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The QA King! Ben Wilson Built Rivers Agile to Lead the Way in Software Development and Quality Assurance

Launched in 2008 as a quality assurance and software testing consulting firm, Rivers Agile addressed a lack of first-rate quality assurance services in the region. With decades of hands-on experience in the entire product lifecycle, Rivers Agile’s team has evolved to offer solutions around a customer’s vision – from defining a new piece of software to refining an existing app or website. The company’s foundation in quality assurance consulting enables it to drive maximum efficiencies in the agile software development process, according to Founder Ben Wilson. TEQ wanted to learn more about the company, its decade in business and some of the latest trends. Here’s what Wilson had to say: TEQ: Congrats on 10 years in business; tell us about the journey. Ben Wilson: When I started this business in 2008, the mission was simple: provide the high-end quality assurance consulting services that were much needed within the Pittsburgh region. While we continued to grow in the following years, the 2014 decision to begin custom software development has proven to be a tremendous accelerant for the growth and prowess of the company. Since then, we’ve matured into an end-to-end software solutions provider, focusing mostly on web and mobile technology. Whether we’re defining a new piece of software or refining an existing application or website, we work with our clients throughout the entire product lifecycle to help them achieve their strategic vision. We foster a shared vision that an investment in craftsmanship, culture, and commitment will create a rewarding experience for our team members and the clients we serve. Our approach to consulting is humble with an expectation of excellence; we raise the standards of what our customers expect and deserve. Today, Rivers Agile’s foundation in quality is very much alive as we continue to offer Quality Assurance consulting services, but also provide both on-site education and assessments to help clients get the most from their investment in QA personnel and tools. TEQ: What’s driving growth at Rivers Agile in 2019? Wilson: Continuing to do what we do best – purposefully crafting software solutions. And by doing this, we create a positive impact within the organizations where we build and test software and we are able to grow our reputation for excellence. Forward-leaning products and services will continue to drive our success as we grow. As true as day one, we will never be complacent, yet remain hungry for more and well respected within the Pittsburgh tech community. TEQ: Tell us more about your approach developing software and apps. Wilson: We live in an app-saturated world and every day hundreds, if not thousands, of apps are launched — many of which will fail to deliver real value. That failure equates to a lot of wasted time, energy, and money. At Rivers Agile, we seek to mitigate that risk for our clients and ensure that they bring their best product ideas to market. Our team emphasizes an approach that balances our client’s business needs with the needs of their end users. In the end, both sides need to recognize and gain value for the product to be successful. TEQ: QA is one of Rivers Agile’s sweet spots and has set the company apart. Fill us in on how you’ve built that into a strength. Wilson: When we launched in 2008, I envisioned a plan to redefine QA’s role within an organization, specifically the role of QA throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC). By involving quality assurance in each phase of a project, we’re able to reduce Dev/QA churn and add a level of consistency to the process. The company’s foundation in quality assurance consulting enables us to drive maximum efficiencies in the agile software development process. Ultimately, this ensures we’re aligning with set business requirements as we don’t just build a piece of software, we partner with our clients to conceptualize and develop real solutions. TEQ: Give us the good and the bad when it comes to building a business in the Pittsburgh region. Wilson: There are numerous drivers of innovation based here in Pittsburgh, starting with the universities, through the incubators and into leaders in Healthcare, AI-based market disruptors, and robotics. This is a point of pride for me as someone who was raised in Pittsburgh and as a member of the tech community. I had a great opportunity to grow and lead early in my career at Print Cafe (now EFI) and worked with some very bright engineers who are now in positions driving innovation throughout the region. Pittsburgh has a wealth of talent when it comes to Software Engineers and Quality Assurance professionals. I truly enjoy providing engineering services to Pittsburgh-based organizations, because I know the work we are doing contributes, in some small way, to the rapidly growing, local tech community. I love what we — as a community — are building.