What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We have more than 30 installations of the platform in use in North America and Europe and over 250 publications across those 30 installations. I consider that a tremendous success, given that when we started this project, we really didn’t know how many people would find it useful beyond ourselves.
The other metric I use is that as we’ve discovered other publishing needs beyond the books that we originally conceived, we’ve been able to adapt some of the structure to accommodate other types of publications and other kinds of reading groups. That to me demonstrates the flexibility of the solution that we developed, which is important to me as well.
How did Cast Iron Coding perform from a project management standpoint?
We meet with them on a weekly basis online, as well as having occasional meetings at their office in person. It’s a very collegial and collaborative relationship. Our whole project is on GitHub and we communicate over Slack and email.
They are really good at taking our feedback and directing us productively. Sometimes we have ideas that might be great, but not feasible or beyond the scale of our project. If there’s something we can’t solve, but something else we can do to address the need we’ve expressed, they do a great job of synthesizing that and helping us find a practical solution.
What did you find most impressive about them?
We are a primarily humanities and social sciences publisher interacting with a technology development company. One of our biggest concerns was being able to communicate effectively, but throughout the project Cast Iron Coding has been able to speak our language and use our vocabulary to explain everything we needed to know.
When we didn’t understand, they’ve been able to teach us so that we can better understand what we’re developing. I really appreciate that they can talk to us in a way that we understand as well as listen to us in a way that shows us that they’re understanding what we’re saying.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Working with them is such a good experience that I really don’t have any critiques.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Coming from our marketplace where budgets are often quite small, sometimes we need our expectations realigned with what good-quality things really cost. I would just encourage anyone considering working with them to have a really frank conversation about your goals and what it will cost up front to get there. If those two things can align, then the result will be fantastic.