What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Regarding software quality, they use tools that even we don’t to ensure it’s as high as possible. They balance making internal improvements with delivering on time, which means they’re always getting better. Their accuracy has consistently increased throughout the engagement, and they place enormous value on automated testing and repeatable work.
How did AgileEngine perform from a project management standpoint?
They work hand in hand with our internal engineering team, passing responsibility for executing and problem-solving back and forth as we switch shifts. Relative to our time, they work the night shift, so someone is on Slack 24/7. I discourage email, as things tend to get buried, but we use Jira for tickets and Trello for creating ideas and initiatives. They’ve been really responsive and taken our concerns and changes to heart.
In general, I work through the team leads and form close relationships with them. This has been important because they like structure and process. Though we don’t use them this way, they wouldn’t have a problem executing a completely independent project.
What did you find most impressive about them?
As vendors go, they’re fairly high on my list. I would use them again with any company I went to. They’re transparent regarding costs and hiring challenges, so they pushed us to use the most current technologies. Few developers want to work with obscure or old tools, so AgileEngine’s best clients are the ones who have modern tooling. Without that attractiveness, it would be hard for them to compete.
Are there any areas they could improve?
When we began, their estimation process was built around never missing a deadline. Therefore, their time estimate was much longer than we wanted. Never missing a deadline is good in theory, but it wasn’t what we were looking for. I'd rather be aggressive and hit the mark 80% of the time. Their estimates improved drastically once they wrapped their heads around that idea.
At this point, we don’t have any major problems. We have at least two calls every week with their people and put out small fires before they can grow. They’ve made their team more diverse, which allows them to create solutions that connect with more people. We wouldn’t be expanding the way we are if there were problems.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
The only way to have a real partnership is for everyone to put their cards on the table and talk about their business and needs. Communicate what you want, and they’ll let you know if they can’t do it. Treat them like your own employees. That’s how you build a long-term relationship with a vendor.