Could you share any statistics, metrics or other feedback from this engagement?
AltexSoft has almost always met my schedule. How a team is managed will directly reflect in their productivity. AltexSoft has always been reasonable in making sure they deliver quality outputs. We haven’t had many problems in that sense. There have been two individuals on our team who didn’t work out but, for the most part, everything has been pretty good.
Up until last year, we were working with all of the original developers from AltexSoft. Only one of the four-person core team left the company. We have a strong relationship with them; AltexSoft believes in making everyone happy.
The Ukrainian developer market is very competitive, and there are a lot of different tech companies that a programmer can choose from. We’ve managed to focus on keeping the right resources for the job and providing them tasks they want to work on. AltexSoft’s leadership has helped in making sure that we were paying the right salary rates. Keeping the core people around makes life easier for everyone, and AltexSoft knows this.
We provide the best point-of-sale solution in the market and most of our customers would agree. We recently acquired a competitor, so we’re growing quite rapidly. In terms of development, we’re working at full capacity. Our growth rate is where we want it to be.
How did AltexSoft perform from a project management standpoint?
We use the Team Foundation Server in order to communicate during project development, and we also use spreadsheets. I don’t use any other high-end tools. We have daily calls with the different teams from AltexSoft, making sure that we’re on the same page. Specs are drafted using Microsoft Word, so that’s nothing special.
What distinguishes AltexSoft from other providers?
I can call AltexSoft’s CEO at any time. Even though they’re no longer a small company, AltexSoft still has a small company mindset. This is a great thing and it was a significant consideration when choosing a developer. We wanted to know that their focus would be on catering to the customer. We’ve always felt that we were a special client for AltexSoft, even though that isn’t true. They have hundreds of clients. From the management team down, AltexSoft listens to us. They do their best in order to ensure that we have a good relationship. They also know their technology. AltexSoft offers us much better talent than would be found in the US, at a much better price.
Is there anything AltexSoft could have improved or done differently?
The language barrier has always been a bit of a problem. Not everyone from AltexSoft speaks fluent English, but this has gotten better over time. Also, certain engineers could become better at specific skills, but this can also be improved.
Any clients looking to hire AltexSoft should carefully specify what it is they want done and embrace the work process. Since the development team cannot be in the same room as the client, they need to make sure that they have daily meetings and that they clearly explain what it is that needs to be done and keep an open line of communication. We employ an agile methodology with AltexSoft, which I also recommend.
We keep build servers in the U.S. and give AltexSoft access to them. If AltexSoft were to disappear one day, we’d still have access to our code. Two and a half years ago, we were a little nervous because of the political situation in Ukraine. AltexSoft went out of their way to relocate their engineers to the western side of their country. Everything turned out fine, and we managed to work through this concern with them.
As a company, we believe in virtual teams: the work can be done even without all workers being located in the same place. Our team in Las Vegas has less than 10 people. The rest of our employees are scattered throughout the US. I live in South Dakota, our director of technology is based in Reno, while the director of operations is in Chicago. We try to find the best people and make the relationship work, wherever they might be.
For software development, we employed the same philosophy: we don’t have to have development teams in the same room in order to make the collaboration work. We only have to build trust, which is the hard part. One of the reasons we’ve been successful is the fact that we established relationships and got to know each person before starting to work with them. Once that was established, we didn’t care where they lived. System administrators of course need to be in the same place as the servers, but the rest of our team has grown independently of each other. We have allowed people to work without commuting to an office every day, which has made them more efficient.