CabForward Business Philosophy

CabForward LogoCabForward℠ is a web and mobile software application design, development, and training company located in sunny Austin, Texas. We specialize in test-driven development, user-driven design and pristine code. Startups trust CabForward because of our core expertise in developing rugged high-performance software applications that secure flexible, highly available, and highly scalable applications for our clients. Our agile approach to customer-involved development and continuous integration quality control makes future expansion and improvements of the application easier and quicker, enabling you to respond rapidly to market changes.

Our Founder
Lance VaughnLance Vaughn, more than anything else, is passionate for perfect engagements — the magic that happens when our diverse and experienced team meets with a client who is driven by a product vision. When done right, this can be something more than just a good experience, productive, and immensely rewarding. With over twenty years of technology consulting experience, Lance personally vouches for our team and our approach. Leveraging the power of open source software and a boundless enthusiasm for the possible, anything can happen.

“Our primary goal for CabForward is to serve as a resource to our community. We bring developers and businesses together in a unique style of engagement where everyone wins.” – Lance Vaughn

Our Philosophy
The term “Cab-Forward” comes from Lance’s vision about the application development process, and how he wanted to give the customer visibility and control, something that was missing in the waterfall software development model. He sought a better method, and discovered the core of the idea in the way it relates to a discovery made by railroads in the 1800s. Engineers realized that by turning their locomotives around — placing the cab on the front, and smoke stack on the back — they could not only see better and breathe easier, but it was more efficient in many ways. Chrysler again popularized the term cab-forward in the 1980’s with their cab forward vehicle designs, which increased driver comfort, visibility, and control.

This approach also captures the forward-thinking principles of Agile and Lean manufacturing: individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; responding to change over following a plan. This is the agile manifesto and it defines everything we do. It’s the way start ups succeed, and it’s the CabForward℠ way.

Lance liked these concepts, and shaped them into our agile and lean web application development approach. At CabForward, our philosophy is to apply this design concept to the way we approach our projects and software development. We place you, our customer, in the driver’s seat and as close to the “front” of the project as possible, where you have maximum visibility and control. You steer. You tell us when to speed up or slow down. You have control. We Build While You Drive.

CabForward TraitsOur Core Values
Our work and best-of-practice exchange is based on mutual respect and trust. We co-operate across boundaries and disciplines. Team trust and talent are our keywords. Our integrity leads to better work, a better life, and to a sustainable future. We are honest and fair partners to our stakeholders at all times. Promoting fairness, diversity and equality is our corporate legacy.



Our Approach
Our software engineers and designers work from home (or their favorite coffee shop) three days a week. We then come together at our development centers in Austin two days a week for stand ups, pair programming, and team meetings. This practice gives every one of our developers a chance to meet, work, and learn from one another.

Our Customer Focus
Our expertise lies in customizing solutions and connecting the right talent with our customers. We are committed to building long-term partnerships with our colleagues, associates and clients. Our commitment is to lead through enterprise and innovation. We promote initiative in decision-making and encourage creative solutions. Going the extra mile is our ambition.

Our Vision
We envision enabling junior engineers to work alongside some of our rock star coders to help them develop their knowledge and capabilities, so they can become rock stars as well. Through this vision we can help grow the available talent pool in the Ruby, Rails, and other software ecosystems.

Our Audiences
We have several audiences, ranging from: startups to enterprise entrepreneurs, new and existing applications, and the development community itself. Each of our audiences has unique needs, and we work closely with them in each engagement to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Our Leaders
Our leadership team is structured to manage and develop various aspects of our business, ranging from Daily Operations and Product Development to Project Management and Customer Development. Each leader is selected for their vast experience, knowledge and leadership. On average, our leadership team has eighteen years of experience in their fields, and produced work for 29 of the Fortune 500 companies in 2012.

Client Collage

Our Projects
Our projects vary widely in scope, ranging from mobile and web applications, to Facebook and enterprise systems. We are always striving to achieve the highest quality in each of our deliverables, and like to keep our clients involved in the development process all along the way. That way, there are no unpleasant surprises.

Most of our clients do not have a big marketing budget, so we work at their budgeted speed. We plan each project sprint to achieve a minimum viable product, which can then be tested in the marketplace, and enhanced with the next development sprint. We require a retainer deposit to fund each sprint, which allows us to throw ourselves into the work. When we use up those funds, we wait until the client is ready to proceed with the next sprint.

Our Enterprise Clients
We also do much larger projects for enterprise clients. Within the largest organizations, small groups are occasionally allowed to work quickly on projects that are assimilated into the larger enterprise slowly. CabForward builds that software, sometimes referred to as Skunkworks. Outside of those projects we work with creative and strategic agencies seeking an experienced partner to manage the application and software development.

Our Goals
We have lofty goals, and hold ourselves to high standards. While CabForward℠ is a relatively young Austin company, we’ve been working in software development since 1981. Our first programming machines were the TI 99 4/A and the KayPro portable. (You can see these in museums today). We’ve seen dozens of programming languages come and go over the years. We’ve seen the old Project Management process replaced by a newer, faster, cheaper, lean and agile application development methodology. We embrace Lean and Agile processes, and leverage our software development backgrounds to deliver excellent applications for our customers.

Our Craft
We primarily use Ruby on Rails to develop our solutions. Of course, Javascript (preferably jQuery) libraries often find their way into our solutions on an as needed basis. Cucumber, RSpec, Git, Engine Yard, Heroku, Unfuddle, Refinery . . . these are all tools we employ to develop outstanding applications that provide state of the art User Interfaces to improve the overall User Experience. And, of course, we are heavily involved in development of iOS solutions for entrepreneurs with ideas for the next great app.

Our Manifesto
We are agile. We build incremental improvements and get feedback from our customers. We promise our customers maximum visibility and maximum control. This requires intense collaboration and partnering with our team members and our customers. This is the most important thing we do!

  • We are rugged. We build quality software that doesn’t break when the wind blows.
  • We write code that scales. We commit early and often.
  • We are pragmatic. We write code with operations in mind and we recognize that we probably care more about beautiful code that our customers do.
  • We are collaborative, communicative, honest, humble and transparent. We recognize that everyone on our team has different skills, strengths and experiences.
  • We ask for help when we get stuck and we are happy to help and learn from one another.
  • We are honest about our strengths, our weaknesses, and our time reporting.
  • We embrace learning and sharing. We document and share our mistakes and successes.
  • We are consultants. Our mission is to help our customers succeed, not to be the smartest or most popular kid in school.
  • We work with our customers to define success for each engagement and then strive to achieve that success.
  • We embrace change. Our code, gems, services, providers, devices, standards, social networks… Everything changes.
  • We stay current on technology and trends even though they keep changing, because we are passionate about doing things the best way possible.
  • We empower our customers by removing business and technology constraints, thereby giving our customers a strategic advantage.
  • We are enablers. We enable startups. We enable innovation. We enable disruption.

More about CabForward℠:
How We Chose Our Name
Origin of the Term Cab Forward
How We Are Rugged
Understanding Global TIDE
Our Playbook