What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
I can’t share exact metrics, but we’re continuing to use them because we’re satisfied.
Due to the stringent security requirements in my industry, their team is not always able to do everything they normally would in a commercial project. There are certain parts of the system they may not have access to, so they have to develop based on my description of how something works. They’re not allowed to see data, which poses some unique challenges. I’ve been working in engineering for a long time and haven’t found a team that could handle this limitation as well as AgileEngine.
They have internal reviews before I even see the code, which is absolutely fine with me and has not affected meeting my aggressive deadlines. This approach increases the quality of their deliverables. AgileEngine has done a lot of learning as a team.
How did AgileEngine LLC perform from a project management standpoint?
Like many engineering organizations, we use GitFlow for creating branches, pull requests, and code reviews. We rely heavily on Skype and Slack for communication. My team and I hear from them every single day. My philosophy is that people should ask questions concerning what we’ve asked them to do if they have them. Our time zones spread all over the U.S., but both I and AgileEngine have adjusted our times to obtain more overlap.
Their strong technical leads are the primary reason I’ve gone to them. The caliber of the strongest lead and their ability to meet deadlines and do what needs done sets the tone of the project. I think of them as part of our company. They are my technical team who just so happens to be located elsewhere.
We encourage collaboration and have a Skype group channel for our U.S. team to interact with them. There is full transparency, and everyone is in the loop. We also use GoogleDocs. Their abilities to expressive technical concepts in writing is very good. The communication skills and English proficiency of our technical leads are excellent and more honed because they’ve been doing this for longer, but I have never had a communication issue with any member of the team.
We use Jira and Confluence, so things are well-specified. We also use prototyping tools like Zeplin, Sketch, proto.io, and Webflow in order to hone designs as much as possible to avoid having to rework things.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They are the only outsourced team I’ve ever worked with that can meet my expectations regarding requirements. AgileEngine performs as well as my team members who come from elite schools for computer software. I wouldn’t be using them otherwise.
They’re very creative, which is a unique characteristic in our relationship that has worked well for us. They have good ideas, and we’ve set up an environment that allows the ideas in our company to come from anywhere. It all goes to helping us improve our products. AgileEngine is definitely a part of that process. They’ve contributed greatly to improvements and ideas for what we’re doing, and they’ve helped us question some of the choices we’ve made.
Their developers’ strong mathematical foundation also makes them stand out. This area can sometimes be a challenge when working with companies from other parts of the world, but it’s never been an issue with AgileEngine. They always take performance into consideration. I’m grateful for this because the last thing I want is slow, inefficient code. This eliminates the need for me to have to spend time re-iterating or making significant architecture changes because they’re done correctly in the first place.
In terms of communication and collaboration, AgileEngine is genuinely a part of our team. They’re interested in making us successful. They’re not just a contractor clocking time, and if I’m pushing for a release to the app stores, they offer to be available whenever we need to push the release on time.
I’ve introduced AgileEngine to three different companies, and I’m confident that I’ll continue to use them in the future.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The only part I don’t like as much is the administrative side. They’ve recently hired someone for managing the SOW [statement of work] process, but I would like to have a company dashboard page on their side that shows my SOW and billing history. It would help me better plan my hiring budgets to see my current structure, but also salary ranges of types of individuals to aid in planning/budgeting.
Within that same construct, I would also want an automated way to provide bonuses. They’ve worked with me on this directly, but it would be nice to automate the process. This would also be nice for equipment purchases.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
My advice is to find a strong technical lead who you feel comfortable building your team around. There needs to be one person whose advice we can rely on, who knows the landscape, and who can determine the qualifications and fit of a resource.