What was the scope of their involvement?
We made a detailed spec in-house using our own developers, designers, and managers. They outlined our vision and created some wireframes. We wrote out in pretty good detail what we wanted and passed it on to 111 Minutes. After we gave the specs, 111 Minutes provided specific cost and timeline estimations. They also gave feedback, questions, and suggestions about the product.
The biggest functionality of our platform is that it would let users find peers by region and based on the chronic illnesses they suffer from. 111 Minutes helped us sort out how users could filter by location and condition, making it a clean UI [user interface] experience. With an app, there isn’t that much space for poking around, but they followed the rule of having only one feature per page.
They also suggested moving forward with an MVP [minimum viable product] on iOS. They put together a basic version of the application as well as a website mockup, both of which we liked. We decided to move forward not only with a full-fledged iOS app but also an Android one.
When we started, I was introduced to my counterpart from 111 Minutes. I believe that we worked with 5 full-time developers, some of whom may have been rotated during crunch times. We had 1 Java developer, 1 for iOS, a couple of Ruby on Rails developers, and a designer who also did frontend work.
How did you come to work with 111 Minutes?
We started asking our friends in the tech world who were facing similar challenges. Everyone has a horror story about outstaffing and outsourcing. After we sent requests for proposal to around 15 companies, one of our tech people brought in the name 111 Minutes.
111 Minutes was the strongest in terms of open communication and past work. We were surprised by how open they were. I’d worked with other companies where everyone said “yes” to everything and failed to deliver on it. 111 Minutes was open to telling us when an expectation could be challenging and if we should reorient our timeframe. Whenever there was a roadblock, they were upfront about it. They explained to us what the situation was and how they intended to resolve it. We use the Agile methodology in-house and felt that they were taking that ethic to the vendor-employer relationship.
How much have you invested with 111 Minutes?
So far, the cost of their work has been around $60,000–$65,000. We’ve been meeting our budgets, and we are happy with what we have. We’ve blown money before on providers who couldn’t deliver as well as on people who low-balled the estimate as a trick to get us to sign on.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with 111 Minutes in June 2016. We haven’t launched it yet, but the web, Android, and iOS apps are complete. We want to publicize the platform and make sure that we have enough users in place at the autumn launch. There is still some ongoing collaboration with 111 Minutes, but I’ve moved on to a different project so I can’t give specifics.