Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I didn't track any specific metrics or anything like that, I didn't quantify their work. However, anecdotally, they're extremely fast. Since most of their work was exclusively front-end development and implementation, we just reviewed the presentation and cross referenced our visual design layouts. For the most part, they were able to implement 90% of the interface we wanted. And it worked well with the functional backend, which was also great.
How did Django Stars perform from a project management standpoint?
They were able to meet all the project deadlines and stay within the budget that was defined initially. We were using Trello for project management, which was our tool of choice. We asked if they would use Trello and they were fine with that. They were actually very accommodating because I know that they have their own internal ticketing system, Redmine, which they use to track all their tasks, hours, and everything. They were accommodating to have all of the actual work and discussions happen on Trello, and then they continued to do their time tracking in Redmine. They were accommodating for us in that regard.
What distinguishes Django Stars from other providers?
The thing that I was impressed or surprised by was just the speed in which Django Stars finished tasks assigned to them. I would queue up what I thought would be several days or a week's worth of work, and I kind of broke it up into weekly sprints. We worked primarily with one developer named Yurislav. I'd queue up his work for a week, and then I'd find out the next day that he had basically finished it all. It was actually kind of a challenge to queue up enough work for them. They just went through it so much faster than I expected.
Is there anything Django Stars could have improved or done differently?
I think maybe a couple of things. They're fairly minor, and I would consider rehiring them in the future, so these are not deal-breaker sort of things. There's a tradeoff to them working so fast. Sometimes, there would be bugs or just some small details that got overlooked. Sometimes, there were some functional regressions, something that worked previously but now it didn't work for some reason. Because we didn't have automated testing, it would only be through me doing a lot of QA [quality assurance] work that I would find this regression, and I would have to post it back to them.
The language and time zone difference added some time to the project, too. If I found a bug, by the time I documented it, recorded the screencast, and sent it their way because of the time zone difference it would be almost 12 hours until they actually tackled it. It just caused a little bit of a delay. I think if they had done a little more automated testing, or just more thorough QA before sending work back my way, I think it would have reduced that lag.
The other thing isn't so much a criticism, but something where I think they could have added even more value. They're the Ionic experts, so I believe they could have pushed back with me a bit. I would spec out a task, and they would complete that task exactly when, in fact, there was probably a better way to do what I was trying to achieve. That's probably a failing on my part. I should have maybe made it clear to them that this is sort of a broad idea. If there's a better way, or if you have a suggestion, then let me know. I'd design a task, and then I'd wake up the next day and it's been done, rather than have a discussion about it, or suggestions and recommendations.
Part of that was just because there was that time delay, and they were small tasks, so maybe they just wanted to plow through them as best and as fast as they could. Like I said, overall fairly minor things, and it certainly wouldn't stop me from hiring them again in the future. If I were to hire them again in the future, I would address those two points with them. That's how I would work with them differently next time.