What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We built out a product that we thought people might want to pay for and no one seemed willing to pay for it. We’re going to go ahead and use the product ourselves. It doesn’t take away from the quality that Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] built out.
Quite honestly, if you wrote a book on how to develop in Rails, you’d write an entirely new book on how to test in Rails. That’s what Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] has done that gives me the confidence that we have a really solid code base and a testing suite to go forward; such that, we have active monitoring.
We have active, automated test development. We have those things in place that are going to allow Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] or any future developer to come in, read really clean code, and run established test suites so that we can be true, nimble organization into the future. That’s the real quality that Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] brought to the table.
How did Bear & Giraffe perform from a project management standpoint?
We had a weekly standing meeting and then more interactions beyond that. Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] was very good about always being available and responding. If I send him a Slack message and he’s not immediately available, he’ll always get back to me within the hour. That was very nice. He has a high attention to detail. He’s one of the most professional people. He’s proactive, responsive, and has the experience under his belt of how to be a really good service provider. I give nothing but top marks there.
What did you find most impressive about them?
If someone is going to build something out in Rails and you’re going to build it in Austin, you want Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] to do it. It’s a quality sense. He’s not gouging on prices either. I know a few people who have put in time at Dell for a few years and then they think they can charge you $300 an hour. Maybe you can with some enterprise clients, but clearly, I’m not enterprise.
He understood that I was a guy with a vision and not that deep of a pocketbook. It was great to see him work and understand the entrepreneurial journey himself. He’s extremely good at Rails.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It’s been nothing but a positive experience with Youssef [Founder, Bear & Giraffe] and even in terms of critical feedback; it’s very, very minimal.
Do you have advice for people looking to hire a client in this field?
Don’t go with the first person you meet who knows that technology stack. I decided I was going to go with Rails for a few reasons, but the primary reason was that there’s a big community out there. So if I needed to change developers, other people know Rails well.
The flipside of that is there are a lot of people out there who have some experience with Rails. Maybe they’ve built their own app and they’ve gone to a boot camp, but that doesn’t mean they’ve built enterprise-ready applications with all the testing and the cleanness of code that needs to go in there so that someone can truly go in afterward.
If there’s spaghetti code and nothing is being tested and everything breaks every time you make a new release, then you’ve wasted a whole bunch of time and money. That’s why I started going to the meetup groups and started asking around who the best is. Service providers compete on the quality of their code, not necessarily their price or even their experience per se.
A good developer with a good product manager is going to be able to attack any industry that they want. Look for that quality. If someone looks at that golden triangle of quality, cost, and time, they have to decide what they want to sacrifice. Probably don’t ever sacrifice quality. Always make sure that one is there.