What was the scope of their involvement?
I am not a technical person; I am in healthcare, so it was a massive learning curve for me.
My product is a web-based application. In the initial stages, it was very much about scoping of the project. We met and discussed how we would work together and build the team, considering the skills my family member and I had and combining those with the skill set from El Passion. We were also trying to get an understanding of our roles in the project and what needed to be done. They used a lot of processes to help manage the establishment of goals, including the Scrum process. Communication was going to be a big thing because we were all in different locations and time zones. I was in Ireland, my family member was in the US, and obviously, El Passion was in Poland. It was a learning curve and a process of trying to figure out the best way to make this work and be successful. So, we applied the Scrum method and used tools like Agile Zen to create tickets and track goals.
The key feature is being able to search for private practice healthcare professionals who are available in your local area. It’s a simplified matching system for elderly people of families who are looking for particular support from a caregiver. If they’re looking specifically for an occupational therapist, a home-based assessment, an environmental assessment or a physiotherapist, they can search based on their service requirement compared to their location. With the booking process, you can review the profiles of the providers in your area based on your search return. You can see profiles, experience, and clinical skills of the professionals and then match them to your needs and proceed to make a booking request with the professional. Another feature that we incorporated is a personalized account for the customer. After they have booked a care professional, they have their dashboard along with the ability to create a profile. They can see booking requests, confirm bookings on their calendar, and see information on who is arriving and when. We try to make the process easier for the care provider. Upon completion of the session, they can add some communication notes into the platform, and they are available for the older person or the family members to be able to review easily.
Intermittently, throughout the project, I had update calls with our project manager, Karolina and with the CTO to make sure things were progressing. She was checking if we were satisfied with the work, the quality of the work, etc. We were very lucky we were paired with a front-end developer who was fantastic, super flexible, and easy to work with, which meant that we didn’t have any issues at all, thankfully. That was a concern of mine—trying to envision how we would all work together being geographically in different parts. Our language barriers alone made me question how this would work, but it was actually all so seamless. It was fantastic, and they were super supportive. Even for an early startup, like myself, it felt like there was a huge value placed on us as part of the team.
How did you come to work with El Passion?
We went through a process of reviewing potential candidates here in Ireland and the US. My husband had been searching on Dribble and found El Passion. After doing the research, we could see that they had experience working with Ruby and worked specifically with startups. That led us to contact them and initiate a discussion on the potential of getting a front-end developer from their team.
After that, we met with Karolina and two others from El Passion at Web Summit in Dublin. We discovered the kind of work they did and the kinds of clients they had, and we verified that they had the skill set required and the time available to work with us. Budget constraints were always a huge deal because we were limited regarding what we had and what we could pay for. They were the most flexible in being able to prioritize the key features that we wanted to focus on so that we could stay within our budget. That was massively helpful, for me particularly, starting off. Their flexibility, their professionalism, their past experiences, and their case studies based on other clients were what sold them to us.
How much have you invested with El Passion?
The project scope changed. We spent between $10,000 and $50,000 with El Passion. We started with an initial budget of $10,000 but it expanded as funding became available.
What is the status of this engagement?
I think March 2016 was the official kickoff. Phase one development was completed November 2016. I, unfortunately, had to take a step back from doing work the last couple of weeks, so progression has been slowed a little bit due to personal circumstances. We will be getting back into the launch with more traction and testing with a small population of care providers and customers over the next coming weeks.