SteelKiwi was contracted to provide additional development support. The initial project involved developing a custom solution that semi-automatically distributed jobs to websites, newspapers, and social networks.
SteelKiwi developed a dynamic reporting engine that automatically generates and stores reports. They completed the project much quicker than anticipated and were flexible with communication and project management and processes. Careful handling of sensitive source code helped instill long-term trust.
“I have very strict standards for code quality, and [SteelKiwi] met those standards quite handily.”
Please describe your organization.
We’re an HR [human resources] consulting firm, predominantly. For the most part, our specialty is distributing job offers.
What is your position?
I’m the lead software developer.
Could you describe the business challenge that you were trying to address when you first approached SteelKiwi?
The project on which we’re working with SteelKiwi is a method for semi-automatically distributing jobs to as many different sites, newspapers, and social media networks as possible. We got a little bit carried away in terms of the scope of the project, and it was something that we could no longer handle on our own. I’m the only developer in-house, which means developing a project this large was going to take up a huge amount of my time. Initially, we hired SteelKiwi in order to allow me to spend more time architecting things while they implemented the actual milestones.
Could you describe the actual scope of work assigned to them?
Initially, they were just doing functional development. Recently, however, we have been giving them more leeway to choose the items that they can work on, by providing them with a much larger number of the individual tasks. We do provide them with some rough prioritization. I definitely still need to take the reins in terms of guiding the development because of the long-distance relationship. There’s a lot of user feedback that gets filtered through me.
How did you come to choose SteelKiwi Development as your partner?
Initially, we hired them through Elance. We put up a bid, and various people replied to it. They were one of the most highly recommended and their cost-efficiency ratio was the best. They were also able to provide some sample code during the process. I have very strict standards for code quality, and they met those standards quite handily. In short, they impressed us immediately.
Can you provide a ballpark estimate for the size of this engagement?
I don’t know those numbers off of the top of my head, but I can say that they are much less expensive than hiring locally. In terms of cost effectiveness, I feel that they’re worth about twice as much as we’re actually paying them.
What is the status of the project?
The project is still ongoing. It’s been in production for slightly less than a year.
In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?
Some of the tasks that we have assigned them are actually research tax-credit worthy. They single-handedly worked on the milestone to develop the dynamic reporting engine, which was a brand new reporting system where the reports are stored in the program. I was quite impressed when that actually took them half as long as expected. To finish a development task of that complexity so quickly was remarkable. Everything has been accomplished well within time and budget expectations.
I’ve always been hesitant to hire overseas developers, due to intellectual property concerns. Those types of concerns were alleviated very quickly. I found SteelKiwi to be quite trustworthy with our source code and data.
When working with them, is there anything that you would consider unique about their strategic approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?
They are extremely flexible in terms of methods of communication. In terms of overall management, the flexibility is the biggest bonus I was able to come across. We often chat using Skype, for example. They are always accessible and are flexible with the means by which they send us their work.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think they could improve as a service provider?
UI [user interface] and UX [user experience] is the one area where we had to do some touch-up work after they submitted their work back to us. That may be the one area that they might want to improve.
What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?
As with any project, upfront planning is the biggest thing, in terms of being able to provide concrete technical specifications in addition to how you want the code architected.