Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Of all the aspects of our project, which includes mechanical design, electronics design, algorithm and firmware development, the software/IT development by Algoworks was the element with the strongest performance.
Their work on the backend server, website and smartphone was excellent and met performance requirements. I wish all of the other areas had gone as well as Algowork's piece. It was by far the best part of our product development.
It's not that we didn't have problems or challenges adding specific API tie-ins. There were technical challenges with the Wifi and data analytics. There were a number of different challenges but Algoworks was competent dealing with those.
They held their schedule and their cost. It was a very positive experience. Full system testing started in December 2016 and we found a number of defects that Algoworks was quick to fix. I don't have a quantitative metric but our experience was excellent. The number of defects was relatively small for such a complex project and their response was quick and effective.
How did Algoworks perform from a project management standpoint?
They performed very well. Their development team is in India, which is 12.5 hours ahead of us in California (PST). They were able to accommodate our business hours and were extremely competent and responsive. They are also very proactive with advice since I'm not an expert in this field.
We relied on them for recommendations on platform and technologies. They were able to answer all of these questions and make suggestions guiding key project decisions. They helped us with cost models because as the user base grows, we needed to estimate infrastructure costs.
They set up a workshare environment (Basecamp) that they normally use for projects. We had weekly meetings for one hour. It was our regular status standup meeting and we used GoToMeeting for that.
We also used Skype calls as needed. They had a graphical user interface designer that helped us with the interface for web and mobile. They have a back-end server person and a dedicated project manager so we could go to one person, which was extremely helpful. They also had a web designer.
What did you find most impressive about Algoworks?
I found them to be very knowledgeable in the technology. I don't know that that's unique to them. I'm sure that are other companies that do that. I found them to be very responsive.
The process that they use to gather the requirements to make sure that they understood the requirements seemed unique. I had laid out requirements in the RFQ and discussed that with them before they actually start executing.
I asked for milestone payments as opposed to schedule-driven payments. They identified and recommended milestones that were meaningful in terms of work accomplished and product features.
Their willingness to accommodate our specific needs was great. It's not easy to have a team that is across the world. I was worried about this issue and it wasn't trivial. Their willingness to work around that was very helpful. I think others could do it too but Algoworks did it well.
Are there any areas Algoworks could improve?
Our company President had very specific ideas of the look and feel we wanted for the web design. There were some aspects that weren't quite correct. Their work was close enough but not perfect. They could probably handle the process of getting design inputs from the client a little better. For example, they could set up a working session to go over design details.
Do you have any advice or suggestions for other clients to be successful when working with Algoworks?
Know and spell out your requirements in advance. Make sure that Algoworks understands what you need. Anyone who does this will be pleased. They are competent and want to do the right thing.