Users were very happy with the application's usability and functionality, and in-house staff was equally satisfied with the quality of its code. Django Stars' reliable process tools, flexible management, and technical acumen made them a valuable long-term asset.
"The tools that Django Stars works with and provided us access to, were actually quite good."
Please describe your organization.
We have a few different divisions here. One of our largest divisions has relationships with a lot of consumer packaged goods manufacturers. We do photography and profiling or data entry of all the information that you find on CPG [consumer packaged goods] product packaging. Then, we distribute those digital images and data through a variety of methods and to a variety of different companies and retailers, who use those, either in online or print advertising.
What is your position?
I am the VP of application and web development.
What business challenge were you trying to address with Django Stars?
We wanted them to create a standalone application for profiling products, or for data entry of information that appears on products. We were swamped at the time with other project work, so we decided to bring in some external resources to supplement our team.
Please describe the scope of their involvement in more detail.
They were responsible for development only, and this is a front-end application. It was all a web browser application. That was everything that they did. We did the back-end, and they developed the front-end in CoffeeScript. We did the design of the application. They also did functional testing of the work that they produced, but we did the significant internal testing ourselves.
How did you come to work with Django Stars?
I did Internet searches for contract companies that could build a Django-based application. Then, I picked three or four companies, provided all of the companies with some basic specifications and asked them for proposals. Based on the estimates and our impression of each of the companies, we chose Django Stars as the most qualified.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The original estimate from Django Stars was slightly less than $16,000 but, during the past year and a half or more, we've paid them $80,000 to $120,000. It was a very complex application.
What is the status of this engagement?
We still use them on a regular basis.
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I don't think that I can give you anything measurable, at least I don't have anything that is available. I can tell you that the application works very well, and the users of our application are very pleased with it. Generally speaking, we didn't have any issues with pieces of defective work on the front-end. The work that they've produced when they produced it was fine. I believe that they produce quality work.
I wouldn't say they always remained within budget and scheduled timelines, but I would also qualify that. project specifications can change a lot, and that's just a lot of what we do. Specifications change, and clients' needs change, so I can't say that Django Stars is entirely responsible for the changes.
How did Django Stars perform from a project management standpoint?
The tools that Django Stars works with and provided us access to, were actually quite good. They use Redmine, and we're able to track progress in Redmine. They submit their code and work with us through GitHub. The tools that they provide are good.
Is there anything Django Stars could have improved or done differently?
I think that both of our companies need to do a better job in working through the specifications, and understanding specifications on their side. I believe that any client who is planning on working with them should have their technical requirements fleshed out prior to any engagement with them. I think they would be capable of working with a client that only has a vision of what they want to create, but doesn't really have the expertise to flesh out the functional requirements that would translate that into reality.
There are two kinds of clients. There are people who know what they want, and there are clients to ask you for assistance. I think Django Stars, if they have a client who needs assistance and help with defining their goals, creating the application, they would do a fine job. If you're the type of client, who has very detailed needs, then you need to do a better job of creating the specifications.