Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?
The app has been launched, and we have users. We also have some major partners for the launch, which are some of the nation’s largest companies in the beauty industry. It’s difficult to attribute metrics specifically to DA-14 because we use many developers. We’ve had increases in revenue and users, which should also be attributed to our marketing team. When I think about metrics for engineering, I notice pull requests and completion timing on tasks. They’ve been doing really well in those areas.
How did DA-14 Software Development perform from a project management standpoint?
I’ve actually asked them to step away from management. I’m a developer myself, and I like to manage the sprints. Our DA-14 engineer is working in conjunction with other developers on our team as well. I don’t want a project manager to get in the way.
What did you find most impressive about DA-14 Software Development?
I appreciate their flexibility in working with our needs and their ability to understand our concerns. About 95% of outsourced developers are not going to be a good fit for most companies. The fact that they were able to work with us right from the onset was impressive. Before we started development, we had an hour-long conversation with DA-14 where they dove into everything we wanted—the skill set, the type of person, and everything else. Initially, they spent a lot of time making sure we had the right person, but other development shops will just throw you the first open developer they have on staff.
From a pricing perspective, they’re very reasonable. They have an onshore person as well, who I can reach at any point, but that doesn’t inflate the cost. They are obviously making a margin off of this, but, given what I’ve seen in the market, it is a lot less than other shops.
The talent that they’ve pulled is really specific to our needs. In general, they’re a young company, so I think they are still learning how to build their model. They are very open to suggestions and feedback. We had a few billing issues with them because their finance department is a bit unsophisticated, but they are always willing to listen and pivot.
Are there any areas DA-14 Software Development could improve?
Their billing process is unwieldy, which makes payments complicated. They have an Estonian bank account with a lot of intermediary banks. Setting that up is not easy. We had to go to our bank and change our bank account type to be able to do unlimited international wires.
We offer everybody on our team perks like free food, and I was trying to enable that for our developers as well. It just wasn’t easy because their accounting is not up to par. Setting up something like that was difficult. Now, I pay the developer directly for the perks, rather than going through the company. That’s a really minor point that most people probably don’t care about.
Also, the turnaround time for getting a new developer is not as fast as we’d like, probably due to their size. Our other development shop can bring on resources at weeks’ notice. With DA-14, we’d probably need about a month of lead time to be able to roll on a developer.
I want to stress that they are not the type of shop that works on a contract basis and then is done. In that case, a month of lead time would not be acceptable. They help us augment our staff. I’m hiring somebody to be a part of the team for the foreseeable future. That’s why a month of lead time isn’t a big deal because we’d spend that long hiring an engineer anyway in New York.