For the past 12 months, we’ve been working with PCYSYS as their lead product design agency.
What’s it like to have that process outsourced? Here’s our perspective:
Wait, what’s PCYSYS? Sounds fishy.
PCYSYS is a four-years-old startup in the Cyber Security space, specialising in Automated Penetration Testing for organisational systems.
What does that mean? Well, in the past, companies would hire professional hackers to try and penetrate their systems, utilising great criminal minds to help improve their defence mechanisms.
Today, PCYSYS enables the same companies to avoid dealing with shady characters and instead use an automated system that is more reliable, and offers a wide range of tests and capabilities.
Their product provides a comprehensive view of all the organisation's assets, highlights vulnerabilities and offers instant solutions. PCYSYS strengthens and immunises organisations over time, which is pretty fantastic if you think about modern threats and risks.
But don’t just take our word for it. Recently, the company completed a $10,000,000 round of fundraising.
So what’s Hexoo’s role in the operation?
PCYSYS came to us when they decided to outsource their product design. The entire Hexoo team operates as an independent unit that owns the product design journey in its entirety. The work is fluid, following PCYSYS’s needs – from continuous efforts to aggressive sprints, and slower processes that move at the pace of incoming feedback.
We do most of the planning and design work with the Product VP and Product Manager. We also ensure that we keep the Development Manager and the Marketing Manager in the loop, so we can stay on brief and judge our deliverables without skipping a beat.
Day-to-day, we work with the dev team, especially the front-end engineers, to test products,determine where tweaks are needed, and find solutions that are rooted in on our existing screens, components and language.
Sounds complicated. What were your main challenges?
Our job is to make life easier on the people using this product by finding the exact solutions (infographics, graphs, maps, animations and indicators display) – in real-time – so they can better understand the data.
We realized quickly that we need to easily present large amounts of data, and highlight the important and meaningful things without losing track of overall trends.
Moreover, the system is required to meet the needs of users from various backgrounds and areas of expertise: from cyber security experts who understand this world well, to control and management personnel, and users who aren’t necessarily "hackers." So we had to account for that, too.
Can you shed some light on your product design methodologies?
Our first axis was to define the concept of PCYSYS’s product. What is it meant to achieve when all is said and done? This is something we worked on during the first few months of the project.
The second axis, which is the main focus of our work, had us developing and adding new modules and capabilities to the system. Here, the work is carried out in short iterations and with almost immediate deliverables, Agile style.
Another ongoing axis involves working with the dev team - from training and testing, to brainstorming.
Above all, we aim to break big programs into small tasks, and synchronize the work between various teams for a seamless process.
Can you work this way with any company?
In our view, PCYSYS is the epitome of the Agile concept. Inherently, agility is expressed by the ability to change quickly and as needed, without losing your general direction.
This allows you to maintain a macro view of the product on one hand, while dealing with subtleties like color and usability on the other. It also allows you to concept and deploy new modules, while improving existing ones, with real-time feedback and on-the-go solutions.
That is to say, any company that is either agile, or open to working together in an agile/scrum format, could benefit from this process.
What are you most proud of in the project?
In a short period of time, we were able to create a flexible concept that supports all existing work processes, and allows future developments to be easily incorporated.
It really all started with defining the design rules for all the system elements (a style guide), making it easier to build modules, pages and components that fit within the product. It gave everyone confidence to create and push the product forward. Front end devs, for example, quickly became comfortable with building new views and columns, moving at their own pace without being dependent on us. That was pretty cool to see.
What’s the future of PCYSYS & Hexoo?
Glad you’ve wondered! We see ourselves as an architectural company, in the sense that we like to crack the DNA of whatever concept we’re working on. That’s why we always click with startups, who are often too busy to tackle these fundamental issues. This approach allows us to produce the infrastructure and set the rules and guidelines for further development and work, which serves these startups for years to come. Our goal is to help PCYSYS implement work methodologies that will serve them over time. After that, we’ll tackle whatever challenge they throw our way!