SteelKiwi developed BoardNotebook’s minimum viable product, a custom mobile solution that helps nonprofit organizations better manage stakeholder meetings.
BoardNotebook and their users have been very happy with the application, and the client anticipates new features as the app gains revenue. SteelKiwi performed very well from a project management standpoint, and remained responsive throughout political difficulties in their native Ukraine.
"[SteelKiwi's] English is very good, and there were really no instances of misunderstandings due to the language barrier."
Please describe your organization.
BoardNotebook is a board portal service for nonprofit organizations. It does things like meeting management, document retention, and governance aspects for American nonprofits. A web-based app used in nonprofit board meetings is the best way to describe it. The company is comprised of three people. We've been around for about 18 months.
What is your position?
I am the chief technology officer.
What business challenge were you trying to address with SteelKiwi Development?
I had done some Python and Django work on the minimal viable product for this startup, and I'd done about 50 percent of the total codebase at the time. I went to SteelKiwi and showed them what it was and what I needed to add in terms of features. They then handled the development of the additional functionality and configuration.
Please describe the scope of their involvement.
We were paying them by the hour but, because they were integrating new things into an existing codebase, and helping me with getting the changes up to my staging and production servers, I ended up using four or five different people at SteelKiwi, including Julia Titova, my main contact and project manager. I'm not sure if I explicitly hired all of them, but we ended up working together throughout the course of the project.
We started the engagement with them at about this time last year [December 2014], and they worked through to April . All of their work has been custom Python and Django development.
How did you come to work with SteelKiwi Development?
I'd worked with them once before, on a different project, so I knew that the company was good. I didn't participate in finding them. I'd been impressed with their skill and capability in Python and Django development work, so when the current project started, I thought of them first. They had the necessary capacity, and we started right away.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
It was between $20,000 and $30,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
The project was completed in April . That's when we finished all the small work, with testing, cleaning out little bugs, and so forth. Just recently, I found a bug and asked them to work on it for me. They said no problem. Less than a day later, they came up with a solution.
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I have a small core of devout users. They use it a couple of times a month. There will be board members who come in, get their meeting agendas, documents, and everything else they need to run their board. I would say I have happy users. We're now opening it out, taking it out of beta, and doing more marketing for it.
I'm very happy with their work and where the app stands. Like any minimally viable product, as soon as I start generating revenue, I will discover new things I want to add to the platform.
How did SteelKiwi Development perform from a project management standpoint?
We used GitHub extensively and a Python bug tracker that they host. In the early stages, we were using it to address tasks, and make descriptions of everything that needed to be fixed. At some point during the process, we switched in large part to GitHub, where they would do code deliveries via pull request. There's a lot of back and forth through email, but it was well done all around. It works very well.
What distinguishes SteelKiwi Development from other providers?
They're based in the Ukraine. Russia invaded their country. I don't mean to get political, but one of the cities in which we had developers was occupied and controlled by the Russians. Some of the developers moved to Odessa to get out of the war zone. In spite of all that, they were very responsive and professional through the ordeal.
Another thing revolves around working successfully with English-speaking clients. Their English is very good, and there were really no instances of misunderstandings due to the language barrier. I worked with companies that had that problem. They're able to speak English far better than I can speak Ukrainian.
I'm a developer myself, so the translation between the business goals and technical ideas was something largely done by myself. Technical person to technical person, we had a fine time. I would definitely hire SteelKiwi again without a doubt.