What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We had a really low crash report, and the app was super stable and not very buggy; it functioned very well from the beginning. It was an MVP in terms of limited functionality but not in terms of being difficult to use, which was great. I believe we acquired 3,000 users in December, so we had pretty good conversion and new user acquisition rates. Anecdotally, we heard from a few people who would send us feature suggestions and often end their email by thanking us for making a really good app.
I think it would have been a much different experience if I hadn't worked with them. They made it a total joy, and I could just focus on listening to users and figuring out what to do next because they were great about getting stuff done and implementing things.
How did Def Method perform from a project management standpoint?
They were awesome in this regard. Their dedicated product person was great about being a strategic collaborator and thought partner to me; as I was trying to make decisions about upcoming features, what to prioritize, or how to implement different things, they were always available to bat around ideas and bring their expertise to the table.
Their process was very transparent and slick. I always knew where things were; I never felt like I didn’t have a clear line of sight into how things were going. Their developers were wonderful, super smart, top-notch people. They all seemed to love to learn and dig into new challenges. I liked being around them and actually ended up going to their office a bunch of times. They did a great job of coming up with fresh solutions for the ways that things would function. How they pulled in content was really slick, and both their front- and backends were awesome. The user-pairing feature was a pretty difficult feature to implement, but Yisselda (Software Engineer & Consultant, Def Method) made it look easy. She was super sharp and came up with great solutions.
In terms of project management tools, we used Jira. The way that we collaborated through Jira was really good. We communicated via Slack and then had Google or Zoom calls for most of our daily standups. We also had an initial planning meeting at the beginning of every week, and then sometimes a grooming meeting mid-week to review upcoming things.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I was essentially doing a skunkworks project that people in my organization weren’t necessarily brought into. One of the things I appreciated most was that Def Method understood the product vision, bought into it, and became a great partner to me. Beginning with the discovery process, they had engineers who were great about jumping in and even doing some rough sketches from a developer’s perspective. They made decisions about the way they implemented solutions based on the product vision. Having that higher-level strategic view combined with the technical skills to get it done was very appreciated.
Before we worked together, I didn’t realize how well they’d understand the product vision or what strong collaborators they’d be. Each of the developers knew how to make decisions that reflected the user insights and supported the product vision throughout.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I don’t think their mobile app development bench is that deep. We had one developer for a month who was super fresh to it, and that didn’t go too well because it was his first mobile app project. I think that making sure that they have the right number of people with the correct range of skills for the projects that they’re getting is an area they could improve.
Any advice for potential customers?
I would definitely recommend them to anyone. In the beginning, it took a little bit to understand what my responsibilities were versus theirs, and where the collaboration intersected or overlapped, but I feel like that just depends on the relationship. They’re probably flexible enough to be able to fit into whatever process the client wants. However, I think it’s better if their clients are hands-on. We were doing all of our own testing and accepting every story, and I think you’d actually be missing out on value if you were too hands-off. I was happy that we worked side-by-side on everything.