What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
The measurement of success was really the measurement of success for the entire team. Coherent Solutions was working with our on-site team, acting as a single unit. We never had anything separate that we were tracking.
We discussed any issues in the latter part of the engagement, and they were keeping track of anything they identified on our side. We had some valuable discussions, but I don’t have any real KPIs to share.
How did Coherent Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?
The resources provided to us were really invested in the project and had a lot of passion. It wasn’t just a matter of us making decisions and having them do the implementation—they shared a lot of suggestions and opinions, and it felt like they were really interested in the success of our project, team, and company.
If they weren’t going to make our deadline for whatever reason, they always let us know in time. Not everything made it in time, but I wouldn’t say that any of that was really their fault. There were some specifications that we didn’t get from the business side in time or we didn’t make data available. They worked with us to ensure the project made it on time.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I’d say it’s the quality of their people. They hired people who already came with a lot of knowledge, but they were also very good at picking up new stuff, doing proofs-of-concept and research into new tools and techniques. I felt they were actually getting trained regularly on new technology and ways of doing it. They were detailed from a design perspective. We had high levels of discussion, and they were very engaged. We felt they were very interested in the success of whatever we took on, and they worked very hard.
With them being in Belarus and us being in the US, it was important to look over how many hours they were putting in and making sure they were talking to the client, but it didn’t feel like they were beholden to the schedule. We contracted them for forty hours per week per each resource, but they didn’t limit themselves to exactly forty hours; they did whatever was necessary to get the project done and delivered on time.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I don’t know if this is necessarily just them; it’s probably true for any offshore contracting in general. We started off with two people—one developer and one QA/BA—and, once we added three more resources and they were big enough to become their own team, it became a bit harder to make sure everyone was synced up between our side and theirs.
There was a lot of time overlap as well, and we made sure to accommodate for that, whether it was a call, a live meeting, an email, or a chat. They started work before us, and we weren’t always available to answer their questions and make some decisions.
Instead of being a blockage, they took the initiative wherever possible. However, making sure that all the decisions and information were communicated, to make sure both sides were in sync was challenging to a degree. We could’ve done better at this as well, and we’ve had a lot of discussions around efforts to make it better.
They were the contractors and we the customer, and they had a bit of a setback. It was my fault as well since I’d never worked with contractors before. The more I got them engaged and the more they understood what I was looking for, the more the quality improved, as did the pace.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
It’s important to have clear and effective communication both ways. We had better outputs from them when we had them engaged from the start as much as possible and made sure they were well-informed, from requirements gathering to business use cases. We expected the same from them for the things they were working on, not just giving them a module to build and getting the result back three weeks later.
We wanted to know what kind of decisions they were making to solve the problem, and we didn’t micromanage them, but rather took a genuine interest in how they solved problems for us. That way, when our on-site team takes over the module or parts of it, we wouldn’t be totally lost in the transition period and have to learn everything from scratch.