Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
The number of app downloads is the way most people initially measure app success. We have not seen the volume in downloads we would have hoped for. In our company, no one feels that reflects upon the work of Dom & Tom, but instead, the difficulty of getting the word out, making people understand what the app does. So I don't think that lack of downloads reflects poorly on them or their work, and that's not a measure that probably tells you very much at the moment.
In the content management system, we add probably between five and 10 pages per day. We've been live since March, so we have hundreds if not thousands of pages marked in there right now, so we are pushing through a lot of content, which is a positive sign. We're just not seeing the app consumption that we had originally expected.
We didn't get any negative feedback regarding defects on the user end. We have put out one patch release that addressed a minor problem, but that's it. There really has been no negative feedback, nor have we found any significant bugs ourselves.
Our company is a single member LLC, so the president, who is the sole proporietor, invested all the money. He's very pleased with the results. We took what we considered a vaguely formed idea to Dom & Tom. They took interest in our small idea, which several other shops wouldn't even consider. Dom & Tom took a genuine interest in taking on this project and trying to help us figure it out.
I think what we all came to was not exactly what we were hoping for in terms of how much effort it takes to maintain, but it's still a very workable option. We are very pleased with the work that they did in coming up with the concept and then really bringing it to market. I think the app is well designed from a user experience perspective. Dom & Tom have very good designers, and they brought a lot to the table on that. They don't have any real knowledge of our industry, so we contributed all of that, of course.
What distinguishes Dom & Tom from other providers?
I think they are the right size to take on things like this. Dom & Tom are genuinely interested in building something different. They weren't concerned necessarily about the project having to be a certain size, dollar amount or anything like that. They encourage their technical folks to find projects that are compelling and to carry them through.
In hindsight, are there areas in which they could improve, or things you might do differently?
I would say that they struggle with project management and making sure that the communication is constant on where we are. In our case, we didn't have any strict deadlines, so that was okay. Also, we have a completely separate day job so, in our situation, it worked fine and we have just worked along with it. If someone did have a critical deadline, they would need to really ramp up their communication and project management efforts. As we went along, resources disappeared – which happens and we all understand that – but it became quite a guessing game to figure out who was working on what.
I can't tell you how they operate with their other clients, but we were open upfront that we did not have a driving deadline. We wanted to get the work done right, not by a particular date, so certainly that would have impacted their staffing. I think like any other shop that is resource constrained, you plan and then when it's three weeks after it was supposed to end, you're still testing and finding bugs. It's the game that everyone plays, but because of their size, there are only so many people they can tap into and only so many projects that can be run concurrently.
I really think that communication is the trickiest part of all of this, and that's an area where everyone who does application development can improve. It's better to over-communicate with your business sponsors than the opposite.