Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Because AppInventiv is a growing company, there has been a difference in communication since the start of the project. Everyone was quick to respond to my emails and questions in the beginning. Back then, the time needed for developing the product was reasonable.
Lately, though, AppInventiv could do better in organizing and delegating tasks. They should let clients know who the contact persons are for new features and other issues. I've had many random employees reach out to me outside of my usual 3 contacts, and this has caused confusion and miscommunication.
Other than this, AppInventiv has been good at advocating my ideas. I don't have a lot of coding experience, but I can describe something to them and have AppInventiv's engineers provide expertise on how things should be implemented.
The design team is good regarding communication, giving drafts, and working around any edits and changes I need. The production side has been good too, but they need to improve their communication.
I would also like to note that the designer was very patient with me and did not mind going through many trials to reach to the logo and color scheme that we have now. She was also very quick to send me the designs of the application. Overall, this part of the project was completed before the time that I had anticipated for it to take. I am very satisfied with the results.
How did AppInventiv perform from a project management standpoint?
The project manager I've worked with has been strict in meeting my deadlines. Everything is divided into milestones. She makes sure that everything is accomplished on or before the deadline. She also holds me accountable and presses me on issues she needs from my end, allowing us to move along.
I found some difficulty in explaining my ideas over the phone because of the language barrier. I've had had to make an effort in reaching a common understanding around how my ideas could be executed. The time difference was another challenge. I am working on Pacific Standard Time, while AppInventiv is in the India time zone.
[Project update: My main contacts have been very consistent since we last spoke. However, they need to work on internal communication. I found myself explaining the same things to the production side and the accounts side over and over again.
The way they organize and delegate tasks still needs work. You’ll also need to test and check every detail of each deliverable thoroughly. The poor service and quality come from the production/development team and the accounts team delivery head. Not only were they very late in their delivery of the website, but the quality of the recent build was extremely poor. The build was missing features that were essentially the reason for phase 2 of the project; it was even missing functionalities we built during phase 1. Keep in mind that they had nearly 4 months to work on this build — I sent the first payment for this project on January 11th — and they were the ones who provided me the timeline and delivery date. In other words, this was not a rushed order. I gave them all the time they felt was necessary to complete the project.]
What did you find most impressive about AppInventiv?
I was very pleased with the initial communication. Despite the time difference, things were getting done. Even if we only communicated once per day, my project manager accomplished everything within our timeframes.
Are there any areas AppInventiv could improve?
Recently, AppInventiv has become more disorganized. It would be great if they could work on that.
[Project update: Given all the recent troubles I had with the company, I would give them a 1-star rating for the quality of service and 2 stars for the quality of deliverables. However, the project manager was shocked to learn of the terrible quality of the recent build and has been working very hard to fix it. Therefore, I bumped the overall score to a 3 for her efforts in fixing the terrible build. She’s worked on it even while she was sick at home. I appreciate her respect for me and my time — she’s never missed our scheduled calls and responds to my messages within 24 hours. I also liked her transparent communication. She’s always updating me on the status of the project, whether the news is good or bad.
Even with the persistent check-ins and follow-ups, the production team have not adhered to schedule and delivered poor quality work. To this day (June 27, 2017), they are working on the incomplete build that was delivered to me on April 6th. Once again, I never set the delivery date, and they provided the timeline.
I was asked to pay off an invoice — which will henceforth be referred to as invoice 1 — on February 28th, when the things listed on the invoice were not complete. The invoice consisted of 3 things: a website and 2 additional features on the mobile app. The website was approved and published on May 23rd, and a build that included the 2 features was delivered to me on April 6th. There was a delay in the delivery of the build because of the above-mentioned issue regarding pricing. I’d like to note that the first half of invoice 1 was paid on January 11th, so I have no idea why it took them 4 months to produce and publish a simple website.
I requested for a feature that was included in invoice 1 that was not fully understood by the sales team, who quoted an x amount. As I was talking with the project manager and the senior engineer to further elaborate on and clarify my request, I received an unjustified charge from AppInventiv’s accounts team that requested an additional 1.5 times the x amount. This was the issue regarding pricing that I mentioned during my previous interview. When I brought this to the delivery head’s attention, his attempt to resolve the issue was offering me an unjustified revision of the estimate followed by a discount: he offered to deduct an arbitrary amount from the requested price without any reasoning.
