In mid-2016, Darren Burrowes, CEO of the BlueZone Group, engaged us, NewieVentures, to take on the final stages of product development for a pipeline leakage detection device.
Darren had met our Head of Technology, Heath Raftery, through the eighteen04 co-working space, where we have been based since we were founded in September 2015.
“(Heath) was quite capable of working out what he needed to do, but he also knew that he had to get someone to agree to it.”
The BlueZone Group specialises in underwater technology - their work spans a variety of fields, from oceanography to water utility services. Having such a diverse portfolio of projects and clients has made for a strong business model - where ongoing management of priorities has been integral to the company’s success.
“We really needed a dedicated resource to finish the project - there had been a lot of stop-start with R&D and getting the funding, as well as staying on top of the other work that pays the bills,” explains Elizabeth Karpiel, BlueZone’s General Manager of Operations. “We’re always balancing priorities, capabilities and skills, and we needed someone we could dedicate to the project.”
Taking the plunge
This decision to bring us in as a dedicated resource did initially come with some apprehension - the BlueZone Group wanted to ensure that the knowledge was retained within the company. They were unsure of what the best approach would be in terms of thorough handover once the project was ready to be brought back in house.
“That was the main risk - but it was a very easy conversation to have with Heath. He suggested that we ‘wean’ ourselves off him when the time came. We worked it so he’d eventually drop down to two days a week, then one,” said Karpiel.
One of the most difficult aspects of handover - and with in-house management - of electrical engineering projects is the documentation of software. “Some engineers don’t realise what they might need to share with other people,” describes Karpiel. “But if you’ve got someone writing quality code, then anyone can come along and check and read it later. Heath was very good at sharing and explaining things.”
Communication is key
Of course, effective communication is vital of every aspect of business, not just during handovers. Before commencing work with BlueZone, as with all of our projects, we ensured we knew just what the client needed, and that they understood what we would be able to provide.
“One of the great things about Heath was that when he came on, he was able to just sit down and read everything, come back with a load of questions, then write a really clear scope of he thought needed to be done - and then we just let him go,” explains Karpiel. “He was quite capable of working out what he needed to do, but he also knew that he had to get someone to agree to it.”
“Heath was like part of the family while he was here!”
We moved on-site for the duration of the build and the SewerSerpent225 was successfully launched in November 2016, and of course we were there to celebrate, cake and all.
“It was a very cost effective solution to get someone on board who was so capable. I think it all went great, we’d definitely go through NewieVentures again - we're a repeat customer for sure.”