CabForward is a web and mobile application design, development, and training company located in sunny Austin, Texas. We specialize in rugged, user-driven design, test-driven development, and pristine code. We are trusted by startups and enterprises because of our core expertise in developing rugged high-performance web and mobile applications that are secure, flexible and highly available. Our agile approach to highly collaborative development and continuous delivery makes future expansion and improvements of the application simpler, enabling our customers to respond rapidly to market changes.
Lance Vaughn, more than anything else, is passionate for perfect engagements; the magic that happens when our diverse and experienced team meets with a client who is driven by a product vision. When done right, this can be something more than just a good experience, productive, and immensely rewarding. With over twenty years of technology consulting experience, Lance personally vouches for our team and our approach. Leveraging the power of open source software and a boundless enthusiasm for the possible, anything can happen.
“Our primary goal for CabForward is to serve as a resource to our community. We bring developers, businesses, and education together in a unique style of engagement. Everyone wins.” – Lance Vaughn
The term “Cab Forward” comes from the way we think about the application development process, and how it relates to a discovery made by railroad engineers in the eighteen hundreds. They realized that by turning their locomotives around — placing the cab on the front, and smoke stack on the back — they could not only see better and breathe easier, but it was more efficient. Chrysler again popularized the term in the nineteen eighties with their cab forward vehicle designs, which increased driver comfort, visibility, and control.
We like these ideas, and think they can be applied in web application development. At CabForward, our philosophy is to apply this design concept to the way we approach our projects and software development. We place you, the customer, in the driver’s seat and as close to the “front” of the project as possible, where you have maximum visibility and control. We Build While You Drive.
CabForward’s philosophy captures the same forward-thinking principles as agile and lean software development: individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; responding to change over following a plan. This is the agile manifesto and it defines everything we do. It’s the way startups succeed, and it’s the Rails way.
We value face time and instant communication, so we make every effort to be available for chats and discussions when our clients need it.
Our software engineers and architecture designers work from home (or their favorite coffee shop) three days a week. We then come together at a co-working hub for tech professionals, and use this time to present evolving technology and our open source efforts. It gives every one of our developers a chance to meet, work, and learn from one another. At our development centers we are able to grow flexibly and maximize exposure of the CabForward brand and philosophy.
We have set up our development centers so that our clients can work at the same cluster of desks as our teams if they desire. Nothing beats in-person communication, and also helps facilitate pair programming.
We also offer an unique on-site program that allows our customers to leverage the experience of a senior software engineer while bringing a junior engineer up to speed on their product, team, and processes. As the junior engineer’s product knowledge and skills grow, the mentor will turn over more responsibility, while always being remotely available for support. This reduces the cost to the client of a senior level engineer, when much of the coding can be done by a less expensive junior engineer.
We envision being much like a teaching hospital, letting junior engineers work alongside some of our rock star coders to develop their knowledge and capabilities. We also support and help fund the LoneStarRuby Foundation to help them provide training programs, such as “Zero to Rails 3″ and Backbone.js which are designed to help additional software engineers in the community develop their skills by expanding into the Ruby on Rails ecosystem.
We have several audiences, ranging from startups to enterprise entrepreneurs, new and existing applications, and the development community (which we tend to nurture and develop so we can expand the pool of skilled programming engineers in the community).
The leadership team is structured to manage and develop various aspects of our business, ranging from Daily Operations, Product Development, Customer Development, Lean Processes, to Training Programs. Each leader is selected for their experience, knowledge, and leadership. On average, our leadership team holds 18 years of experience in their fields, and collectively produced work for 29 of the Fortune 500 companies in 2012.
The team collaborates on a continual basis using Skype in a dedicated Leadership thread, and holds a variety of weekly meetings where they can collaborate, review, plan, and hold each other accountable. These meetings operate on an agenda, covering the vast number of topics the team manages, and helps steer the company’s direction, pivoting when necessary.
Our projects vary widely in scope, ranging from modest mobile and web applications, to very complex Facebook and enterprise systems. We are always striving to achieve the highest quality in each of our deliverables, and like to keep our clients involved in the development process all along the way. That way, there are no unpleasant surprises.
Some of our clients are huge enterprises. Some are on their way to becoming huge. But, most of our clients do not have a big marketing budget, or market experience, so we work at their speed. We plan each project sprint to achieve a minimum viable product, which can then be tested in the marketplace, and enhanced with the next development sprint. We require a retainer deposit to fund the sprint, which allows us to throw ourselves into the work. When we use up those funds, we wait until the client is ready to proceed with the next iteration.
