What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We were heavily involved in the process. It was pretty seamless and a collaborative effort. When they thought they were done, everything went to a staging environment where we could check it out, so there were no surprises. They’re pretty good and super easy to work with.
I don’t have any feedback from customers, but we have 20,000 customers a year, so they like the site enough to buy our products.
How did CueBlocks perform from a project management standpoint?
A lot of what they’ve done has influenced how we manage projects internally because it works smoothly. They use Basecamp and have a ticketing system. There’s a project lead that assigns the tickets to the developers. We can see everything that happened on that ticket.
We might have a problem with something in our footer that is causing errors. They fix it and push it live because it’s important. Alternatively, we can approve it first before it is pushed to live. I can go back and find any past tickets because everything is saved. We are currently on ticket 784 and do a couple of tickets a week. Their project management is transparent.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Their billing system is really nice. With other developers, it’s a mystery what you’re paying for. You get a block of development hours and if you run out, they say they need more. But it’s unclear where the first block went.
With CueBlocks, we work project to project and all hourly. We make a ticket and they let us know how long the work will take. We approve it, they work on it, and at the end of the month, they send an invoice that has a list of all the tickets they worked on and for how many hours. It’s crystal clear what you’re paying for, what you’re getting, and how much time it took. We can go back and see if that number was pre-approved or not. We have full control and full transparency. For an overseas developer, that’s the best-case scenario. It removes all the risk and makes it a lot more reassuring. I have a lot of trust in them. Ten years from now, I fully intend to still be a client of theirs.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Some of the team that we work with make tickets on their own when they see something broken, which I can see in Basecamp. But for the most part, they do what I ask them to.
When they’re proactive, their recommendations are quite good. If I had to encourage them to be better, I would tell them to be more proactive in identifying things that we should do differently to improve our site.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
I’ve referred them to friends and tell them to follow the path that I followed. Start with small projects and build incrementally. It’s rare that the customer has the flexibility to do that and it makes it easier to build trust.
One thing I learned is when you’re working with someone in an opposite time zone and the standard way of communicating is over email, if you make a ticket and it’s unclear or they ask for some follow-up, we lose 2 days. I’ve learned to make tickets that are stand-alone and complete. If you use if/then instructions, then you can save a few days.