What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
A qualitative metric is the size of my smile when I use the system, but that’s not necessarily helpful. They’ve decreased our page loading time to a third of what it was. Based on the results of testing software I’m using myself, I think overall site performance has tripled.
Out of four requests, one will require bug fixing, which is always solved in two days. None of those bugs ever created issues for clients, only backend issues that weren’t impediments to doing business.
We still have a lot of work to do, but we have to work in sequence. They’re currently working on basic functionality development.
How did Atharva System perform from a project management standpoint?
Atharva is well-organized and professional. They work with the proper sequence, namely first understanding the business requirements, and translating those into functional specs that we still understand and on which we agree. They then assess the technical feasibility and come back with an estimate of the workload for us to validate. They do the development in phases, with core functionalities first, checking those, and then fine-tuning.
I’ve had no surprises whatsoever. When they discover that something can be done more easily than initially anticipated, they share that, and I can see the benefits in my invoice as well. From a user perspective, this is reassuring, and I never feel lost myself, even in technical areas that I don’t master. For my scale, they’ve found the right tradeoffs between moving fast and moving safely. There isn’t too much red tape, and what they do is stable.
We mostly communicate by email. We have Skype calls with shared screens three times a week, where I can explain my requirements, and where they show me mockups and demos of the features. They use GitHub to commit new developments. They have access to our own GitHub account, which is completely delegated to them.
We had frequent exchanges on that, and the feedback loop was very short. When the requirement was about backend processes, we explained our functional needs and they came up with process flows and suggestions on how to get the work organized and reach our objective. Afterward, we discussed the changes they intend to bring to the database or the software. I wanted to know what they would be changing and why, and what the consequences of those changes would be, either in terms of database performance and maintainability or in terms of website performance.
What did you find most impressive about them?
It’s the outstanding commitment my contact offers, along with their reaction time. When we have an issue, they’re always there. They think together with us, and they come back with challenges to our own requirements, to test whether that is really what we want or just to confirm that what we want makes sense. They have a commitment and willingness to truly help us fundamentally, and not just do what we want. They make sure that what they do will truly address the basic needs we have, even if we don’t express them well.
I’ve worked with other software companies of similar size, and I was almost systematically disappointed. I would recommend Atharva without any doubt.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Sometimes, I wish the development could go even faster, but I think that this is a bias I have because, when I have an idea, I want it to be developed quickly. To be fair, I have pushed them in areas they didn’t master, like having them develop an API to a payment acquirer. They’ve developed two new interfaces for me that they’d never done before, and it was a learning experience each time for them. They accommodated that, and they charged me for half or one-third of their time because the rest was accounted as learning for them. I believe that’s absolutely remarkable. They will gain more and more experience and become more proficient in those areas over time.