Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Working with ELEKS allowed us to open up a parallel project, rather than being single-threaded in releasing. We were able to have separate teams for legal entity information and pricing, bringing multiple pieces of functionality to market at one time, instead of doing it piece by piece. Loosely speaking, we doubled our capacity in the same amount of time using ELEKS, for a small additional investment.
How did ELEKS perform from a project management standpoint?
Project management is something that we've enforced with ELEKS over the last couple of years. We pick 1-2 liaisons for the teams, namely the more senior-level people. We have asked them to become involved in making estimates and laying out tasks for our projects. ELEKS has been very reliable in that respect. If they miss any dates, they don't miss them by much.
We have bounced around between project management tools. We have an internal bug tracking system, but sometimes the process can be as simple as dumping project tasks into an Excel spreadsheet and putting dates to it. We're starting to transition towards Jira, in a more formal manner.
What did you find most impressive about ELEKS?
Given all the offshore developers that we've dealt with, we found that ELEKS tends to turn around work quicker, but not at the expense of quality. They have more expertise and provide higher-quality engineers. We've experienced several cases with other firms by which they brought along engineers with limited capabilities, which equated to less-than-ideal results. With ELEKS, there was never an instance of hiring a developer and having to replace them. ELEKS has done a good job of picking the right people for our projects, based on the criteria which we've laid out. As we go into a more rapid development mode, we have found that ELEKS is able to turn the work around in a more effective manner than some of the other firms that we've dealt with. Every piece of software will have bugs, but ELEKS did a decent job.
Are there any areas ELEKS could improve?
We've tried to figure out whether we have unrealistic expectations, but we always emphasized the fact that we want a partnership with ELEKS, rather than a contractor-client relationship. If they have ideas or have a better way of doing something, they should bring them to the table and challenge us. We haven't seen this happen as much as we'd like. The most important thing for us is to push ELEKS and have them be more of a creative partner. We want to get them out of the offshore contractor mentality. We're not entirely sure if that cultural mindset is present there, but we're flirting with the prospect.