Django Stars provided development resources for several large custom projects. They offered included full-stack development, front-end work, and information architecture.
Django Stars' professionalism and thorough knowledge of both Django and Python enabled them to deliver high-quality work. They delivered every assignment on time, adhered to the agreed-upon budget, and collaborated seamlessly with other developers.
"I was incredibly impressed with the work they did."
Could you briefly describe your organization?
I don’t work for the company that had employed Django Stars any longer. But, that organization was called Digital First Ventures. It was a part of a much bigger company that owned a lot of newspapers in the United States. We were coming up with new technology products that would leverage the audience and the relationships of the bigger media company to accelerate the growth of these products. We had to come up with a new technology, new websites, new mobile apps, and then deploy them using the audience of the newspaper company.
What was your position?
I was the head of product. I was responsible for product development and life cycle management.
Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you first approached Django Stars?
Our biggest problem was that we had a large number of complex projects that we needed to get finished, but had very little additional bandwidth. We didn’t have enough internal resources, to meet our deployment timelines. We started to look for other companies, both offshore and onshore developers, to help augment our team. Django Stars was one of the companies we reached out to. The reason we reached out to them was because they’re primarily a Python development shop. All of our technology was in Python and Django, so they were an obvious choice.
Could you describe the scope of work in greater detail?
We got a couple resources from them. One was a full-stack engineer, he did both front-end and backend, and also information architecture. The other guy was a front-end specialist, so he worked primarily on HTML and CSS. The third guy was also a front-end specialist. Their work as really ad hoc. It depended on what client projects were a priority at the time. In general, they helped with most of the technical elements and then finalized designs.
How did you select Django Stars as your solution partner?
We were searching Django development companies on Google, and we came across them. I guess their reputation for Django development is so good that they naturally turn up. They were one of the 20 or 30 different companies we reached out to for development services. We gave them a trial project; in the Django Stars case, they were willing to do a trial project for a week or two, entirely for free. At the time, they said that if everything turned out well then we could then consider bringing them on full time.
Could you provide a general cost estimate for this project?
We worked with them for approximately five or six months at about $10,000 a month.
When was the project completed?
[The] most recent project was completed in April [of 2014].
In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of their work?
I don’t have specific metrics to share with you. I can say that I was incredibly impressed with the work they did and the professionalism that their developers brought to the table. When we were engaging with them, we had a couple other developers, other offshore companies working with us, so they weren’t the only ones we were working with. I had the best experience working with them compared to the others. Their developers were able to deliver all of our assignments on time and within budget, which is difficult to achieve on a consistent basis in the technology space.
Their overall knowledge of Django and Python was also very impressive. It’s hard to find that many proficient developers at the speed that we wanted because the other alternative we had was to hire people in-house, and we just didn’t have enough people to do that.
When working with Django Stars, is there anything you’d consider unique about their approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?
When you employ an offshore developer, you’re typically assigned a project manager that is then responsible for delegating tasks to internal resources. What I really like about Django Stars was the fact that they granted us direct access to their developers. They would integrate directly into our team. This helped us remain agile and nimble throughout the deployment and testing phases.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think Django Stars could improve as a service provider?
I had a very good experience with them. One critique I have for every offshore developer, and this is not specific to them, but it does apply to them as well, is that the communication skills simply aren’t equivalent to their American counterparts. They don’t all speak English. It wasn’t an impediment for us because we could still get work done, but that’s a development item for them to expand in the future.