What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We’re essentially enabling payments for NHS doctors and controlling things for large companies. Thousands of people rely on our system; any downtime would cause chaos. It’s absolutely essential that we get the development right, don’t have wasted effort, and can constantly iterate with small updates all the time without interrupting the usage of the system.
Geeks has been exceptionally good at development. We’ll sometimes have 3–4 different strands of code that we then merge at different points. The care Geeks has taken to mitigate risk has been absolutely outstanding. I don’t think we’ve ever had more than four hours of downtime, and that was for a massive update. They’re very good at getting things right. More importantly, though, when something’s gone wrong on our side or theirs, they always prepare to have the software back and running within two hours. If we’ve ever had an interruption problem, it’s never gotten close to two hours. That’s enabled us to provide a constantly good uptime in a very secure way for our clients.
We went from a startup to a £15-million company in 4–5 years. We wouldn’t have had a business without Geeks.
How did Geeks Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?
Depending on the level of what we’re doing, we’ll either have weekly or daily standups with them. We’re developing two different products with them, so we have two different account managers and two different project managers for those. They keep them very separate, which is good.
Geeks is demanding of us in terms of the time we need to put in there. They also understand what level of decisions they can make because we’ve developed a level of trust with them. They solve many problems without us having to get in the way. I have my own product owner, but they also work with a surrogate product owner for certain parameters, which makes my life very easy.
What did you find most impressive about them?
With the previous company we’d worked with, we’d tell them what we wanted, and they’d go off and decide what the best thing to do was. With Geeks, it’s very different. We know what the best way is, and they’ll do the development behind it, but they add their thoughts in. We understand what’s expected and how it’ll work, and Geeks is very clear about what will go wrong if we don’t do things a certain way.
Are there any areas they could improve?
In the early days, when they were growing, their processes weren’t as solid as they are now. They were a much smaller organization, and they’ve done a lot of continual development of their team to improve their processes and development skills. They’ve spent a huge amount of money researching the future and developing their own tools. A lot of their tools have won Queen’s Awards, Microsoft awards, and more because they’re quite innovative. At the moment, there’s not a lot I can think of for them to improve.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
I’ve said this to a lot of companies that I’ve referred for: it’s about their time commitment, communication, and clarity. If we’re going to start a project with Geeks, they’ll explain what they expect from us, and we need to dedicate that time. If we’re rushing around not answering their queries and not attending standups, the project will go wrong. So, do what they say: they do know best, and it’ll absolutely pay off.