Django Stars provided a variety of development resources for Pennebaker. The main project involved building a custom portal for a organization with over 20,000 employees worldwide.
Django Stars proved to be an exceptionally creative and skilled partner. They delivered high-quality code that was easy to maintain, along with elegant solutions that showed their dedication to the project. Their thorough testing process ensured the no defective code ever reached end users.
“We were consistently impressed with the level of craftsmanship in their delivered code.”
Could you briefly describe your organization?
I work for a branding and marketing firm in Houston, Texas. We work primarily with B2B [business-to-business] companies, and help them with their communications and branding efforts.
What is your position?
I’m the director of the digital group.
Could you describe the business challenges that you were attempted to address when you first approached Django Stars?
We had a client that wanted to build a custom portal for millennials at their company, as a pilot project, but then to export it to the entire company, which has about 20,000 or 30,000 different employees worldwide. We didn’t have the resources available to keep up with the complexity and specified timeline, so we needed to find those resources in a qualified vendor.
Could you describe the scope of their involvement for this project?
It was meant to be a combination of several social media tools. We looked for companies with prior experience working with these tools and digital libraries. It was a little bit vague upfront, as far as what the entire scope was going to be, since it wasn’t entirely clear to us, either. The starting point was a hybrid combination of LinkedIn and Facebook, and a training portal. Other applications were integrated into the portal at a later point, but that was the basis.
The primary technology and service they delivered was custom Python and Django development. We provided all of the visual designs, digital content, and strategy. We worked minimally with them on the front-end build, but they did provide valuable recommendations.
How did you select Django Stars as your solution partner?
I had followed some of their previous work in the open source community, so it wasn’t a tough decision to reach out to them. It was more along the lines of making sure that they were the right fit for this kind of project, and for us as a partner. We originally narrowed it down based on what we thought we wanted for our end-product.
Could you provide a general cost estimate for this project?
We spent about $75,000.
When was this project completed?
We’ve maintained an ongoing relationship with them. We still use them for maintenance, support, and custom development on a case-by-case basis.
In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?
We actually ended up sharing a GitHub Repo on the project, and they were very collaborative, but they’re also very specific about how everything was coded in a way that was maintainable and reusable. We were consistently impressed with the level of craftsmanship in their delivered code. They didn’t just deliver viable solutions; they were also some of the most creative solutions I’ve seen. It was made evident to me that they put considerable time thinking about the approach before trying to implement something. Their testing must be relentless because rarely if ever had we received defective or inefficient code.
When working with Django Stars, is there anything you’d consider unique about their strategic approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?
They were really good about not wasting time building something that they didn’t quite understand, or that wouldn’t clearly accomplish the goals at hand. If it was something as simple as understanding how a mini to mini relationship might work between some data, they wanted to make sure that it was modeled the right way, just to make it that much more flexible and simple. They would take the time to write fewer lines of code, rather than slapping it together and hacking their way through it. They’ve really specialized with Python and Django, and it really shows.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think Django Stars could improve as a service provider?
While their front-end design skills are definitely commendable, they just don’t have the same depth in those areas as compared to their backend development capabilities. Like I said, these guys know Python and Django like the back of their hand. We’ve never come to them and had them be unsure how to solve the problem. Their solutions are always elegant and creative, but the visual design leaves a little something to be desired. But, that’s why we hired them as our primary development partner rather than design partner, so it isn’t a really a criticism because we knew what we wanted going into the engagement.