What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
They showed initiative. Brian, in particular, is really keen, friendly, and nice. He went above and beyond to make things work. They were very understanding because we engaged with them quite early on.
AndPlus was very responsive to the feedback that we gave them early on. They were a little bit priced above their UK counterparts. The other companies we had shortlisted were mostly in the UK. AndPlus were willing to change their price slightly.
They were extremely helpful and friendly, and they welcomed me into their office. Everyone I met was absolutely stellar, from Sean all the way down to the floor staff and the people I met just walking through the building.
Without any managers or project managers, the developers and QA specialists in the room volunteered to stay later so that they could make sure they got all the information from me while I was still there. This gave me confidence.
Since then, it has been genuine smooth-sailing. They were handed a piece of technology that was constructed by another team in our country on a totally different platform than what they’re used to. However, they knew how to use it. They made minor modifications to it but understood what they couldn’t change. It’s been a great experience.
How did AndPlus perform from a project management standpoint?
Sometimes the team is overly inquisitive, but to be honest, that is a personal thing. I am used to being told as a developer myself to just run with it, but I have to say their development team is absolutely stellar.
The scrum master on the team always keeps our grooming and stand-ups flowing really well. The QA teammate is absolutely stellar and has been helpful in organizing the third-party requirements and dependencies.
I have been really impressed with the team, and thus far, we are negotiating for a broader scope with them after our project wraps up. I think this week is handover day, and the only reason we are pausing development is because of COVID-19. Otherwise, we plan on working with AndPlus for a very long time.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I would say it’s the people. I feel surprisingly at home working with them. The team is comfortable challenging me, which is a good sign. That is on top of all the times they went above and beyond with me.
Brian himself drove me back to the airport because of the expedited time that I had to catch my flight. It was stellar. They are really friendly, in addition to the technical expertise they have brought to the project.
AndPlus was given a very difficult challenge of being able to deploy and very rapidly scale an Elastic SaaS application platform with a very aggressive cost threshold of what they would be spending on cloud services.
I gave them my max, and they came up with quite clever solutions around problems that I personally don’t think twice about when I work on my own day-to-day work. It was really impressive to see them do that. So, I would definitely say the people are the most impressive because of their expertise and honest qualities.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Initially, my biggest concern with them was that I had no evidence that they had worked with anyone outside of their timezone. Our product is very internationally-focused and geographically independent.
It would be a lot of localization and different tooling that would happen to go around with that. While that is probably the easiest thing to do in software development, I had concerns around it, and I haven’t really seen the evidence that suggests otherwise. That is a very minor thing.
The only other thing I would say is there were some hiccups at the very start with scoping. They also priced it very high very quickly, and I think that was a misunderstanding of the requirements documents.
The pitch we got was three or four times the amount it really should have been in financial value. Once they received our feedback, they were very responsive, and the price became extremely competitive.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Make sure you have a very clear picture of what you want. If you have examples, the team is very responsive to that over descriptions. AndPlus is more than happy to take what you have and create the mock-ups for you which is what they did with me.
I found that when I was describing something technical to the team, it got more of a response when I was able to show it to them. I found myself a lot of the time during discovery taking out my laptop and showing them the physical mechanism that I was talking about.
This was both for functional elements, UI flow, how I wanted the users to interact with the system, and also technical aspects, which is probably less usual for product owners in this space. I definitely think if you can show examples, AndPlus meets the mark in nearly every regard.