Nike tried to launch FuelBand, but its offshore vendors placed the product under jeopardy
Catalyte transformed Nike into a digital-first brand with development of the FuelBand

Key Technologies/Skills







Catalyte met the FuelBand go-to-market deadline and helped Nike catalyze the global quantified self movement. Nike reported at the 2013 Gartner Symposium that Catalyte’s teams were 3x more productive than the competition (at cost per story point), and the software was delivered with 46% fewer defects.

Nike wanted to create a critical new wearable fitness platform (Nike+ FuelBand) to solidify its dominant market position and expand customer relationships. FuelBand encompassed a range of components including a SaaS foundation, embedded software, firmware, mobile applications and desktop applications. Nike required scalability with short notice.

Offshore provider endangers FuelBand launch

With that goal, Nike focused on strategic excellence, leaning heavily on its offshore partner for software development and iterative delivery. Because of the high-profile and strategic nature of the product, Nike’s stakeholders were deeply engaged in every stage of the effort, refining the product vision and requirements daily. As the early stages of the project progressed, several issues quickly surfaced:

  • Backlogs increased, existing resources became overloaded, productivity decreased and project timelines were compromised
  • Placement of onsite teams in Oregon required more than six weeks
  • Team morale suffered as onsite teams from overseas had difficulty developing effective relationships with client team members
  • Offshore developers struggled to understand business objectives and desired product experience

The culture (both organizational and regional) gap created a tangible effect on the ability of the team to align and function as a cohesive unit with a common goal. This exacerbated every project challenge that presented itself.

Catalyte’s rapid response gets FuelBand to market on time

After several months of struggling to make progress, the team acknowledged that launch dates and project success were being compromised. Nike turned to Catalyte because of its reputation for providing exceptional services onshore and on time. Three business days later, Catalyte had a scrum development team on site diligently working to get the project on track and on schedule. With Catalyte, Nike found:

  • Equal billrates and terms as the offshore team
  • More effective delivery and higher quality work
  • Fast and enthusiastic acculturated teams working cohesively as a unit adapting to client’s culture and norms and meeting expectations

Catalyte increased quality and productivity dramatically by solving the issues Nike faced with its offshore partner. As a result, the FuelBand got to market on time and within budget.

Catalyte teams continued to provide value, becoming trusted partner

As Catalyte proved its worth and value over the next three months, Nike shifted 80% of the project’s development to Catalyte. It was fast to transition to enhancements and maintenance, while also taking on efforts related to future releases for the original and related products, making workflows painless for the client. The decision to choose Catalyte as a partner was easy as its contributions and impact were imperative to the project’s success.

Key Takeaways

  • User compatibility: Catalyte teams knew what users wanted out of the product and could consult client beyond technical expertise
  • Better work, same price: Catalyte teams delivered better quality work at bill rates equal to offshore teams
  • Speed: Catalyte provided a complete agile team on site in just three days, compared to six weeks for previous offshore partner