In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance?
I don’t have any real figures or metrics, other than feedback we’ve gotten from end-users. We haven’t really rolled out the site yet. This is all with the beta testing for the last six months or so. But, I would say overall, even in our focus groups, what they do love about the site is that it’s very clean, very functional, and very user friendly. I do believe that the developers played a big role in that. Certainly, we came up with the design, but they really had a lot of input. They gave us feedback from a user interface and user experience standpoint. They really stepped up and did a great job on that front. From a project management perspective, they’ve also been great. The code they deliver is always clean and viable. They spend a good amount of time testing it before we deploy, which is great. They’re also great about keeping up with deadlines and staying within the specified scope.
When working with FlatStack, is there anything you’d consider unique about their strategic approach or development methodology that distinguish them from other vendors?
I guess it’s hard to say, because I don’t have the context of what other vendors are doing out there other than the one that we had a while back. I don’t know if that would be a fair comparison because it’s almost like comparing an amateur with a professional. These guys are very prepared. What I like about them is that they’ll walk you through their entire process. We’ll typically chat through Skype during the course of the day or as needed. We work through Basecamp and Trello, and I think they do a great job of taking our project and mockups, and dissecting it down into tasks on Trello.
They’ve also come up with some great questions. They really do think it through a few levels beyond what we did. I’m still amazed sometimes at the questions they’ve posed. They think of things that we didn’t anticipate because it’s really outside our area of expertise. I like that they take real ownership of the project. It shows that they care about the work and us.
When we were initially considering them, we thought it would be tough because they’re overseas. But, I think having a project manager here as an anchor helps out tremendously. You always have an advocate here as well as there. They’ve done a fantastic job of mitigating the actual distance.
There were a few instances in which I had a project demo the very next day. It was midnight or one in the morning Russia time, and they’re still on Skype, asking me questions, making sure they were ready for the demo. I received messages from the project manager at three o’clock in the morning wishing me good luck on it. I’ve not had that experience with any providers based here in the U.S. My hat goes off to them because that’s a level of service and commitment I just haven’t gotten before.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think FlatStack could improve as a service provider?
In an ideal world, I’d be able to sit down with them face-to-face and discuss the project. That just isn’t a reality beyond going there or the interactions between their localized project managers and myself. That’s just the nature of offshoring your development. Outside of that, there isn’t really anything more I could want. We’ve been very pleased.