The frustration here was not the change in the estimate; I understood that there was a misunderstanding and that a change to the estimate was expected. What baffles me is the fact that a price was proposed without a complete understanding of my request. How did AppInventiv determine that price when the conversation about how my idea could be executed was ongoing? I thought it was wrong to request this additional amount before everything was clarified and well understood by the production team. I asked the delivery head for an explanation of how the company estimated the initial price, the revised price, and the amount of the discount. His response was that I discuss everything with the project manager and senior engineer. Keep in mind that the delivery head told me not to share the cost of any project to them; they were not supposed to know how much was being charged for their efforts. I reminded him of that and tried to discuss the issue directly with him, but he neglected to attend to my messages. After 5 days of trying to get in touch with him, I filed a grievance to the co-founder of AppInventiv. I explained the issue and expressed that I felt the company was disrespecting me and my time by dismissing my concerns. About 3 hours after sending the grievance, the delivery head contacted me. He apologized for the issue and asked if he could connect with me over Skype. Long story short, after much discussion, we agreed upon a price for this functionality. However, this issue took about 4 weeks to resolve and therefore, delayed the progress of my project significantly.
The build that they delivered on April 6th was supposed to include everything listed on invoice 1 and invoice 2, based on a promise made by the delivery head. Invoice 2 consists of the additional cost to complete the functionality that was discussed lengthily, as well as 2 additional features. However, these 2 features were missing as well as a few features from phase 1 in 2016. When I brought this to the project manager’s attention, she informed me that 1 feature was completed but was added to the build, and the other was never worked on. She promised to deliver the updated build on April 11th. However, it appears the production team did not understand that forgotten feature — the project manager even reached out on April 13th and asked me to further explain what I requested on the week of February 23rd. Since it was never worked on, I asked them to pause working on that feature. From there, we discussed on taking a new direction that required the team to completely disregard this forgotten feature and start a new project, which was listed in invoice 3.
After coming to an agreement on the new project, I asked them around mid-May to remove the price of the forgotten feature from invoice 2. I believe that I rightfully did not have to pay for something that was never worked on and never delivered. The delivery head offered me a “discount” of invoice 3 instead. I stood my ground and refused to pay any part of that feature. He then had the senior engineer talk with me. During our conversation on May 25th, the senior engineer informed me that they had indeed begun working on the forgotten feature. I pointed out that I did not believe this story because the project manager informed me on April 6th that it was never worked on and even asked me for more explanations about the feature on April 13th. I repeated to the senior engineer that I was not going to pay for this feature and will only pay the remainder of invoice 2 that was rightfully due.
A few hours after this conversation, I received an email from the Accounts team that informed me that I had a due balance that was 4 times more than what I actually owed them. They were reneging on an agreement we had regarding invoice 1, a transaction was closed on March 26th. The email asked for the remaining balance of the old unjustified price. Fortunately, I kept all of our emails, transaction history, and receipts. I attached all the relevant files to prove that their reported due balance was very incorrect. The accounts team responded to my email that they would discuss this issue with the delivery head and get back to me. The accounts team informed me 3 days later that the delivery head provided a false story to justify the amount. I’d rather not go into details of this false story, but if you need this information, I can provide you the emails and another detailed narrative. After further discussion with the accounts team — once again providing them with facts and quoting their own words from past messages and emails — they agreed that I was right and respected the balance that I actually owe.
Before our previous interview, the delivery head contacted me to ask if he could write the review on my behalf. I said that I was not comfortable with that. He then tried to convince me to give a high rating by calling me his trusted friend and offering a good deal on future projects. I told him that I would not lie in the review and that I would be true to my experiences. After the publication of the review, the delivery head reached out to me and expressed his disappointment: he had expected a perfect rating from me. I felt extremely uncomfortable throughout this entire conversation. I explained to him the specific reasons for my dissatisfaction with AppInventiv. He never responded to that message, which was no surprise. Frankly, if I did not have any interaction with this person, I think I would have had a much pleasant experience with the company. Previously, he’s missed many of our Skype meetings, then tried to connect with me 2–3 hours after the scheduled time. The delivery head’s lack of professionalism and blatant disrespect made my experience with AppInventiv extremely sour.]