualboot does and focus its attention on reinventing the company and how the company’s operational systems work. “They have been an amazing partner,” King said. “They’ve allowed our administrative team to focus on the backend, that is really going to propel us to different levels.”

“Dualboot has shown me it is possible to have an external team that cares as much as our in-house team.”

Catie King
Head of Product, flyExclusive