Thursday, June 24, 2010

hCentive and Atlassian JIRA Studio

hCentive has created an innovative health insurance policy comparison engine, and the combination of Google Apps and JIRA Studio has been a critical tool for distributed teams in the US and India to work together and quickly build and iterate their application.


hCentive is in the business of simplifying the complex world of health insurance. Using their health insurance exchange, individuals, families and small businesses can search, compare and buy suitable health insurance online from leading health insurance providers.

Atlassian builds software development tools for teams that want to build and deliver great software fast. JIRA Studio is a hosted software development team that supports every member of the team through every stage of the software development process. It includes source control, issue tracking, agile planning, continuous integration, code review, and wiki features integrated with Google Apps for single sign-on, document sharing, chat, email, and events.

With development teams based in India and the United States, and an aggressive go-to market schedule, hCentive needed tools for communicating and collaborating on software development that were instantly available and hassle-free. Maintaining visibility into the work being done by remote team members was recognized as a critical challenge for any distributed team, especially during fast-paced software development projects. As a start-up company, managing costs was also essential, especially avoiding large capital expenditures during its early stages.

From the start, hCentive has relied on Google Apps and JIRA Studio for communication, collaboration and software development. All the tools needed were provisioned and configured in minutes. With minimal administrative overhead, hCentive has been able to focus on building great software and growing their business.

Single sign-on to JIRA Studio using a Google Apps account has been critical as new developers are continually added to the team and quickly ramped up.

The ability to create software requirements in Google Docs, collaborate in real-time with customers to further define them, and then attach the document to an issue for planning and tracking has been critical. The combination of real-time collaborative editing in Google Docs and asynchronous threaded discussions in JIRA Studio's wiki has allowed the team to overcome timezone differences and work together efficiently.

JIRA Studio's Activity Bar, which provides one click access to issues, builds, code reviews, email, events, documents and chat is a favorite feature of the development team since it saves valuable time of switching between applications for common daily tasks.

JIRA Studio's OpenSocial gadgets, based on an open industry-wide standard, provide visibility into development progress and status, both in JIRA Studio and Gmail.

Using JIRA Studio and Google Apps, hCentive was able to launch their application within months of founding, and has rapidly iterated to incorporate customer feedback. Communication and collaboration challenges faced by other global software start-ups have been non-issues, allowing them to focus on continuing to win new customers and expand their innovative health care exchange to new markets.