Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We’re now launching in different sites in Australia and the US. We're still working on some of the stuff in the backend and marketing, so we've done a lot of trials within our organization. We haven't actually launched so I don't have specific metrics. Within the businesses, everybody’s loving it, so it'll be a very big success hopefully. Since we haven't launched, the timing wasn't that important because we knew we had to get a lot of stuff ready. We're almost ready—in about two months' time. Just need to sort out legal issues and stuff. The user experience has been the time stopper throughout. We need to get into that as well.
How did GBKSoft perform from a project management standpoint?
Our communication was good and not a problem at all. I had full access to their leadership team when I needed it, which was really good. But it all comes to individual personal style, and Yana [Holtseva, designer] was very different. There were some difficulties. The project manager was fairly junior, and there was a lot of back and forward because of initial misunderstandings. I understand the role, since I spent 16 years at IBM. It did take a long time, but from my side, it was understandable. That’s the nature of the game.
There was a lot of rework, but the end product was good. With the regression testing, every time we learned what kind of bugs that we fixed before, they kept occurring back in. It took a bit of a long time. They could have done a bit better with the testing part of it, but that's because of the PM. I understand she's not with the team anymore. As soon as she left, the work has been brilliant. It became very accommodating and thorough. Even with the old PM, everything was good.
Their English proficiency is very good. That was one of my big requirements, so I wanted to make sure that happened, and it did happen. Our meetings were through Skype. For a bigger project that I'm planning, I'm actually going there and meeting their team. I’m looking forward to seeing who are the dedicated developers that I work with on a daily basis.
What did you find most impressive about GBKSoft?
Their communication is very good. Their responses were good. I’m not a full coder, but I believe their code was very well written. I had a couple of other coders look at it and said it was pretty standard. I'm just happy with the extent that they did a good thing. The new PM and Alex are very responsive. They understand the full life cycle, so they're pretty confident in what they do.
Are there any areas GBKSoft could improve?
The major one was testing. Testing is very important. Most of the testing was done on my part. I would've expected a much better testing procedure from their side. Most of the bugs were captured by me. I understood that I was actually paying for the testing part since that was part of the initial project. I'm a hands-on person, so I need to check everything myself. Testing could have been improved upon on their side, making sure when a new version is given, that regression testing is fully done on it before it gets to my side. Also, their estimation part in having a leniency on some minor changes that don't have any major impact. Some things, I know they take hours or minutes to do, because of change requests. They want to take it through this whole lifecycle in theory and that costs a lot, but I know it's something that takes two minutes of work— let’s say a little change on the color of a button.