What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We saw our investment returned on the feedback simplification project within 60 days, so we’re saving money by implementing their solution. It also has drastically improved our efficiency. Now our QA engineers and developers can document information while they’re working on an issue, which prevents us from having a backlog at the very end when there’s a big push to get all the information in within a couple days. They have some advanced developers that have a lot of experience who provided us with an elegant solution that met our requirements. Everyone’s been excited about it.
How did Cider perform from a project management standpoint?
They’ve been very clear in their communication. When we give them requirements, they’ll review them and have a high-level design ready within a week. We’ll come back and review it with them and go over how they’re going to implement it. We communicate through our point of contact, and they’ve been flexible about setting up discussions and Skype calls.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I’ve worked with other partners and the lack of communication has always been a challenge, but Cider is good at communicating and following-up. They’ve followed-up on almost every item I’ve sent. And they explain that process to us, so we know what to expect. Most companies get the requirements and then implement their solution without doing a demo or proof of concept, but it’s not exactly what the customer wants. Cider has a good process to role things back to the customer for feedback that increases efficiency and cut down costs. They also do a lot of testing before they turn any versions over to us, so they work out most of the wrinkles ahead of time. Finally, they spend a lot of time upfront with the requirements and learning about our needs, so there’s not a lot of slippage in the scope.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It seems like nitpicking, but because their team is distributed, there might be holidays in certain areas or countries that they're located in, that we don’t anticipate. So you may have someone go offline for three or four days because of a holiday and we're just not aware. should I should be aware of it, just google it and figure out the holidays, but that's probably the only thing.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
It is imperative to get your requirements straight, because if you have bad requirements, you’re going to get a bad design and bad implementation. Cider will review the requirements and then they’ll set up a review meeting to go through them and ask clarification questions. That process has caught a lot of things we haven’t thought about. Get solid on the requirements and they’ll be well understood, which leads to a much more successful project.
Understand the flexibility you’re looking for. In general, developers will make something hardcoded, like the length or name of a field, if they don’t have an understanding of the flexibility you need. This will make it so it’s very hard to change later on. Having that level of requirements and understanding makes it so you can keep development time from expanding beyond expectations.