Describe the impact this engagement has had on your business.
They did a good job with our travel listings site, but it was fixing bugs that proved problematic. For the other project, where they actually had to build everything, the work took five to six times longer than they estimated. There was very little attention to detail and not much input from their side about how we could avoid pitfalls going forward or how we could enhance the product. We had to keep suggesting things.
Since they have given us the run around we can’t trust them. Because of that, we’ve hired a new team and needed to assign extra money to our budget for reworking what Ahy was supposed to complete.
How was project management handled?
They communicated with us via email and phone calls, but the overall project management was very poor. The founder would refuse to take calls with me to address the myriad issues even after we offered to accept literally any time slot that worked for him. He kept demanding payments for milestones that he claimed he had met—but with so many bugs, they clearly were not met—and threatened to stop working if we didn't pay because he had cash-flow problems. He would only come on the phone to demand payment. Never to solve issues - these were handled ineffectively by a junior person on his team.
Is there anything that the vendor did well or that you would consider a strength?
The founder is very knowledgeable technically; he can take a problem and find a good solution. He doesn’t have the bandwidth to oversee everything the team is doing, and I don’t have confidence in his people or in their overall ability to overcome challenges. Whenever the founder handled something personally, it was done well; whenever he wasn’t fully engaged, there were inordinate delays and the work was poorly done. Plus, he refused to communicate till it was convenient to him (which could be weeks or months).
In what specific areas can they improve?
They need to be more transparent about which people are working on the project, what their level of expertise is, and what exactly they’re handling. Otherwise, there will be unreasonable delays, as happened here. They need to communicate, be honest and refrain from dishonesty or hiding facts.
What advice do you have for clients with similar needs to yours?
Ensure that the contract (a) requires the founder to spend time on the project; and (b) builds in penalties for delays.