Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
We can't gauge success based on The Distance's deliverables. They were brought in purely for app development - functionality and making sure that it was provisioned across the correct devices. They've absolutely achieved this in time and on budget.
The success of the app in the consumer landscape is not within their scope. At the moment, we haven't had the success we'd wanted, but we haven't marketed it. It's a difficult association to make with the app development team. They've done everything that has been asked of them and beyond, in terms of consultative approach, specifications, and helping rationalize the more technical elements of the project, which was the duty of our in-house team. We can't really apply statistics for rationalizing how successful they've been.
How did The Distance perform from a project management standpoint?
They've been on time and on budget for three phases so far, with an added responsiveness to last minute demands and scoping. Obviously, there's added cost for these elements, which is understandable. They've brought everything to fruition admirably. Project scoping, delivery, budget, timing, and flexibility were all intangibly measured, but successful.
What distinguishes The Distance from other providers?
I don't have many app agencies as a frame of reference. They're available all the time. There was never a moment when you couldn't reach the appropriate person. The Distance is extremely knowledgeable. They also provide the right balance of technical and general market expertise, and awareness of the wider market of Smartphone apps.
Rather than going to them with a brief containing set tasks, we consulted with them on how they would approach our goal, and what the right ways to optimize the process were. I view them as a partner.
Is there anything The Distance could have improved or done differently?
Some clients like to work using different management methodologies. They're an Agile house, and we've tried to adapt to this. We've offered them a brief of requirements, and asked for a fixed project fee, which has proven difficult for them to do. As projects move forward, the scope changes, if even by a small amount. This impacts the time spent on a particular feature, or the cost. The difficulty for them, and any agency doing development for a client, is trying to protect their investment, while the client will aim for a fixed cost. They could make better estimates upfront, when projects aren't in an Agile environment. They are aware of this and are addressing it.