How happy are you with the results of the project?
The work that APPEK did is great. The mobile was one of the situations where they were too many cooks. There’s the client’s client who’s idea the project was in the first place. Then, there’s the company who hired me and all the people I was hiring, working with, or contracting to build the project. Between the client’s client and the company who’s hiring me, there were about seven different stakeholders who all had different ideas of what it should be and different levels of comfort and sophistication at the Web and mobile. They were all really focused on the Web, and weren’t so focused on the mobile. Overall, the Web part of the project reflects their own inexperience. They didn’t have much, and they weren’t so attached to what happened with the mobile, so we were able to do the mobile part a little bit more the way we wanted to, and the mobile part is really the best result of the project.
Do you think they would agree with that, or are they favorable with towards what they had more control over?
I don’t know. They really haven’t even looked at the mobile enough. They’re just so focused on the Web part. It’s like they’re not paying enough attention to it, but what they’ve seen in the mobile they’ve been happy with, unlike what happened with the rest of it. To my part, the mobile is by far the best part.
Compared to other developers you may have worked with in the past, is there anything special or unique about APPEK?
APPEK was great to work with. I was really spread out, so I had three mobile teams and the Web team that I was handling. We were working with an agency that also had to do the design specifically for mobile, and they had really focused on iPhone. They had only secondarily done the Android design, and they were not nearly as familiar with Android. Not that it’s that much different at this point, but APPEK was really great because they were able to take a lot of the iPhone assets, or assets that were closed, and either guide the designer or take the assets and rework them. They also came up with some really good ideas about how to do certain things that weren’t really well defined. They contributed some good ideas in terms of the interface and functionality. They really worked without a lot of guidance. I was able to say, go ahead, go for it and let’s talk in a few days and see how it comes out, and they were always just right.
Which may come in handy when the original client isn’t looking at the project themselves.
The fact that the client wasn’t looking that closely at the mobile gave us a lot of leeway to do a better job. It’s like when you want to hire somebody to do the job. You want to hire an expert to do it, and then you want to let them be an expert. You want to let them do what you’re paying them to do. On the Web side, the team really wasn’t really able to bring their expertise to the table because they were cut off with the means by the stakeholders, but that really wasn’t the case with the mobile. They weren’t paying so much attention. Also, there were a lot of things where we needed to work out stuff with the APIs, the team who was developing the APIs is the team that will be finishing up the mobile part between the Android team, the iPhone team, and the BlackBerry team. There was a lot of back and forth, and everybody really worked together well in those two teams. There’s a lot of flexibility, just in terms of the way that they process, and we were using Agile process and an online bug tracker. They were really easy to work with for me.
Do you think there’s anything that APPEK could’ve done better, or you would do slightly differently?
Well, I would’ve given them more money. They were making $1 out of $0.15, and so I was actually really happy with what they were able to do with what they have. There wasn’t really much that I would’ve asked them to do that they didn’t do. It’s more because the design of the app and the features were constantly changing, whatever we had negotiated with the contract is based on a certain snapshot of where we were at a particular time. In the end, that wasn’t the same snapshot as what was supposed to be delivered. I was able to negotiate with APPEK to barter some features, and swap out some things. I don’t know that I would’ve asked them to do anything differently.