Mike Slinn, Distinguished Engineer, internationally recognized software expert and founder of Micronautics Research, has performed technology due diligence for investors since 1985. Mike provides technical due diligence assessments of software development organizations and individuals, including processes, technology, and leads code reviews. Mike has years of experience evaluating projects and teams, and is a well-known Scala mentor. Mike often collaborates with others when performing an evaluation.

For more information or to engage us, contact us at +1-650-678-2285 or by email. We are based in Silicon Valley, but offer this service world-wide, via video conferencing and in-person, on site.

At the Santa Clara Global Big Data Conference

Coming in August 28-30, 2018: Learn how blockchain infrastructure companies are evaluated by an expert for potential investors. In this presentation, Mike Slinn will explain the scoring system that he uses when writing an assessment report, and how it applies to blockchain-related technology companies. This presentation will be of interest to investors and employee companies that develop software related to blockchain.

Quick Sanity Check

If you are thinking of investing $10,000 USD or more in a blockchain-related project, but you are concerned if it is real, this service might be of interest.

For individuals and small businesses that are interested in a small investment in an open-source project, we offer a quick, inexpensive sanity check. The other assessments we do cost more and take longer, but provide more information. This quick sanity check merely attempts to answer the question: "Is this project real?"

To answer that question we look at the published open source code, often found on GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket. We examine the git history logs and look at the code, then opine on whether this seems like a real project or a scam, and whether the project is actively being worked on. For this service we report back every day with our findings. In this way, clients control the budget one day at a time.

Technical Due Diligence Assessments

Our work generally focuses on assessing the technical team and their work, as well as their interfaces with other teams such as marketing, sales and senior management. For an assessment we do not perform original research, we merely report on the company as we find it. For example, we ask product managers about their understanding of their competitive landscape by requesting their market research and then asking questions about product positioning and product roadmap. As another example, we ask about penetration tests (how has security been tested?) We sometimes make recommendations for change during a follow-on assignment.

In our written report, we can address the questions that investors typically have, including:

  • Can the engineering team consistently deliver quality results on time and on budget?
  • Is the product team able to address the market effectively?
  • Can the sales team connect with customers?
  • Is the entire management team effective?

Clients can request the assessment scope appropriate for their needs, and pose questions for us to address. Costs vary accordingly. We offer the following assessments of technology, processes and people.

Technology

  • Source code, including build scripts, test suites and benchmarks.
  • Failure mode analysis.
  • Diagrams (architecture, org charts)
  • Lists (code library licenses, release dates, support tickets, equipment inventories)
  • Certifications (SOC II, HIPAA compliance, PCI)
  • Spreadsheets (budgets, historical spend)
  • Patents and trade secrets
  • Demonstrations; if there are multiple customer personas, I ask for demos on them all.

Processes

  • Methodology (Scrum, Kanban, pair programming, code reviews, etc.)
  • Coding standards
  • Deployment automation
  • Production monitoring
  • Security policies
  • Product management
  • Messaging
  • Road map
  • User stories

People

Depending on the assignment, we might examine everyone's role in the company, or our review might be restricted to the technologists. We interview everyone within the purview of the assignment, take photographs, get an up-to-date copy of their resume, and ask for individual roadmaps, when available. An individual roadmap is a document that outlines each person's responsibilities, strengths, weaknesses, and metrics used to measure their success.

Next Steps

We could give an indication of price once scope is defined. For best results we should meet everyone in person, so travel should be budgeted for. Please let us know what the timeframe might be.

Scala Effectiveness Assessment

More, Better, Faster, Cheaper Results From Your Scala Programmers

In just 5 days we can tell you:

  • Is your software engineering group using Scala effectively?
  • Is your group suffering from any of the most common pitfalls for Scala-based development teams?
  • Are your brilliant young developers stumbling into unrecognized or underestimated problems?
  • Suggestions for your technical strategy for the F/OSS world that Scala comes from.

For the first 4 days after signing an NDA we will assess your code; this won't take appreciable time from your staff. Our written report, delivered at the end of the 4th day, will include:

  • Summary of findings from our code review.
  • References to specific code and suggestions for alternative approaches as appropriate.
  • Resources and recommendations to address specific issues found.

On the fifth day we normally lead a group review of our findings, and discuss options for improvement. Discussions can include such topics as design, development, testing, deployment, and technical strategy.

We can also review processes internal to engineering, and between engineering and other departments such as product management if desired. Followup mentoring is available.

We have been teaching Scala in person and online via our ScalaCourses.com site for five years, and have performed technology assessments since 1985. We have helped many individuals and organizations use Scala and related technology effectively. We focus on people, processes and technology. Our engineering expertise, developed over many decades, is not confined to Scala, or even software development, but includes distributed systems theory and practice, artificial intelligence, effective engineering practices, technical strategy, product management and technical marketing.

“You Moved Us Forward 8 Months!”

The VP Engineering of a startup, who oversees 20 programmers, had this to say at the end of the final day of a Scala Effectiveness Assessment: “You moved us forward 8 months!” Imagine your entire engineering department being relieved of many months of learning through mistakes. Can you afford to miss out on the benefits of our Scala Effectiveness Assessment?

Preparing for Investment or Sale

Need help with building a winning technical team, establishing just the right amount of process, or streamlining the technical architecture and roadmap?

Mike Slinn has helped prepare technology businesses for sale for twenty years. Notable successes include sales to IBM, Microsoft, AltaVista (itself purchased by Yahoo!), and NBC Interactive, and investments by wealthy individuals and VCs.

Starting from a funded initial assessment, Mike discusses his findings, and negotiates options for moving forward. Mike can act as an advisor, interim CTO, or interim VP Engineering.