Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
Their role is looking at the development side of a product. When we get new projects for a client, they're usually involved from the beginning in requirements gathering and discovery phase, defining the QA process, then following that through. The way I would gauge the quality of their work would be going forward on the project. Once the project goes live, we would see whether or not we had any issues reported. I don't remember the last time we had an issue that got passed them within the scope we've all agreed upon at the beginning of a project. Our sites are hugely complicated yet very reliable. Some pages have 20,000 to 30,000 possible combinations of links in them because it's all analytics – data driven. We define a tight overall spec, but within the actual QA they're doing I can say they just pick it up naturally. The last time I had an issue get passed them was 11 months ago. They're extremely meticulous and methodical.
How did A1QA perform from a project management standpoint?
I get feedback from them and twice a year I go over and see them and do a review with each member of the team. That includes feedback from everyone involved with them from our company. I treat them exactly the same as one of our own staff. We have a whole series of questions. They always rate very highly considering they're based in Minsk. You would think there would be language barriers, but there just aren't. They're brilliant. It's the only outsourcing company I've ever had this much respect for. When I sit down with them we go over the last six months, is there any feedback? What's the communication been like between the teams? Have they been misunderstood? We're always trying to hone and improve our collaboration practices.
What distinguishes A1QA from other providers?
The one thing I'm impressed with is really the training they give their staff. Their QA academy is excellent. I know they have many people that come directly from a university. One of my team is at the university at the moment, but she works full-time on our project. Everybody we've had on our team has been first class. They're trained well, and it's always ongoing. I'm impressed with how that's managed. They're incredibly professional.
Is there anything A1QA could have improved or done differently?
One of our team managers was taking on too much work. He understands our product better than most of us here. We sat down and said we don't want to lose your service, but we need to relook at the structure of the engagement. They were brilliant and very accommodating. I put my thoughts forward and they jumped on it immediately. We had a slight change in the management structure of the team. It was professionally handled and, because of that, they do more services for us.
Do you have any advice to share with their future clients?
Because they were linked to the development side, it's always a bit of a risk. One part of the company is developing the product and another part is responsible for quality assurance. You always think that's a risk because you're putting faith in their honesty and transparency. I found early on that they are brutally honest about their sister company. They definitely act as if they're a separate company and, at this point, they are separate companies. The biggest thing was developing that trusting relationship. They have proved time and again that I could trust them. I have a lot of experience with outsourcing companies. They're good people to work with. They deliver what they say they're going to deliver. They deliver to schedule and to price.