What was the scope of their involvement?
First, eproductions looked at the code to get a feel for the quality. After a few days, they told us the code needed to be totally rewritten and restructured. We agreed to work on a retainer fee and got a dedicated developer to clean up the code within a month. Their proposal was reasonable considering the project was already 16 months into development.
What were some features you asked for?
We needed an option for users to insert comments and assume different roles. Usually, the content is compiled by copywriters and reviewed by campaign managers. We also needed a third role to support the MNOs (mobile network operators). Each of these roles had different permissions. The cooperator can’t edit or change content; only the campaign manager can do those actions.
We also needed the app to function in multiple languages to avoid unnecessary duplication in the library. We wanted to export content in a particular format based on the final content destination. This was supposed to be an automatic upload from an interface directly to the production system. Now, we’re working on creating a viewer role that lets users see the content and provide comments.
How many resources have been assigned to your project?
Initially, we agreed to a single development resource. Starting last year, we wanted to boost the pace, so we hired a second developer. The second developer worked with us for 3 months last year and another 6 months this year on automated testing primarily. We realized that deployments took a long time due to bug fixes, as the application has grown beyond the limits of manual testing. I primarily communicate with the owner, and the project manager also was involved when we had architecture discussions.
Late last year, we found an issue with the backbone architecture. This was due to a misunderstanding between us and the original developers about the data structure. We only recognized the problem when we started using the app in production. eproductions explained that they’d need to rewrite large sections of code to fix this issue. The second developer helped with this repair for a couple of months before taking over the automated testing.
How did you come to work with eproductions?
We talked to 2 companies based in Greece. eproductions specializes in Ruby on Rails, which is what we needed. Our end customer was concerned about designing something from scratch without talking with the provider in person. eproductions fit our profile very well. We made up our mind to partner with them before even getting a quote. For the first call, their senior developers were all trying to understand the problem we had. They were very professional.
Did you find the process difficult or surprising?
Considering the issues we had with the previous vendor, we wanted to work with someone who specialized in Ruby. I was a bit frustrated because I couldn’t find more companies to look at initially. But, I appreciate that eproductions works with Ruby exclusively because they love that technology.
How much have you invested with eproductions?
We pay $60,000 per year for a single resource. With the second resource, it’s been $120,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in January 2016. In October 2016, we added the second resource. We continue to work with them. Right now, we’re back to a single developer. We kept the second developer for the testing. We work in 2-week sprints. For each delivery week, we have QA and use an extra person for that deployment. They accommodate us because we didn’t want to increase the capacity beyond a single person. They still have a hefty road map to work on, but we’re happy with the pace and the budget.