Our Enterprise Clients
We also do large projects for enterprise clients where we place Specialty Teams. Within the largest organizations, small groups are occasionally allowed to work quickly on projects that are assimilated into the larger project. This process is sometimes referred to as Skunkworks, and we often find our Special Projects Teams working as one part of a larger development team, all working on various components of a project that needs input from a variety of special groups. We have a lot of experience working with creative, strategic, and digital agencies who need an experienced strategic partner to create and deploy the application.
We have lofty goals, and hold ourselves to high standards. While CabForward is a relatively young company, we’ve been working in software development since 1981. Our first programming machines were the TI 99 4/A and the KayPro portable. (You can see these in museums today).
We’ve seen dozens of programming languages come and go over the years. We’ve seen the old Project Management process replaced by a newer, faster, cheaper, lean and agile application development methodology. We embrace Lean and Agile processes, and leverage our software development backgrounds to deliver excellent applications for our customers.
Our Lessons Learned
Starting a business is hard. We know, because we’ve been there. We’ve learned some hard lessons, too. Even though our company achieved a million dollars in sales in its first year, it was not easy to get there. In fact, we failed our very first client. We just weren’t ready. We knew what we wanted our business to look like, had the best of intentions, but we simply didn’t have the right combination of checks and balances in place.
We tried a number of software applications for sales tracking, project management, and client reporting, before we found the right mix. And, it took a lot of hands on work to make our system shape up and perform adequately. You’ll find many of our experiences, and recommendations, included in our free Startup Handbook. We share details with the hope they will help you avoid many of the difficulties we experienced.
Doesn’t that sound like the type company you would like working for you? Call our team at 512/693-4142 for more details, or, contact us here.
We work very closely with our clients to ensure they maximize the effectiveness of their web or mobile presence through a variety of proven processes and techniques. Beyond the buzzword of Lean, for CabForward that means injecting learning into everything we do. Our classic Discovery Sessions have helped many companies save thousands of dollars in project overruns and funding delays.
Our agile approach to customer-involved development, and continuous integration quality control, makes future expansion and improvements of the application easier and quicker. We can give you continuous progress reports through our project management software. This increases your visibility and control. Since CabForward bills for time and materials for software development, it provides the project owner with the ability to set the pace and budget for the engagement.
Why do we build rugged software? Because bad software is terribly wasteful. It wastes time and money. Software should be highly scalable, highly available and highly secure. It should proactively scale to demand and defend itself against attack. If your app is down, you’re losing business. And losing business is never good business. More About Rugged.
CabForward builds rich internet applications to achieve greater scalability and availability that our customers expect. CabForward adheres to an agile development methodology and executes projects with a focus on rapid application development to deliver high quality web applications with more powerful features than ever before.
Our research and development is focused on the new software and architecture landscape that open source provides. As a result, we always develop in the latest version of Rails. Our deep expertise in developing on-demand software solutions leveraging the best open source technologies enables us to deliver high quality web apps on your schedule and within your budget.
Why Ruby on Rails?
Both Ruby (the language) and Rails (the framework) are open source this means that when we use them to create an application for you, we are standing on the backs of giants. Millions of development and testing hours have been invested to make this platform the best web development platform in the world.
Ruby on Rails was designed for building web applications and is therefore not constrained by the compromises that limit most languages and frameworks. Rails doesn’t try to be the best tool for every job, just the best at building web applications or web server APIs. Most business or mobile apps have a web server backend, so the importance of Rails continues to grow.
THE CABFORWARD TEAM
Lance Vaughn, Founder & CEO, Rails Developer
Lance is an award-winning technology professional with over twenty years of consulting experience. Lance has worked with computers since 1981 and built his first website in 1996. CabForward is his dream and quality (rugged) software is his passion. Lance is also the President of the LoneStarRuby Foundation. Connect with Lance on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.
Dave Scassa, COO & DevOps Specialist
Dave helps us with our “stay on vision, stay on track” mission. He is a configuration and release management expert and enjoys serving as a liaison between shareholders and engineering teams. Dave has a background that is both global and broad, while his expertise is being detail oriented and focused. Dave also serves on the Board of Directors for LoneStarRuby. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn.
Stu Carney, Director of Development, iOS Developer
Stu is a consummate professional and world class engineer who came to us after 12.5 years at IBM. Stu keeps our development efforts on track and is, of course, a developer himself. Connect with Stu on LinkedIn.
Larry Vaughn, Director of Training and Foundation Relations
Larry specializes in instructional design, webinar hosting, event coordination and podcast production. With deep experience in content development and training delivery, his skills bring a unique blend of knowledge to our team. Larry really enjoys working with his son, Lance, and helped facilitate the growth of both CabForward and the LoneStarRuby Foundation. Connect with Larry on LinkedIn.
Call us at 512.693.4142 for more insight
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