Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
Our project is research-funded, so our budget is renewed on a yearly basis. The fact that we've had our funding renewed year after year means that the funder is pleased with what we're producing. This is the best measure of success, in my opinion.
I've come to default to 10Clouds for any project that requires development work, whether it's a large-scale one or we just need to throw up a website. 10Clouds is very fast, responsive and easy to work with. They have many in-house members who can cover a full range of things so, whenever we need to do a lot of back-end Python, Django, HTML or CSS development, 10Clouds will assign us resources who are experienced with the various tools that we are using. Whenever we needed to rethink a prototype from a design perspective, 10Clouds gave us a designer. There's been much flexibility on their part.
We had used other companies in the past, but 10Clouds was much better in terms of communication, and they produced good work. 10Clouds has actually rewritten a lot of the code produced by other people because it simply wasn't very good. It's not just that I've been happy with their work on our current projects, but they've done a better job than the people who worked on our previous projects.
How did 10Clouds perform from a project management standpoint?
Being a professor of computer science, I'm probably different to most customers. I had no problems managing the team from 10Clouds. I am very hands-on with them and probably know the code base as well, if not better than 10Clouds. I've been involved in the project since conception, whereas new developers from 10Clouds will come in every year. We don't work with 10Clouds based on estimates that they're supposed to stick to. We have a collaborative process. If anything takes longer to complete, it won't be a huge surprise because I understand why it's taking longer. For what we've been able to build, 10Clouds has been a very cost-effective solution. They do good work quickly and aren't very expensive.
We use JIRA for project tracking. We also have weekly calls using Google Hangouts, and we use Slack for communication.
What distinguishes 10Clouds from other providers?
I have frequent contact with 10Clouds's CEO [Maciej Cielecki], who reaches out to me just to see how things are going. Whenever I have a problem, I can contact him. He's been hands-on whenever we needed it and left us alone for the rest of the time. With any software project that goes on for this long, not everything will turn out right. I've always felt that we were able to sit down with 10Clouds and work any problems out, which gave me a lot of confidence in their judgment and abilities. When a developer says that a certain approach is the right way to do it, I will trust them. This is something that took a long time to develop.
Is there anything 10Clouds could have improved or done differently?
Through the years, there have been improvements that I've pushed to 10Clouds, including being more communicative with me about what's going on. This was because I was treated the same as most clients, who don't necessarily care about what library was being used, or what the right way or restructuring code was. I'm very involved, so I've encouraged 10Clouds to keep me in the loop about those things, and they have. There have been around half a dozen developers assigned to our projects through the years. The people working with us now are the best ones since the project started, so I'm very happy with 10Clouds at this moment. A new developer has been assigned to us today, and I'm excited about this. She seems to be very good. I think that we will continue to improve our efficiency.
I manage research labs and am looking for new funding. When I find it, I intend to give it to 10Clouds for them to do the work.