Django Stars developed a website and online portal to help connect the Ukrainian government with vocational schools. They built the portal's back-end and customer-facing side.
Django Stars was instrumental in creating a succesful, nationally implemented platform. Throughout development, they provided valuable input and performed above expectations. They understood the project's tight restrictions, consistently stayed on budget, and accommodated personal meetings.
"Django Stars is good at listening to what the client wants and understanding those needs."
Please describe your organization.
We are a Canadian polytechnic institution with an office in Ukraine. We run a number of educational projects in Ukraine, mostly funded by the Canadian government.
What is your position?
I am the director of the institution.
What business challenge were you trying to address with Django Stars?
One of our projects was centered on vocational education reform. A part of this project was establishing a web presence for the educational sector in Ukraine. We decided to create a web portal which would link the government with around 1,000 vocational schools, creating a space in which they could communicate, exchange ideas, share educational materials and so on. It is a forum for exchanging information as well as providing an internal mechanism for reporting.
Please describe the scope of their involvement.
Django Stars developed a web portal with two faces: a public face which lists vocational schools and colleges, allowing them to post views, material, legislation and press releases, and a back office face on which regulations and reporting mechanisms are posted in terms of financing and grading. Django Stars created that back office through which institutions could provide education management online, which was a huge step forward. Before this we ran as a paper office.
Django Stars provided a team of five people with whom we communicated on various components of the project. I’m sure they had more resources in the form of developers and designers working on the project that I didn’t know about.
How did you come to work with Django Stars?
We are a publicly funded institution, so we had to run a request for technical and financial proposals. We selected the proposal that best fit our needs. We had a general idea of what we wanted to do, but we didn’t have clear ideas of how big the project would be. Django Stars provided a variety of options that we hadn’t considered for a fair price.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The total cost of the development was between $55,000 and $85,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
The initial stage of the project ran from 2005 to 2012. It was tested and ran without technical problems. We continue to work with Django Stars in updating the platform. The project is set to conclude in 2016.
We had to computerize around 1,000 educational institutions that were running on paper, giving access to the web portal to every school and making sure that they had their own account.
Could you share any statistics, metrics or other feedback from this engagement?
In the beginning, Django Stars came up with a huge number of ideas that we hadn’t even thought of. They were instrumental in making our platform a national one. In the beginning, we were considering a very small-scale project. The end result was well above our expectations.
How did Django Stars perform from a project management standpoint?
Django Stars always delivered on time and were very precise in estimating the costs for each step. As a public agency, we couldn’t go over budget. Django Stars took extra time in delivering the work and always made sure that they were staying within budget.
We didn’t use any specialized project tracking tools. We worked within the same city and met frequently in order to discuss ideas and to make sure that everything was in order. We also communicated through email and Skype.
Being a government agency, we didn’t always know what we wanted, so it was important to have personal meetings. Django Stars was able to translate the requirements put forth by the minister of education and us. Django Stars was great in terms of accommodating personal meetings, which is important when working with the Ukraine government.
What distinguishes Django Stars from other providers?
Django Stars is good at listening to what the client wants and understanding those needs. People who are not very tech-savvy will often tend to be vague about what they want or will simply not know what they want from an IT project. I’ve worked with many IT vendors, and this ability isn’t always there.
Is there anything Django Stars could have improved or done differently?
No. We’ve been 100% satisfied with what Django Stars did.