What was the scope of their involvement?
We provided Audacia with the technical specifications we had written. We had an initial call with Phil White, who was the managing director, which was useful. We had a roundtable with the managing director, the technical director, the prospective project manager, and the prospective lead developer, all of whom were fantastic at the outset and then all the way through the project. I felt like we had a good sense of the team.
After that point, we decided we were going to sign on with them, and they gave us a scope of work and cost. We began working with them in the middle of September through mid-December, which was kind of the first scope of work. Then we started working in the Agile methodology, reviewing every two-week sprint either by video chat or by meeting again in their office. Even during crunch times when we had to get the product out, we still traveled to Leeds and worked with them in their office. Although they work with a lot of really big clients, they’re also happy to work with startups and people who just want to get an idea off the ground.
The product needed to have some standard items. We needed to have account creation for our users and payment implementation. We went with Strip as a payment processor. We also needed a complex and dynamic way of understanding a user’s tax circumstances by asking them a series of questions, and then based on their responses, triggering other follow-up questions or not, as the case may be. That was a complex area. We didn't want to just show our users a form to fill in. We wanted to give them a Typeform kind of view. There was also a lot of work in terms of design.
Finally, and probably the most important piece was the technical integration with the government’s services. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs formally recognizes suppliers that meet their technical specification, and we became one of those suppliers in December through Audacia’s work, so we were happy with that. We’ve learned a lot through working with Audacia, and they’ve been fabulous tutors in that sense as well.
What is the team dynamic?
Our project manager is Adam Stirk. He was fantastic, incredibly well organized, and hands-off enough to let me speak with the lead developer whenever we needed to. We had the lead developer, a QA tester, and other ad hoc people when the team needed to expand a bit to fulfill the scope.
In the beginning of the project we were talking once every week, and then toward the end when we needed to work in a more collaborative way, I was speaking with their lead developer, Danny, on a daily basis, sometimes three to four times a day. They were so fantastic and flexible. I think a load of other places really could have put the stoppers on that, but Audacia really wanted to get the product across the line for us.
How did you come to work with Audacia Consulting?
We found Audacia while we were looking for a replacement company. We had started a small piece of work with another company and it wasn’t a collaborative process. We spoke with teams based in Eastern Europe, America, all over the place. We wanted something onshore, and we also wanted somebody who could fill us with confidence about meeting this particular deadline.
Although Phil was always strict with us about how difficult the project would be, he did say that by scaling the project back and by getting it down to the exact features and user stories that we needed for this first version of our product, it would mean that we’d be able to get something out there. For an entrepreneur and startup, which is much different from a corporation, it was good to have somebody helping us reign in our ambition so that we could deliver a product to market.
We found Audacia by making a lot of phone calls, and we chose Audacia partly because of their quote, but mostly because of the relationship we were building with them. Other people quoted us less, but we weren't feeling as comfortable with them.
How much have you invested with them?
What is the status of this engagement?
The project started in September 2016 and ended in June 2017.