In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?
We were using an agile development method, so we had two-week sprint meetings using scrum. If you work with this project method, it’s just very transparent. It gives you a lot of information about how many story points you estimated for a project, and how many you really needed. At the beginning of our projects, they provided us with detailed Excel sheets. Then as the project became bigger, Cocomore realized that Excel wasn’t really sufficient, especially in terms of collaboration. They changed to JIRA, using Green Hopper as a plug-in for JIRA, and they trained us to use it. It was a great tool. Our assignments were always delivered to us on time and to specifications. All of their code was tested and viable, which was great, too. We had no issues with their performance.
When working with Cocomore, is there anything you’d consider unique about their strategic approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?
What makes them great, in my opinion, is that they have reached a certain size. This makes them able to provide customers like myself with a lot of expertise in different fields like usability and e-commerce, which are important for our Web projects. This is always a problem if you have a specialized, small agency. They’re great at completed very specialized tasks, but if comes to usability they might say that’s not within their scope. That means you’d have to find someone else, which isn’t ideal and certainly isn’t efficient. That’s where Cocomore demonstrates the most value and strength: the breadth and depth of their talent pool.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think Cocomore could improve as a service provider?
That’s hard for me to say. I have a really great account director. He’s very fast, he’s on time, and he’s on budget. I know from other activities that this is not representative of the whole company, so I have to be very cautious.
Regarding improvements, sometimes you have developers that stick with the scrum process. If there’s a moment in the project where the account director is not available, and you need a quick decision on a relatively small task, I would expect a developer or a CSS [cascading style sheets] guy to be able to approve a small change. One or two of their developers were not willing to take on that responsibility, which means that we’re forced to wait. That can be frustrating.
I believe a little more flexibility would have been appropriate, but it’s very hard to evaluate this from an outside perspective, not knowing how the people are related within Cocomore. Sometimes even if it’s only a $100 decision, if that developer would do as I wanted, he might then not stick to the Cocomore in-house rules. As a client I want the utmost flexibility, but I have to accept that sometimes that the service providers have their own rules.