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Eastern Peak

Platform Development for Online Manufacturing Marketplace

Overall rating: 

4.5

Quality: 

Average: 4.5 (1 vote)

Schedule: 

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Cost: 

Average: 4 (1 vote)

Willing to refer: 

Average: 4 (1 vote)

Project summary: 

Based on a recommendation the client hired Eastern Peak Software to assist in their development which included work on a minimum viable product in several coding languages.

Feedback summary: 

Eastern Peak Software satisfied the client by delivering great work in a timely manner. The agency is recognized for their excellent communication throughout the project. Eastern Peak Software is recommended to others for their quality and value.

"The great thing is that Eastern Peak Software allows you to interview all the developers who they're onboarding."

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a platform that connects individuals who need manufacturing capacity with the providers of manufacturing capacity. An easy example would be a shop that currently is working under capacity and not utilizing all their machines. They can list some of that machine time on our platform, and then a buyer, in some cases not a machine shop and, in some cases, the same entrepreneur who is trying to build out their supply chains buys the said hours from the platform.

What is your position?

I am part of the founding team and CTO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Eastern Peak Software?

It was trying to get experienced developers to work in a startup setting. Where we are, in Lexington, Kentucky, is not the software Mecca of the world. What we needed to do was find folks who were experienced specifically with startup schedules and lack of formalized specs and a willingness to shift on a dime. That select ability is something that developers in Eastern Europe do have because they are just so much different outsourcing efforts that come through them. Most of the people I've worked with have experience of five or six startups, and they're in their mid-20s. That's just something that, frankly, outside of Silicon Valley and a few places on the East Coast, is hard to find here.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

The scope of the work was generally similar. We deploy to AWS [Amazon Web Services], and the stack is generally done with Postgres and Ruby on Rails. Later on, we added AngularJS on the front end. Initially, it was straight up Rails, so it renders service-side renders.

We were going with a pretty rough Rails-based MVP [minimum viable product] and then looking at the code base that we inherited from a couple of other attempts to get an MVP running, and then refactoring some of the existing code base and adding several key features on top of that. The initial engagement was about two months with a single developer, and then shifting up to a team of five with that said developer being the team lead.

How did you come to work with Eastern Peak Software?

It was a friend of a friend of a friend. I don't even remember who recommended them, but I reached out to Eastern Peak, and then we spoke over Skype several times and then decided. Initially, the engagement was bringing a single developer and then transitioned to a full team.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The way that we did that was by development hours. If we were asking for overtime, then it would be our cost and a half. I don't remember off the top of my head the hours, but it was roughly, for an experienced Ruby back-end developer, $5,500 a month. Typically, the teams that we're dealing with there is also usually a back-end developer, a front-end HTML person, and QA [quality assurance] and HTML people are a lot cheaper – about half the price of the back-end developers.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in November [2014]. They've completed the work. We worked with them until the end of May. This was essentially a way for us to build out an MVP, build out a little bit more features, and then transition to an in-house team that allowed me to have a window in which I could actually hire developers.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Quantitative metrics would be harder to share, just because we're still in startup mode, so a lot of things have shifted. In terms of deliveries, generally everything was done within the time period allotted. I've never had any issues with things not being on time. Also, on my end, I speak Russian, so I can kind of gauge a lot of things in interpersonal relationships, and sometimes press devs a little more or a little bit less. My experience might be slightly different from some of the other folks.

How did Eastern Peak Software perform from a project management standpoint?

Again, because I speak Russian, I can probably elicit more communication from them than most native English speakers would. They do provide a project manager, so initially I worked with a project manager for maybe a couple of weeks, until I kind of understood that I could take care of all the project management duties. I did that and a couple of more developing and design tasks.

Communication-wise, what we established was pretty much a daily meeting, and most of the communication would be through that or through GitHub, filling out issues and such. Probably for a native English speaker, some of the GitHub communication might be a tiny bit of a challenge, just because you have to hit a certain cadence of not too many words and not too few.

We've had a few English speaking developers completely flood GitHub with various different comments, and Eastern European developers going like, "OK, too much English." Just kind of dial it back to just declarative sentences, describing what's going on. I think that would honestly be a challenge, however all the developers are very proficient. They can and do communicate very well.

Where they lose in native English skills, they probably gain in overall communication abilities. I've never encountered a stereotypical developer with no communication skills and all computer skills. I've never encountered that with any of the subcontractors for Eastern Peak.

What distinguishes Eastern Peak Software from other providers?

For me, it was a price and communication consideration kind of thing. But communication is, again, easier for myself. In terms of what they deliver, I think they're pretty much in keeping with several of their contemporaries from Kiev and similar areas. These guys have a good reputation, and so do another five or six companies there. I just got very lucky to work with them.

Is there anything Eastern Peak Software could have improved or done differently?

I think maybe just consistency, but that's a tough one because their job market is volatile, just like everywhere else. There are a lot of good developers, so it's just a matter of hiring enough people fast and not compromising on quality. Again, I was able to control that. The great thing is that Eastern Peak Software allows you to interview all the developers who they're onboarding. They don't just throw you anyone, and you get to say you're satisfied with their particular skill set or not. In that sense, I think if the customer does their due diligence, I think they're getting an incredible deal and incredible work.

RATINGS

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've already done that.