ImmobilienScout24 is the most popular German internet real estate portal. Around 1.5m advertisements are placed on the site each month. Around 2 billion page clicks a month make it one of the 25 most visited websites in Germany (according to alexa.com). It is worth remembering that IS24 is not only about advertising the sale or rental of real estate; our client also supports users in such areas as: moving house, building and managing property, energy certification, loans, financial credit ratings and many other services.
We have been working with ImmobilienScout24 since 2013 and have two dedicated internal teams. Our work is mainly related to the delivery of new functionalities for the client platform. Since the beginning of our cooperation, we have implemented numerous solutions within a various business branches and have made use of a wide range of technologies. Our cooperation is absolutely dependant on an Agile methodology, meaning that working as if we were a start up is not alien to us. Each team has a dedicated Product Owner who visits the client each 3 weeks. The aim of such visits is to present the results of the previous project iteration and plan future tasks.
Each new project starts with the creation, in cooperation with the client, of a minimum viable product). This phase usually lasts between 3 and 4 months. If the expected business results are accomplished, the product is developed further. We work in a DevOps environment utilising Continuous Development and Feature Toggles. Within an hour we are able to fully automate and deliver changes to the product environment in keeping with all required tests, as well as going through the staging environment.
It was in this way that we created a service through which the financial trustworthiness of potential tenants could be confirmed. A regular problem for service users was gaining papers confirming regular payments to a previous property owner, as the regulations regarding contacts with such parties are complicated and time-consuming. We therefore created an application which integrates with banking systems (in accordance with the HBCI standard) and identifies transactions made as rental payments. The report generated is then proof of the financial reliability of the new tenant. In such cases, the challenge is to ensure the protection of user data; that is why all operations are undertaken “in the air” and banking transactions are not saved in the system.
It is worth mentioning that work with the client takes place under the key rules of partnership and dialogue; we are invited to team building events and take part in training courses on subjects like data security.
IS24 strongly supports an environment promoting development and experimentation. The metrics introduced by the teams serve as a basis for learning and for improving our capabilities, not as a measure of our efficiency or as an appraisal.
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