What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
R1: The work DUNICE provided was good, but we’ve had to make some decisions and changes on our side. We also had some performance issues, which they addressed, and the product we received meets our performance requirements. They fulfilled everything we requested.
R2: The quality they delivered was very good, and the errors we found while testing ourselves were only low-level. We have had to formulate our requirements more thoughtfully after experiencing some performance issues. Sometimes, when there were multiple paths forward, they didn’t choose the one we would’ve chosen. We’ve had to ask them to reprioritize and repeat some of the tasks, especially those regarding the product architecture.
How did DUNICE perform from a project management standpoint?
R1: Their project management was mostly okay, but there were one or two misunderstandings, possibly caused by us. We also had time pressure at the end – related to the experiments we were conducting on our side – so, week to week, we asked them to stop their current work and focus on other tasks. The rest of the time they would simply let us know what they were working on.
They always responded to our requests, even when we made changes, and they did everything that was required in order to move from one task to another and accomplish them in time. I would say that their performance was fine for 99% of the time, aside from small issues and misunderstandings. Whenever we talked about those things, we would clarify them and there would be no issues afterwards.
We used Upwork for managing our contract, payments, and feedback, and Trello for communicating which tasks should be done when. We couldn’t open our internal Slack to them, so we used Skype for chatting. We also had a few calls through it to let them know our plans for the upcoming three or four weeks. We had access to their test server, so we could see how the platform currently looked without downloading the latest version and running it on our side.
What did you find most impressive about them?
R1: This was our first experience with a remote team we’d never met and we’re happy with the work they’ve provided. DUNICE let us know when someone would be going on vacation, which was convenient. They seem to be a small team that always wants to prove that they can deliver well. In comparison to large corporate companies in this area, DUNICE behaved like a startup – giving all they could in order to work things out and deliver everything.
R2: From my point of view, when it comes to IT contractors, they’re surely one of the better ones. We’ve had a lot more problems with IT companies situated in Western Europe, even when we were close by and spoke the same language. There was a language barrier and a time difference, and we never met their team in person, yet the collaboration still worked well. I don’t know how many developers they employed on this project, but they delivered good work for the time we gave them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
R1: We’ve had to ask them to do some refactoring since they created CSS files for every page, while we thought that they should only create a single CSS file. The latter would’ve allowed us to make additional changes all in one place. It’s something that we addressed with their help.
R2: They could’ve been faster in responding to this specific change request. This was not a mission-critical aspect, and therefore they didn’t put this as high up on the priority list as we would’ve liked.
R1: It was a trade-off between fast delivery and better quality, but it wasn’t a big issue.